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Superhero achievement without special effects opens in time for Spring Break

Try flapping with "wings" as if flying
Try flapping with "wings" as if flying
Jodie Jacobs

You have seen superheroes crush metal, leap tall buildings and snag villains on the wide screen. But they depend on props and special effects. Nature doesn’t.

Interactive stations tempt and teach all age visitors at Field Museum's "Biomechanics" exhibit
Jodie Jacobs

See for yourself, which animals and plants do seemingly superhero tasks at “The Machine Inside: Biomechanics,” a new Field Museum exhibition that has opened in time for Spring Break.

Indeed, some of nature’s “special effects” were useful prototypes for such items as wind turbines, Velcro and chainsaws.

You can probably guess which animal uses its ears for air conditioning. But do you know which animal can leap a football field or which plant inspired Velcro?

The only problem with the exhibit is that the youngsters are going to have to remind adults and siblings with a “my turn” nudge.

All ages will want to try everything at the interactive stations including the one where seated visitors can swing wings to the side and overhead and the stop where visitors learn how hard it is to pump blood all the way up a giraffe’s neck.

David Parry, vice chairman of ITW which sponsored the exhibit, pointed out the natural fit of “Biomechanics” with his industry. “… we thrive on figuring out how things work and how to create products that meet our customers’ needs,” Parry said. “Oftentimes, there is no better place to start than living organisms themselves. From the inside out, everylinging things, including humans, is a machine built to survive, move, discover and improve.”

Organized by the Field Museum, the exhibit is produced in partnership with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Details: at “The Machine Inside: Biomechanics” is at The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605 now through Jan. 4, 2015. For more information call 312-922-9410 or visit Field Museum.