Port Discovery's wonderland follows Alice's adventures

Interactive kids' exhibit includes Mad Tea Party

May 26, 2005|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

Kids are naturally curious. They love to explore and discover. And they love to play. So consider taking them to the new exhibit Alice's Wonderland: A Most Curious Adventure at Port Discovery, running Saturday through Sept. 4.

The interactive exhibit, based on Lewis Carroll's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, features 2,500 square feet of hands-on adventures.

"The story of Alice's adventures is filled with opportunities to introduce science and math concepts to even very young children," says Wendy Blackwell, Port Discovery's director of education. "Because so many parents grew up with the story, the exhibit encourages them to play and learn together with their children."

Kids and adults can embark on the journey Alice took in the story, beginning at the Wonderland station. It was here, by a streamside knoll, that Alice nodded off to sleep in her sister's lap and the dream-adventure began.

Visitors will then be on their way, on the heels of the White Rabbit, to the Underground, crawling through a rabbit hole. Kids can enjoy word games and play with an inverted globe. Afterward, kids can venture through the Hall of Doors and discover a world of optical illusions. It's here that they'll solve scientific puzzles and learn about astronomy, meteorology and even ophthalmology.

Then it's off to the Mad Tea Party to learn more science and math, by experimenting with the properties of liquids.

And while at the tea party, they'll test their sense of smell by sniffing teas, and also have a little fun with math at the Crazy Clock by turning the hands of time. Also, they'll learn to understand fractions by setting places at the table and serving their guests various fractions of a tasty tart - including a quarter-, a sixth- and an eighth-sized portion.

The next stop is a round of play at the Crazy Croquet ground with Alice and the Queen. Here, visitors will play with balls and learn about physics, including force, momentum and velocity. Kids will also be able to play language games here and learn about onomatopoeia - words that sound like their meaning, like "buzz" or "hiss."

The Victorian Library has more than 30 versions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, including copies in French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.

Also at the Victorian Library are an array of portraits of Alice, from original drawings of the blond-haired Victorian girl by John Tenniel to contemporary images of Alice in a T-shirt dress and tennis shoes.

Throughout the exhibit, quotes from the original book will be featured prominently, with appearances by some of the tale's popular characters.

The exhibit "Alice's Wonderland: A Most Curious Adventure" runs Saturday through Sept. 4 at Port Discovery, 35 Market Place. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $11; $8.50 for ages 3 to 12; free for ages under 3. Call 410-727-8120 or visit www.portdiscovery.org.

For more family events, see Page 41.

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