OMSI - part 2

I love anything shown in IMAX, so in addition to the CSI exhibit, I viewed two IMAX movies - hurricane on the bayou and sea monsters while at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Hurricane on the Bayou was a journey before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina in the wetlands of Louisiana. According to the website, they originally started filming a hypothetical story of a hurricane and how the rapid erosion of the wetlands left New Orleans more vulnerable to flooding. However, Hurricane Katrina struck during the middle of filming and changed the story and film dramatically. It was a very emotional film, which I also learned a lot from. I am not the best at remembering facts unless I write them down (which I didn't). But, what I took from the film is that while some of the deterioration of the wetlands is just due to to nature, much of it is due to human actions. Every year the Mississippi River would flood the wetlands, depositing sediment which helped build the wetlands up. However, when we dredged canals to divert the river and created levees, this needed sediment doesn't get deposited and the wetlands don't get built back up. The wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate, which leaves New Orleans left with less and less of a buffer to winds and storm surge which used to be slowed down by the wetlands.

Sea Monsters followed a mother and baby dinosaur/sea monster through their lives in prehistoric times. It was an interesting look at how fossils are found, which help create a picture of what these prehistoric sea monsters looked like, ate, and did in their daily lives. I suppose I knew this, but haven't thought about it since elementary school...the US was covered in water long time ago so fossils from the ocean are found all across the plain states, etc. Kind of neat to think about that everything we see around us, while it looked much different in prehistoric times, was underwater. When I picked this movie, I was expecting something more like the crazy sea creatures that live deep down in the ocean like what is shown in the Planet Earth series, but I ended up really liking what was presented.

Leading in to the IMAX theatre were windows where you could see the film being loaded. There were tidbits of information on the walls outside the theatre so I scratched down some notes as the process was very interesting...

- The film for a 40 minute Omnimax dome theatre movie weighs 124 pounds.
- The projector weighs 200 pounds and sits on a special track that allows the projectionist to lower it from the theatre "dog house" to the projection room.
- The projectors 15,000 watt Xenon arc lamp is brighter than 400 household light bulbs and heats up to over 1300 degrees fahrenheit. The gas in the lamp is under so much pressure that staff wear protective clothing to change the lamp in case it explodes.
- The three black tubes carry water, air, and electricity needed to cool the projector.
- The IMAX screen at OMSI is 5 stories high.
- The image on IMAX film is 10X's larger than conventional 35mm movie film.
- The film for a 40 minute Omnimax dome theatre movie stretches for 2.5 miles if you unravel it.

The room in it's normal state...


The projector moving up the special track to the projection room...


The film feeding up into the projector...


The large rolls of IMAX film...


I have never seen a laser show so I went to the Laser Beatles show in the planetarium at the museum. I will never do a laser show again! It made me so dizzy seeing the lasers scroll across the ceiling to the music. And, I honestly didn't really find it that entertaining. I was bored, dizzy, and ready to leave shortly after the show started.

The also watched a movie called Stars that was shown in the planetarium. I wasn't overly impressed with it either. It was just a movie shown on the domed screen of the planetarium talking about the planets and stars. I remember every year in elementary school, a huge bubble would be brought in and inflated taking up the whole gymnasium. We would take off our shoes and climb through the tunnel into the main dome. A man would speak for an hour or so about the stars while pointing to projected images of the stars and constellations on the domes ceilings and sides. It was something I looked forward to every year and something closer to what I was hoping for at the planetarium.

If you do go to the museum, don't bother bringing a lunch. The museum has a wonderful cafeteria with very healthy options. I had hummus and chips with organic carrots on the side. You can sit inside or outside on the picnic tables. Fun, fun day all around. I would definitely recommend the science museum if you're heading to Portland.

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