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Tours > Millennium Dome > Body


We were a little late starting, but by arriving at one o'clock, felt that we would have plenty of time to see everything that we wanted to. The directions were not particularly clear, but we followed signs and eventually found ourselves at the entrance to the dome beside the body zone. As this had been featured on news reports for several days because of its queues, we decided to start there while we were still fresh. There were a lot of people waiting, but there was plenty to see on the way through. There were exhibits and demonstrations of the latest medical science, a large area given over to the human genome project and several interactive activities. My favourite was the demonstration of iris recognition, whereby you have your eyes photographed and speak your name and then go to the reader, which by photographing your eyes can speak your name back to you. In this area we experienced what was to be a theme of the whole day: friendly, well-informed staff freely available in all areas but the maintenance on the computerised exhibits could have been more frequent.

Aromatherapy BoothsThere was a delightful 'alternative therapy' area where we stood back and enjoyed the scents of grapefruit and lavender. There were also a number of fitness and diet-checking machines. As we approached the body, we came to the display sponsored by L'Oreal, exploring the nature of beauty and its importance to the way we live. There were the bland pictures of famous people (mostly L'Oreal models) and the more interesting pictures of unknown individuals, with a couple of them speaking on video. A little further on a presentation was being given on the dangers of UV rays and the prospect of deep premature wrinkles for those who aren't conscientious with the sun block.

Finally we came to cross the aisle into the main body queuing area. As we got closer to the body it was clear that the tiles which covered the whole structure and glowed pink, orange and beige did not have the same shiny ceramic finish as wall tiles. They were in fact more like the 'moving pictures' which we had hoped to find in our Christmas stockings as children, with a rubbery, lined finish. Close up, none of us could resist touching them, just to make sure.

Entering the BodyFinally, we entered the Body. We were greeted with a roomful of skin containing enormous hairs, a pierced belly button, lots of bugs moving around and a couple of spots for good measure. The next room let us see all this for real. A gleeful 'doctor' offered to analyse a volunteer's skin. A very clean-cut American gentleman volunteered and soon we were deep within his eyebrows. A moment later the doctor had found a black speck and zooming in had been able to show us a large black flea. He was obviously delighted, as it had been his first of the day. We were all a little itchy as we carried on through the exhibit.

The next stage was to travel up an escalator within the chest cavity, with a large heart at the top and colourful blood vessels along the sides. Once at the top we moved into another room, which showed sperm making their fateful journey towards fertilisation. Naturally the brain came after sex and this was aptly housed in a large skull and featured several brains on stalks facing a brain which was impersonating the famous comedian Tommy Cooper - odd but interesting. After this was a long room which housed the eye, where several people were queuing to take a look. After this we took the escalator back out of the body.

Next Stop: Millennium Show

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