Blog Archives

Body Worlds brings brains back to downtown to Phoenix

[Source: Mia Parrett,]

Seeing human brains is no longer reserved for doctors and coroners.

The famous Body Worlds exhibit is back at the Arizona Science Center, this time showcasing the brain and the effects that it has on the body.

The exhibit re-opened Friday at the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix, three years since its last showing in Arizona.

Created by Gunther von Hagens, the exhibit is called “Body Worlds and the Brain,” and gives the viewers a look into how the brain works with the body. The exhibit contains more than 200 body parts, body systems and preserved bodies, all of which are donations.

The bodies are transformed into plastinates through the process of plastination after the death of the donor.

Plastination is a method that stops the decomposition of a dead body. The process includes removing all of the fluids from a body about two to three days after the donor has died. The body is dipped into acetone and silicone to preserve the muscles and bodily systems inside, and is eventually cured with a heating process in its final posed position.

Each of the displays in the Body Worlds exhibit looks at the body from a different angle. Displays include a focus on the nervous system, the effects of smoking on the body and the stages of pregnancy.

“It’s a unique opportunity to enhance people’s understanding of themselves,” said Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of the Arizona Science Center.

The exhibit looks into ailments that affect the body, such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Bodies in the exhibit are posed to show how different activities, like those of a ballerina or baseball player, can benefit the body’s muscles.

“I’m going into the medical field, so I liked it,” said Ally Zepada, a physical therapy junior from Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif. Zepada visited Arizona to explore the possibility of transferring to ASU.

Everything in the exhibit comes from real human bodies that were donated to science for the cause. Forty bodies in the current exhibit are from Arizona donors.

More than 32 million people across the world have seen this exhibit, which continues to wow people who are curious about the human body.

“I think it’s really fascinating that people get to see the inner workings of the body,” elementary education sophomore Breanne Cunningham said. “It’s something most people don’t get to see unless they are involved in medicine.”

The exhibit will be at the Arizona Science Center until May 30. It will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $25 for adults, and $23 for college students with identification.

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Family-friendly Frights & Fun in Downtown Phoenix

Halloween is fast approaching.  as you can see by our color scheme, it is one of our favorite holidays :-) and we are always looking for fun ways of celebrating!

In addition to the usual adult fright-fare, there are several fun events that cater to families occurring in downtown Phoenix.  Here’s a few of our favorites:

Friday, October 29

2nd Annual Zombie Walk

There are plenty of urban legends, like the one that suggests if there was no more room in hell, the dead would walk the Earth. Well, we’ve started an urban legend in the heart of the urban core and you’re invited to walk it in your best zombie get up, bandages and blood a plus. Led by Arizona’s official Ghostbusters (including car, proton packs and more), Zombie walkers will parade, or walk straight legged, throughout downtown entertaining or terrorizing a few folks strolling around the Arizona Center, Hyatt Regency and U.S. Airway Center.

Details HERE.

All Hallows Even Festival

Families are invited to join in the festival that includes a costume contest, live music, Rose & Crown Beer Garden, pumpkin carving, palm readers, food, crafts and more.

Also don’t miss the special showing of the silent Dracula flick, “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror,” to be shown outside on the wall of the Arizona Science Center. Move over “Twilight,” we’re putting the “old school bite” back in Halloween.

Details HERE.

Friday, October 29 and Saturday October, 30

Ghosts of Phoenix Tours

The Hotel San Carlos is famous for its history and alleged hauntings. It has been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Weird Travels” and received the #3 spot on’s list of “America’s Top 10 Haunted Hotels.” The Ghosts of Phoenix Tour is a walking tour (approximately one hour long), that allows you to see the sites and form your own opinion. We have access to areas that are not open to the general public.

As you are guided through this Phoenix landmark, you will visit the paranormal hotspots and hear stories about the personalities who are said to haunt them. Guides will provide some historical information, along with stories passed down by staff members and past guests.

The Ghosts of Phoenix Tour does not stage re-creations or special effects. Your tour will be authentic. You will want to bring along a camera (digital, disposable cameras with flash, or video). You never know what you will catch on film.

Details HERE.

Saturday, October 30 and Sunday, October 31

Mad Scientist Party at Arizona Science Center

For parents looking to bring their little ghosts, goblins and princesses to a fun and safe alternative to trick-or-treating, Arizona Science Center presents the Mad Scientist Party. Arizona Science Center’s exhibit galleries will be transformed into mad scientist labs exploring a variety of hands-on, ooey-gooey science themes.

We will explode pumpkins every hour! ASU Spider Lab will be here on Sunday, Oct 31st from 10am-1pm with many eight-legged friends. Activities will range from “Bloody” hand prints, slime, Eyeball Dissections and more! There will even be special-themed presentations in the Dorrance Planetarium!

Details HERE.

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ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus celebrates Homecoming

[Source: ASU News]

Downtown Phoenix’s urban tapestry will be splashed with more than a touch of maroon and gold as ASU prepares for Homecoming.

