Entering Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You through a set of giant jaws, visitors are taken on a fascinating voyage through the entire digestive system, exploring the role of each internal organ along the way. Not afraid to make the squeamish squirm, the exhibition breaks the taboo around poo by encouraging people to get hands-on with the science inside all of us during a quest to better understand the human body.
Dr Chris, Dr Xand and Dr Ronx, presenters of hit BBC Children’s show, Operation Ouch!, have provided unique inspiration for the exhibition and pop up throughout to help guide visitors through the grossness. Here, they reveal their highlights for anyone seeking hilarious horror this Halloween.
Warning! The Doctors are renowned for their ability to engage, educate and entertain young viewers by conducting outrageous experiments and never shying away from sticky subjects. Their highlights come with ‘gross alerts’ to forewarn visitors of the revolting revelations they’re about to enjoy. Read on… if you dare!
Dr Chris van Tulleken
He was created by Dr Catherine Makinson-Booth to simulate vomiting and help understand the distribution of norovirus particles.
When your body detects bad food or viruses in your tummy, your stomach muscles automatically squeeze tight. This shoots any food and acid up your throat and out of your mouth at a speed of around 40mph!
By mimicking this, Larry shows just how far our sick can splatter—which is over three metres! This evidence was used to change the way norovirus is cleaned up and contained in UK hospital wards. So, he might be gross but he’s also pretty great!
This is the first time anyone’s been able to see Larry as part of an exhibition. Luckily, he isn’t throwing up. Instead, you can turn on a UV light to reveal his vomit splatter patterns and see for yourself just how far it can go.
Dr Xand van Tulleken
Halloween is all about creepy, unexpected, spooky noises. And what’s spookier than hearing a creak or a rumble in a dark room, and then realising that the noise is coming from… inside you!! Liquid and gas ooze through your digestive system like fog moving through a haunted wood or slime through a disgusting sewer! They make creaking and groaning noises, and the gas bubbles through your digestive juices! You get rumbles, groans, clattering tinkling noises—sometimes it sounds like a haunted house and sometimes like a ghost! Those tummy noises can scare anyone! But did you know that noise usually comes from your small intestine, not your stomach? And often these noises are followed by a nasty sulphurous smell! Perfect for Halloween!
The Gut Orchestra makes all these sounds. Just stick your hand inside to hear a symphony of burps, rumbles, farts and grumbles. Like everything in this exhibition, it’s hilariously horrible! I could play in it all day!
Let’s just hope none of our visitors are left haunted by this cacophony of smelly sounds!
Dr Ronx Ikharia
It shows the process of producing the perfect poo, including how our muscles move leftover fibre, bile, bacteria and water through the large intestine, before all the water is sucked out and a poo is produced. It’s a window into our insides that we’ve never seen before, and the perfect combination of silly and scientific!
We might think poo is gross, but it’s so important that we talk about it. It’s a reflection of our general health and knowing how and why our poos are different can help keep us well. I’m so proud of Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You for being so bold in its approach to the science inside us all and empowering us all to better understand our brilliant bodies!
Other Halloween highlights
The exhibition is packed full of interactive experiences designed to leave visitors inspired, entertained, and grossed out in equal measure. Other Halloween highlights include a ‘stink chamber’ where visitors are challenged to sniff out anything from strawberries to smelly feet, and the once-in-a-lifetime experience of travelling like a poo and being flushed down a giant toilet. Visitors can also explore a set of super-sized, interactive teeth, big enough to make any vampire jealous, and will be joined on their journey by Billy Bones, the Doctor’s skeleton sidekick who helps to make sense of the science.
You can also watch an Operation Ouch! Halloween special here and find out how to survive a zombie apocalypse.
And, keep an eye out as the Science and Industry Museum takes on a spooky new look this Halloween by lighting up green as part of Halloween in the City!
Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You is open now until June 2024. Tickets are available to book at www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/operation-ouch, priced at £10 for adults, £9 children, senior and concessions, with children aged three and under going free.
The exhibition has been developed by the Science and Industry Museum and produced in collaboration with BBC and 141 Productions, part of All3Media’s Objective Media Group. It is supported by Principal Sponsor, Andrex.