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Dallas museum`s spy exhibit lets kids try undercover work

06-Aug-2009 • Bond Style

The Dallas Museum of Nature and Science is making this the year of the undercover agent, with a spy exhibit and adventure, a citywide clue hunt and James Bond movie series - reports the Dallas News.

The traveling spy exhibit, designed in London, will make Dallas its home until the end of January. The exhibit features a multitude of games and devices that allow hands-on experimentation. It shows kids some real spy devices, like a rock used for eavesdropping and a video camera disguised in a makeup compact.

The fun part of the experience is participating in a spy adventure. Museum goers-turned-secret agents create their own scanned identification, hack into the computer system of an evil corporation, uncover the secret plot and then stop it by cracking a code and escaping undetected.

During the “escape,” participants must avoid a sensor that they learn recognizes humans but not animals. Some kids jump like monkeys or crawl to avoid detection.

Webb Smith, 11, of Dallas pronounced the exhibit “cool.”

“I loved making my own fake ID and looking at real spies’ gadgets. My favorite gadget is the moth that is actually a remote control airplane that only looks like a bug,” he said.

Docent Norm Bodily said children like Webb are the target audience.

“I honestly think that 8- to 12-year-olds will get the most out of this exhibit,” Bodily said. “Older kids probably won’t get as big of a kick out of it.”

Ramona Egly and her 5-year-old son, Eric, came from Harker Heights, near Killeen, to see the temporary exhibit.

“I think this is really neat. This exhibit played a big part in our decision to come here,” she said, adding that Eric was a little too young to appreciate the themed adventure. “He’s not really following the storyline. He’s just playing around.”

As part of the theme, the museum is sponsoring the Shaken Not Stirred movie series, featuring three James Bond films in the IMAX theater and an expert speaker at each. The third and final film, “Casino Royale,” will be shown Aug. 22.

Outside of the museum, kids can try to win prizes by participating in the free Science of Spying Spy Adventure. Children search for clues at participating NorthPark Center retail stores, at DART’s store at the Akard station, and at Dallas Public Library branches, among other locations. Virtual clues can be found on a variety of Web sites.

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