Throughout the week, ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus will host a slew of pride and spirit-building events for 2010 Devilish Homecoming.

Beads, pom-poms, banners, balloons, footballs, floats will fill out the downtown landscape as students prepare to show their school pride.

“Bleeding maroon and gold for this year’s Devilish Homecoming will be easy for students, faculty and staff on the ASU Phoenix Downtown campus. These student-planned events – from donating your hair and blood for good causes to exploring the Arizona Science Center for an all night exclusive to ASU students – is sure to bring out much of ASU’s spirit and pride,” said Cassandra Aska, Student Engagement director. “There is something for everyone to show their love for ASU.”

Scheduled DPC activities for Homecoming 2010 week includes:

  • Homecoming Coronation, 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 22, Memorial Union, Turquoise room, Tempe campus.
  • Sparky’s Challenge, Kickball Tournament, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 24, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1134 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. (Field is located on 1st Street)
  • Locks of Love & Bald for Bucks hair donation and fundraising, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday, Oct. 25, at Taylor Mall, 6 to 11 p.m.
  • Office Decorating Contest, Tuesday, Oct. 26, all ASU Downtown Phoenix campus buildings and members of the Use it Here Program.
  • Devil City, Wednesday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 27, at the Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix.
  • Mini- Root Beer Float building, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28, at Taylor Mall.
  • FestDevil Float Building Party and blood drive, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 29, at Taylor Mall. Parade Float Building unveiled 9 p.m., Taylor Place, 120 E. Taylor Place.
  • ASU Homecoming 2010 block party, parade and game, Saturday, Oct. 30, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe. Join the universitywide festivities on the Tempe campus three hours before the Sun Devils take on the Washington State Cougars. The DPC will have a tent on location, which will include refreshments, prizes and activities for kids.

To register or RSVP for homecoming activities, e-mail or visit

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A Little History of the Phoenix Museum of History

[Source: Boy Meets Blog]

The phone number to the building is disconnected and the website no longer exists. The glass doors are locked to the public and the exhibits removed because the Phoenix Museum of History no longer exists. Most of the artifacts once on display that link Phoenix to its early Wild West history and farther back to its ancient history are inaccessible to the public now that the city’s oldest museum of history is closed. Only a small portion of the exhibits will be back on display in 2011.

The Maricopa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution recognized the need for a history museum as early as 1919, only 7 years after Arizona became a state. They established the Arizona Museum of History in 1923 as a private, non-profit organization and by 1927 the museum moved into its first building on 10th Ave and Van Buren where it remained until 1996. In 1988 the people of Phoenix approved the issuance of more that $1 billion in bonds allocating money for among other things, the construction of a new building for the museum of history. The Arizona Museum of History became the Phoenix Museum of History in 1995 and a year later it moved into the new bond-funded building in Heritage Square.

In 2009 during the throes of the Great Recession the City of Phoenix voted to eliminate the $100,000 annual donation to the museum, the final financial blow that forced the museum to close for the first time since 1923. The bond-financed building was gobbled up by the nearby Arizona Science Center who now leases the museum building from the city and uses it for educational purposes and office space. The museums assets were transferred to the science center as well.

But what are the long term plans? Will the museum be open again before the Arizona centennial? What happened to the exhibits?

Kristin Priscella, Senior Director of Communications at the Arizona Science Center, said that as part of the agreement with the City of Phoenix, the science center agreed to dedicate 5,400 square feet of space to showcase Phoenix and Arizona history downtown, but you’ll have to buy a ticket to the science center to see it. Priscella said the science center has until the end of this calendar year to assess the artifacts and determine a plan for the collections. However, January 1st 2011, something will be on display. Where the rest of the artifacts end up at this point is anybody’s guess.

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Jackalope Ranch’s Student Guide to Downtown Phoenix

Here is the latest installment in Claire Lawton’s series of great guides to downtown Phoenix!

[Source: Claire Lawton, Jackalope Ranch, Phoenix New Times]

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The first week is never about what actually goes on during class. It’s about figuring out what your schedule means by “the Brickyard,” checking out potential lag-time hangouts and figuring out which path will save you three more minutes.

Here’s a peek at our guide to ASU’s Downtown Campus …

Claire Lawton

Click on the image (or right here) for a full-size, printable version.

On the Map:

  • New vending machines, sweet couches and every news show you could ever want to see are up and running in the Cronkite Building’s First Amendment Forum (they also host pretty cool speakers every Monday).
  • Cheap/Free/Easy Date Night: Take a look at a ton of local art that’s featured on the second floor of the UCENT building and check out the view of the city from the eighth floor.
  • For caffeine and munchies, skip the Starbucks down the street and check out Fair Trade Cafe across Central Avenue, Royal Coffee Bar at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market on Pierce Street (Jackalope sighting!), Conspire on Fifth Street, or Cartel Coffee on First and Washington Streets.
Off the Map:
  • The Heard Museum is free for students on Sunday, August 15 (just show your Sun Card). Heard also hosts free admission events every third Friday.
  • Check out the Phoenix Public Library for refuge from the sun, a quiet afternoon, or a ride up and down the elevator (seriously).
  • Third Friday Concerts are back on at the Civic Space Park (under the large, flying blue object) at 424 N. Central Ave. from 7 to 9 p.m. (totally free). This space is also popular for bikini-clad sunbathers, who consequently create a popular activity for those on the fifth and sixth floors of every building that surrounds it.

