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Five things to do at LSC's Avatar: The Exhibition

Discover the technology behind the film at "Avatar: The Exhibition," opening on Saturday, February 16, at Liberty Science Center.

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" Liberty Science Center

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

  • "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" at Liberty Science Center

Courtesy Liberty Science Center

"Avatar: The Exhibition" Liberty Science Center


Few kid-friendly movies have made a cinematic splash quite like 2009’s Avatar, so it's no surprise that Liberty Science Center jumped on the chance to reveal the film's inner workings to movie-loving museumgoers. Directed by James Cameron, the blockbuster utilized many groundbreaking visual effects and showcased as yet untapped potential of computer animation. "Avatar: The Exhibition," making its East Coast debut at Liberty Science Center on February 16, invites families to learn about computer animation technology, go behind-the-scenes of the movie and even pretend they’re a Na’vi alien. (Bonus: The film itself will screen on Feb 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22 and 23 at 5pm. Combination exhibit and film tickets are available.) The state-of-the-art new exhibition is jam-packed with little-known facts and interactive games for families to play. Here are five of our favorites.

Take a walk in a Na’vi’s shoes
The inhabitants of Cameron’s fictitious utopia Pandora, known as the Na’vi, are so tall they’d make Shaq look tiny. Avatar buffs can measure their own height against an image of a ten-foot tall Na’vi and slide their feet into a massive pair of Na’vi sneakers while you snap a photo. 

Learn about bioluminescence with an interactive game
Much of Cameron’s inspiration for the film came from real-life animals (can you make out the shape of a lion’s face in the Na’vi?), and one of his main influences was deep-water bioluminescent fish. After reading up on the creatures, kids can step up to the multiplayer tabletop game and pretend they are one of these glowing fish. A touch screen allows players to move their fish around, as they try to capture smaller fish with their bioluminescence. Be careful not to stay lit too long, though, or a bigger sea monster may eat you!

Explore Jake Sully’s spacecraft
Little fans can step into a re-creation of the spaceship the humans use to explore Pandora. As they wander through the metallic walls, kids can check out props from the movie, design an indigenous Pandora plant just like the graphic artists did and gain insight into the design process. A long touch-screen table in the corner of the spaceship is equipped with pucks describing aspects of the film; when a puck is placed on the screen, images pertaining to that subject pop up, allowing children to read up on whatever interests them.

See what it’s like to use a virtual camera
Future filmmakers can discover what it’s like to use a camera just like the one James Cameron used. Virtual cameras allow the user to see both the real-time events (the human actors) in front of them and the computer-animated aspects of the shot (Pandora) all at once. Kids hold a small, movable screen displaying a scene from Avatar and try to follow the Na’vi onscreen as they move around the imaginary “set.” When the game is over, kids can compare their movie edits to Cameron’s.

Become a character in the movie
In the game Interactive Performance Capture, budding actors can see what it’s like to be in a computer-animated movie. Taking on the persona of one of the Na’vi, young visitors follow a path on the floor while motion sensors capture their movements; special cameras then transplant them into a scene from Avatar. An added bonus? You can e-mail the final video to yourself to brag about your big-screen debut to family and friends.

"Avatar: The Exhibition" on view at Liberty Science Center through May 19.


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