Body Worlds, London February 2019

by Emma Bumpus on February 26, 2019

Adventure and curiosity entice Careertraveller & family to London for a half term interactive journey through the human body at Body Worlds London.

Perfectly situated in “Piccadilly Circus”, the capital’s so-called Times Square, stands this imposing Grade II listed former theatre, which transformed into a 21st century 7-floor attraction, smiles in a haze of neon lights, tourists and stylish boutiques.

Inside awaits an extraordinary experience of thought provoking science and art in the form of real human specimens, which masterfully preserved for educational purposes, takes us skin deep.

Our anatomical trip commences with an elevator flight to floor 5 where we are transported to a dimly lit theatre of bodies and body parts that capture flocks of visitors from families and schools to locals and sightseers worldwide, all 47 million!

Equipped with a complimentary digital audio guide we step into the world of Dr Gunther von Hagens and Dr Angelina Whalley whose mission as exhibition creators is to illuminate preventative healthcare by highlighting healthy and unhealthy life choices. 200 exhibits split over 6 galleries expose the meaning of life, which backed up with scientific facts about human anatomy and the impact lifestyle choices have on the body send us on a family friendly trail of health education.

Surrounded by corpses, skulls and organs on raised platforms and under glass, curiosity kicks in and we uncover Plastination, the preservation technique used and developed by Dr Gunther von Hagens in the 1970s to replace body fats, fluids and tissues with silicone.

Spellbindingly dramatic and fascinating, we engage in a unique visitor experience that resonates amidst a pulsating display of muscles and bones to veins, and nerves provided by body donors. With an established body donation programme of over 17,000 donors we learn Body Worlds has many exhibitions across the world from Europe, America and Oceania, of which Body Worlds London is permanent.

Three exhibition floors go deep into the Nervous, Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems with bodies in poses depicting everyday life activities. From athletes and poker players to ‘plastinates’ performing realistic rescue and ponderous situations, nothing is spared as we view anatomy stripped down system by system within the skeletal system. Use of active body parts highlight how the human form is a living machine with many complex components that stem from cells and tissues and it is here we appreciate just how health and body efficiency rely on different body systems working together in harmony.

Up on the 5th Floor we focus on the Nervous System where we come up close to the heart, whose illuminated blood vessels reveal how visual anatomy is as a subject. Guided by a Body Worlds LondonFamily Trail” paper based quiz we enter the cardiovascular system and discover medical facts such as your “Your heart is roughly the size of your own fist”. We have fun using the blood pressure machine and meet the British Red Cross whose free CPR interactive workshops offers visitors hands on essential first aid experience, brilliant!

The effects of poor health come to life as we view a heart whose clogged arteries have stents inserted with a balloon catheter, a technique used to open up the arteries, increasing blood flow and reducing the risk of a heart attack. On Floor 4 we uncover the Respiratory System where lungs take centre stage with their delicate structure and anatomical properties, including breathing and transferring oxygen to the bloodstream. A comparison of healthy and unhealthy lungs, the latter impaired by smoking, is an alarming insight to poor health designed to invite visitors to question their own physiology and anatomy as part of their chosen lifestyles.

Third Floor introduces the Locomotive System where bones, cartilage, joints and the skeletal system complete our understanding of plastination with a short film displaying the process in action. Gripped by the technology, labour and science of the process, which takes a year to complete, we take a walk around skeletons and body parts from male and female donors at different stages of life. From artificial hips and knees to fetal development, we question the wonder of science and meaning of life in one of London’s busiest streets and relish this unique museum experience.

Body Worlds London is an extra-ordinary world-class attraction that gets under your skin. Mesmeric and mysterious, it should be on everyone’s bucket list!

Further information:

Body Worlds London
Body Worlds

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