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Read the full post here.

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Arizona Science Center gains Phoenix History Museum’s assets

[Source: Kathleen Gormley, Arizona Republic] — The Arizona Science Center has acquired the assets of the Phoenix Museum of History under a new operating agreement that also gives it the right to occupy the museum’s building.  The Phoenix Museum of History, 105 N. Fifth St., closed its doors June 30 because of financial problems.

The science center, 600 E. Washington St., has agreed to provide at least 5,400 square feet of space dedicated to Phoenix history in one of the two buildings, city officials said.  The history museum totals 20,000 square feet.

The Phoenix City Council approved the agreement Wednesday in which the science center will operate both buildings.  The city owns the buildings and is responsible for maintenance of them.  The museums pay rent to the city to occupy the buildings.  “This is not a merger,” said Ruth Osuna, deputy city manager.  “It is a transfer of assets of the Museum of History to the science center.”

The museum, which has been looking for a financial partner, contacted the Arizona Science Center about a partnership “about 17 or 18 months ago,” said Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of the science center.  Kristin Priscella, science center senior director of communications, said the science center is “working on a plan to catalogue the artifacts that were part of the history museum’s asset acquisition.”  She said a reopening date for the history section is to be determined.  [Note: Read the full article at Arizona Science Center gains Phoenix history museum’s assets.]

First Fridays art walk expands to downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square


Circa 1900 in downtown Phoenix's Heritage Square.

[Source: Rebecca Clark, Special to the Arizona Republic] — On the nights of the First Fridays art walk, the normally quiet streets of downtown Phoenix are packed with nouveau hippies offering free hugs, Scientology protesters next to Scientology promoters, and street vendors selling everything from aprons to jewelry.  Men and women of all ages, all walks of life and from all over the Valley are drawn in by fire breathers, live bands and, of course, art.  But sometimes, amid the blocks of mayhem near the Roosevelt Row arts and shopping district, the night can seem less about art and more about an “art scene.”

That’s why Artlink, a non-profit downtown Phoenix arts organization, has partnered with the Rosson House Foundation and Phoenix artist Sean Deckert to bring a calmer, quieter, completely art-focused element to First Fridays in Heritage & Science Park, south of the Roosevelt Row area.  “People who come to downtown only for First Fridays get the wrong idea,” said Deckert, who is program coordinator and co-curator of the First Friday expansion to Heritage Square.  “On First Fridays, it is like the state fair has come to town.  There are people selling ice cream cones and T-shirts, and amidst all of that, there is an artist showing and trying to sell his own work.”

That’s why vendors and certain kinds of street performers will not be allowed in the intimate historic space near the Arizona Science Center and Pizzeria Bianco.  Instead there will be an outdoor gallery showing six to 10 artists each month, and Deckert said that number will increase as the area develops a reputation for art.  [Note: Read the full article at First Fridays art walk expands to downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square.]

Downtown Phoenix a happening place for kids

Third graders from Walker Butte Elementary in Queen Creek react to Arizona Science Center's interactive movie.  Photo David Wallace, Arizona Republic.[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — This summer, downtown Phoenix will have a slew of offerings for kids.  The Arizona Science Center recently added a $1.5 million weather-themed exhibit that has amusement park-style features.  And in June, the center will host Chronicles of Narnia, a traveling exhibition with props and costumes from the movie based on the C.S. Lewis books. 

The long-awaited Children’s Museum of Phoenix will open June 14.  Geared toward children 10 and younger, the 70,000-square-foot museum’s opening day exhibits will include an art studio, a miniature market, and a “carwash” for tricycles.  “Downtown Phoenix is more of a real destination for children and adults alike because there are so many more activities,” said Marion Wiener, spokeswoman for the children’s museum.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Science Center downtown to invest $25.2M for new look

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — The Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix boldly is going where it hasn’t gone before.  A $25.2 million campaign will transform the 25-year-old institution from floor to ceiling in 3 1/2 years, adding a little theme-park pizzazz.  A “Forces of Nature” gallery that opens in April will have moving floors and will simulate wind, rain and heat, museum officials say.

Across the country, science centers are hunting for ways to inspire sophisticated grade-schoolers who’ve mastered Nintendo Wii and have grown up with the Internet.  At the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, children can experience the force of hurricane winds.  At the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, Calif., visitors can get rattled by a simulated earthquake.  And, in Phoenix, the institution must take the same approach to survive, balancing traditional exhibits with the wow factor, said Chevy Humphrey, president/CEO of the Arizona Science Center.  “Science centers are at a crossroads,” she said. The best museums combine learning and “the wow…taking the chance to talk to children in the language that they want to be spoken to.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]