Last week, I visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry with Sandra, one of the lovely Irish people I’ve met over here through Eoin’s work (I still don’t really know any Americans in Oregon. Morto for my ma for havin’ me etc). Once a month, OMSI does this After Dark thing to encourage the childless to come along. Admission is way reduced, it’s over 21s and there’s even booze on sale. And people say museums are boring. Tsk.
The theme of the evening was Egypt, to coincide with the Lost Egypt exhibit they’re running at the moment. After buying tickets to see the next showing of a film called Mummies in the Omnimax, which is inside OMSI, we headed upstairs to learn about pyramids and pharaohs and all that jazz. Unfortunately, that exhibit was a bit of a let down. I can’t remember where, but I’d seen most of the stuff before and it was thronged; we could hear a disembodied voice talking about hieroglyphs but had no idea where it was coming from. Distressing. We did get to check out a real mummy though, which of course only whetted our appetites for the Omnimax film.
In case you don’t know, an Omnimax theatre is likes a souped-up IMAX. Instead of looking at a massive rectangular screen, the Omnimax is dome-shaped, meaning the action is all around and above you. Quite terrifying if you’re scared of heights like me, as the stairs up is almost vertical and once you’re up, well, you can’t not look down. It’s definitely worth a visit though, and works especially well if the film you’re seeing is set underwater or in space or something. Although the format was kind of wasted on Mummies, the story itself was enthralling and I really enjoyed it.
After that we hit the Design Hall, which was really good fun, even for a non-nerd like me. As with the Arizona Science Centre that I visited in Phoenix, all the exhibits were interactive and we spent a good hour or two in there making things and, er, breaking things. It’s very child-oriented, but when it’s adults only you can relax and not worry about depriving some kid of an education while you learn how to build a rollercoaster. If you’re ever in Oregon, I definitely recommend it. Not on a Saturday afternoon though. That would be hell.