Is your child is a Nat Geo or Discovery Channel fan? Make like a gazelle and run, don’t walk, to Sensory Odyssey: Into the Heart of Our Living World. This new multi-sensory exhibition at the ArtScience Museum that brings visitors on an awe-inspiring voyage into the heart of seven of the world’s ecosystems, from Africa to the arctic. Organised by ArtScience Museum and BASE Entertainment Asia, it was created by Sensory Odyssey Studio in collaboration with the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris. The 2023 Asian premiere of this exhibition at ArtScience Museum marks the first stop on a global tour.
Entering a Sensory Odyssey
Be hit by the smell of sweet wet earth as you arrive at basement two of the ArtScience Museum, where the exhibition begins. From here on it’s a thoroughly immersive experience that lets you see, hear, and even smell the habitats featured. Visitors enter in groups of 20 at the most, to ensure that everyone has space to fully experience with the exhibits.
African Savannah, French Guiana & the South American Rainforest
Start the journey at a watering hole in the African Savannah. You can’t see much at first, but you’ll smell the earth, and hear the sounds of creatures out there. They come and go in flashes, projected on screens. It’s dark and a little creepy, to be honest, but probably the most authentic experience of a night in the wild you’ll get in an exhibition. Sans the heat, perhaps, but we’re all thankful for that, aren’t we?
We move on to a rainforest canopy in French Guiana, and forest bathe in cool comfort. After that comes a dazzling echolocation journey with a bat. Then from the air we descend six feet underground, exploring the depths and their denizens. After that it’s out to the sunny grasslands.
Grasslands of Southern France, the Indian Ocean, and Greenland’s Glaciers
If you are the type to scream and squeal at flying insects, be prepared as they are presented in high-definition magnification here. Similarly, oversized arachnids and caterpillars strut across the screen in the next room. Listen out for the sounds they make, now audible and heightened — like the visuals and the smells throughout — thanks to a cross-disciplinary team of artists, designers, biologists, engineers, developers, neuroscientists, scent-makers, and media specialists.
From the smallest creatures to the greatest mammals. The museum’s largest screens just about contain a family of giant sperm whales that live in the ocean near Mauritius. We hear them communicate through clicks as they do a breathtaking underwater ballet. It’s surreal and magnificent, just like the glaciers of Greenland that we later float over.
Plant a Mangrove Tree
The final stop brings us home, where we meet seven local scientists and biodiversity advocates, and see parallels to the ecosystems showcased — right here in Singapore. Write your hope for sustainability on a leaf and stick it on the wall of mangroves. With each pledge, the ArtScience Museum, together with WWF Singapore, will plant a mangrove tree — one of nature’s superheroes — in Sarawak.
Is Sensory Odyssey Child-Friendly?
Should you bring your children? Yes, especially if they love animals and nature. In fact, during the exhibition’s eight-month run in Paris, it was found that kids would automatically calm down and quietly immerse themselves in each ecosystem exhibit. Do note though, that some sections are rather dark, so hold onto your child’s hand, and tell them not to run around.
Sensory Odyssey: Into the Heart of Our Living World
📆 27 May to 29 October 2023
⏰ 10am – 7pm
🎟️ $17 (child), $21 (adult)
Featured image: Sensory Odyssey Studio, Mardi8, V.Vial