Boca Park Hosts Blue Man Group Exhibit

Jonathan D. Marcus, Forum Publishing Group
Sun Sentinel
March 2, 2012

A new, interactive exhibit in Boca Raton entertains kids while teaching them about acoustics.

"Blue Man Group Making Waves" at the Children's Science Explorium at Sugar Sand Park's community center features hands-on activity stations that encourage playful experimentation while conveying the scientific principles of sound.

The Blue Man Group is a band whose theatrical shows combine high-energy percussion beats, eye-catching lighting and humorous skits, said Chip Robelen, the explorium's exhibit coordinator. The exhibit integrates the group's emphasis on rhythmic, pulsing sounds and lighting to provide the feel of a Blue Man Group concert, he said.

"There is a definite 'wow' factor," Robelen said.

The display begins with an introductory video of the Blue Man Group in the foyer of the exhibit hall across from the explorium.

Those small enough can crawl through a tunnel of percussive sound and flashing neon light to enter the main exhibit. Others can walk around the tunnel and become instantly immersed in the vast array of interactive displays.

"Everywhere in the room, there is a constant vibrancy of sound and color," Robelen said.

The multi-purpose stations offer more than 10 places to experiment and play. Accompanying acrylic text panels that glow with fluorescent color provide directions and identify the scientific principles.

One station features a stage with playable instruments made of PVC pipe, which the group actually used in a show, Robelen said.

"They're showing that anything can make sound. So a lot of things that are featured in Blue Man Group are PVC pipes," he said.

Kids can use a paddle to tap the color-coded pipes on a "bop organ" while following specially keyed musical scores to form a song.

At another stop, kids can experiment with a Slide-U-Lum, also made of PVC pipe, which has a tube that can be moved to raise or lower a sound's pitch, much like a trombone, said explorium curator Heather Peete.

At the "Look Who's Talking" station, visitors can speak into a device that demonstrates how sound effects can modify the voice with electrical reshaping technology, she said.

Third-grade students at Addison Mizner Elementary School who recently visited the exhibit said they enjoyed it.

"It's really cool. I like all the sounds and all the colors," said student Juliette Manors.

"I learned that you can move things to make sounds, and you can actually see the sound waves," said student Savannah Hutson.

The Boston Children's Museum, using JBL audio technology, developed the traveling exhibit as an educational tool and family entertainment experience, according to exhibit materials.

The exhibit runs through April 30. Sugar Sand Park is at 300 S. Military Trail. For more information about the explorium, view or call 561-347-3912.

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