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The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center invites the media to preview the new exhibition CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top

CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top debuts at the Fleet on Friday, May 1, 2015, featuring all the science behind "the greatest show on Earth!"

April 24, 2015

San Diego, CA--The circus is coming to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and members of the media have the opportunity to see it first. The Fleet is scheduling media previews, interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at their latest addition to the 2015 line up of exhibitions, CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top, which debuts for the public on Friday, May 1, 2015.

CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top features twenty multi-station interactive exhibits that delve into everything from clown makeup to the art of contortion to animal communication. The family-friendly exhibition lets visitors of all ages explore the science behind the spectacle while learning the tricks of the sword swallower, uncovering the illusion of the flea circus, discovering the psychology of common circus sounds and more.  

Visuals for the CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top include the Elastic Acrobatics exhibit, which will give visitors the chance to practice their best mid-air trapeze tricks from the safety of a harness, or the High Wire, where adventurous visitors 46 inches or taller will strap into a harness and test their balance by walking across the 20-foot-long wire six feet above the ground. Youngsters will enjoy pretending that they've joined the circus at the Circus Costume Station, where they can dress up like a ringmaster, a lion or a bear.

Every feature of CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top is designed to teach visitors about science in a fun, interactive way. Other exhibits with strong visual appeal are the Balance Bar, where visitors can test how their center of gravity works, and The Feats of Strength exhibit, which shows how leverage, compression and tension are used to do the seemingly impossible. Visitors can also experience the science and math involved in juggling, acrobatics and The Human Cannonball.

"We're very excited to feature CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top because it shows that science is everywhere you look," said Steve Snyder, CEO of the Fleet Science Center. "Scientific concepts have been incorporated into performance and entertainment for centuries. An exhibition such as CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top gives a context for understanding science outside of the typical realms of classrooms and labs."

The Fleet is also adding a Sideshow Science performance to the current Don't Try This at Home live science show. Beginning May 1, the Fleet's team of science demonstrators will delve into the science behind many popular circus feats, such as laying on the Bed of Nails or testing their faith in physics with the Bowling Ball Pendulum. Sideshow Science will be in addition to the current rotation of Don't Try This at Home shows: Too Loud, Too Messy and Too Shocking.

CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top was developed by the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It will be featured at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center May 1 through September 7, 2015. 

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Additional Links and Media

Link to the exhibition page: http://www.rhfleet.org/exhibitions/circus

Photos for CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top:

From the Fleet website: http://www.rhfleet.org/press-room/images

From the Franklin Institute (Photo credit: Darryl Moran/The Franklin Institute):


Videos for CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top:

Preview from the Ontario Science Center:


Preview from the New York Hall of Science


Media Interviews

The Fleet is pleased to have a number of representatives available for interview in conjunction with the exhibition, CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top. Representatives are available from the Fleet, the San Diego circus and performing arts community, the San Diego science community and from the developers of the exhibition.

To schedule a preview, interview or media appearance,

please contact Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Public Relations Manager Nathan Young at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org.

Interview Opportunities

1) Dr. Steven Snyder, CEO, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Steven Snyder, Ph.D., comes to the Fleet from The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where he served as Vice President of Exhibit and Program Development. There he was responsible for redefining the direction and processes for the development and implementation of all exhibit, theater and public programs for a 180+ year old institution and in so doing transforming the existing museum into a more dynamic, relevant, educational experience.

Dr. Snyder can be available to talk about the science behind CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top and what it means to have it at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center as part of the 2015 lineup of exhibitions. 

2) John Highkin, Executive Director, Fern Street Circus

The Fern Street Circus is renowned for locally created circus acts, live original music, costumes, props and creating physical surroundings that reach the levels of public art. Fern Street's unified presentation of professional and inspirational performers has won praise since their beginnings. Fern Street performers enliven and animate events, bringing a cavalcade of musicians, clowns, jugglers, acrobats and many others to parade and engage the audience.

John Highkin can talk about how the circus tradition combines physical and theatrical skills, merging the magnificent and the lowbrow, and is uniquely suited to be the medium of social exchange and social good. He has insight into the real application of the exhibits in CIRCUS, and can also talk about how circus combines art with sport, changing the way kids feel about exercise.

For more about Fern Street Circus, visit fernstreetcircus.com.

3) Christine Pidgeon, Ontario Science Center

Christine Pidgeon is a representative from Ontario Science Center, the developer of CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top. She can talk at length about the individual exhibits in CIRCUS, give demonstrations and guide media representatives to walk the High Wire or swing in the Elastic Acrobatics. 

More about Ontario Science Center is available on the website

4) Daniel Klein and Mark Paddock, University of California San Diego

Daniel Klein and Mark Paddock are physicists at the University of California San Diego. They have been working with the Fleet to help develop additional demonstrations and a deeper understanding of the science behind the exhibition for Fleet staff and volunteers. They would be happy to share their scientific insight with members of the media.

5) Don't Try This at Home science show demonstrators

The Fleet's science demonstrators from the Don't Try This at Home live show will be debuting a new Sideshow Science act to coincide with CIRCUS: Science Under the Big Top. The new show will feature the science behind some of the circus's most death defying acts, such as the Bed of Nails and the Swinging Pendulum. The Don't Try This at Home science team would love to demonstrate these feats to members of the media brave enough to face them at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.



About the Fleet Science Center:

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet--and beyond--in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet offers science workshops both at the Fleet and at schools throughout San Diego County. For adults, we offer events like Suds & Science and Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar™ at locations all over San Diego. We support communities by leveraging science resources to meet local needs. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in our Craveology cafe. Located in Balboa Park, at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego's science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, visit our website at fleetscience.org.
About Balboa Park:
Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urbancultural park in the United States. First established by the City of San Diego in 1868, it is also one of the oldest city parks in the nation and is the most visited single destination in San Diego. Its 1,200 acres include 17 museums, many gardens and attractions, the San Diego Zoo, miles of hiking trails, and multiple athletic complexes to explore and discover. For more information, visit balboapark.org.

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