Birth Canal Challenge

Our big children’s museum is called, MOSI in Tampa. It’s a massive facility, very well funded and one of the best kids museums in the world. We even have a zipline where you can soar 700 feet in the air and pretend you’re Superman.

I imagine that the job of “Children’s Museum Director” must be quite fun. I’d probably take that job if offered the opportunity — create amazing learning experiences for little kids, big kids and adults who love being a kid. So I’m guessing it’s a highly coveted position, probably one that requires top-notch education, experience and sense of humor.

Earlier this Spring, I took the kids there and a couple of exhibits made me wonder if the Museum Director was just having a bad month or had a warped sense of humor that I just didn’t quite get.

Anyone care to ride the Birth Canal Challenge? The small text says, “Steep descents with slippery slides and no hand-holds are obstacles cavers often face.”

Wait. Perhaps the name of this ride was just a mistake. Clearly, they must have mean “Cave Climbing Challenge” right?


Nope. It was really a Birth Canal. I wonder what the “slippery” substance that they used really was. No – I did not even want to stick my arm in the hoo-hoo  to find out. What EXACTLY was the challenge? What if a kid got stuck in the birth canal?  No thanks, been there, done that. Not so much fun, quite traumatic, actually.

Well….maybe I’m judging too soon – perhaps it’s one of those new age therapeutic experiences – back to the womb thing. Revisit the moment of first breath thing. I don’t know….I still don’t get it.

Okay, so the next exhibit I thought was strange was this Freaky Bed of Nails. So you lay down on this cold metal table. Then push this button and thousands of super-sharp nails raise up from underneath you. You’re supposed to lie very very still. VERY STILL.

The sign says, “Don’t worry. The nails will not stick to you.”

UNLESS YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY 2,967 UNSUPERVISED CHILDREN…..who all think tickling you while the nails are up is really funny. Ha. Ha. Thanks for the nail tattoo on the backside of my body. I still look like rammed by the dude in Hellraiser.

At the very end of the museum, I thought, “Oh fun! A tribute to the sunny state of Florida!”

I was very. very wrong.

Wow. Forget the lovely beaches, perfect winter weather, the gorgeous views…..let’s learn about how HEROIN is made!!!

Complete with step by step diagrams (<– no joke) and an actual realistic exhibit.

Someone actually got paid to build a facade for an Afgan heroin processing facility. Fun times at MOSI.

So, tell me….is your children’s museum as nutty as ours? I wonder if the Birth Canal Challenge is one of those traveling exhibits where they tour children’s museums around the nation. First person actually get in the birth canal, make it through and YouTube the experience gets a prize from me.


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Comments 20

  1. nicole @ I am a Honey Bee

    wow… just wow. Our musuem of science (MOS) has a big perment exhibit about pregnancy and child birth, including a birthing video but no activity where you get into a slipery tunnel. no thanks

    That heroin exhibit… crazy. why do little kids need to see that?!!?!?

  2. mimi greenberg

    Not so bizarre, at all. It’s a different world than the one we grew up in. That doesn’t make it wrong or bad. Just different.
    Why shouldn’t a kid know what the birth canal experience feels like, if he/she is curious? Is it a secret?
    Bed of Nails appeals to kids of all ages. It’s scarey fun. Better to experience it in the safety of the museum than in someone’s basement.
    The most controversial exhibit is Heroin. I understand the concerns and fears. But I think they are misguided.
    Your kids already know about cocaine & heroin. As parents, it is necessary to differentiate the myths from the facts in order to unglamorize it. Knowledge is power. Knowledge isn’t dangerous or harmful. This exhibit can be the springboard for an open, honest discussion about drugs with your kids. Don’t miss that window of opportunity. Kudos to the museum director for her insight and courage. Boo to everyone else who prefers to bury their heads in the sand.

  3. Chris

    Growing up in Jacksonville, our MOSH had an ear canal that you could climb in. No birth canal hi-jinks though.

    With all the national attention on the “butt-chugging” incident at UT last week, I wonder if the local Knoxville museum has an anal canal challenge that I have missed 😉 🙂

  4. Carter

    At the risk of being tossed or deleted, I usually stop at about 7.5 inches into the birth canal as that seems to be far enough! And sorry, no YouTube as I would have to find another birth canal and I love the one I have now 😉

  5. Heather

    I recognized the birth canal exhibit immediately 🙂 My kids love the Kids in Charge area there!

  6. Jen M O

    Our Children’s museum has a lobster boat (I am in Maine)and a fire truck. We have nothing as interesting as your museum. It is a clever way to learn. I guess I would have to head to Boston for excitement.

  7. HeavyMetalJess

    MOSI in Tampa has always had edgy exhibits. I remember going there in middle school (10+ years ago) and them having an exhibit about bodily secretions. There was a section about buggers, fart spray, pee, poop, armpit sweat, and more. I think that’s the fun of the MOSI in Tampa. I think their goal is getting kids to say, “Weird! Gross! *Cool!*”

  8. Holly

    I am so glad I wasn’t the only one who had that thought! I think it sounds awesome! Not in the least boring!

  9. Nancy Kasicki

    Hey Mimi, Keep your “enlightened ideas to yourself” and off the taxpayers bill. There is more than enough scientific topics on which a children’s museum can do exhibits. It is completely unnecessary to seek out provocative, controversial or just plain inane ideas to spend dollars, exhibit space and time (curator’s, employee’s, parent’s and children’s). No one is burying their head in the sand when they expect and rightfully so, for appropriate topics to be addressed with appropriate decorum and in an appropriate venue. Using playground equipment as a metaphor for a vagina is not educational, it is grotesque and demeaning. The bed of nails is idiotic, I’m shocked it was not billed as a religious experience. The heroin exhibit, well, the State of Florida tourism bureau and homeland security should be notified immediately about their border breach.

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