ORLANDO, Fla. – On exhibit now, and for the first time, at the Orlando Science Center, is the Top Secret --License to Spy exhibit, an interactive display where people of all ages can play pretend and learn how to become a spy.
“Every piece in here teaches you a little bit about being a spy,” Hazel Theriault, Public Program Manager of the science center said. “We’ve got a little bit of forensics, a little bit of critical thinking, a little bit of everything in there.”
With the use of about 40 different spy techniques throughout the exhibit, kids and grown-ups have to figure out who put the world at risk after thieves stole the world’s most powerful computer chip.
Some of the interactive displays include a listening station where two of the characters have a conversation, leaving each person to pick up on clues in the dialogue.
The exhibit teaches guests how to decipher codes inside the Code Room.
"We can use a lot of different coding techniques one of them is this book here--we've got these different numbers here and then we look for the same number in the book," Theriault said.
There’s also a table with three different sized wooden rods. Visitors grab a strip of paper with letters on it and they have to figure out which of the wooden rods reveals a clue after placing the paper around it.
And letter grids decode words.
"They're gonna learn how to be more observant and they're gonna learn a little bit about hiding information and giving that information secretly," Theriault said.
Part of being a good spy is knowing how to go through someone’s trash.
“There’s a lot of good information that people throw away that spies can really take and figure out what’s happening in this mystery,” Theriault said. “They’re learning how to pick up the information that’s useful and ignore the rest which is a lot of critical thinking, a lot of teamwork has to go into this.”
And just like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, hiding your identity is also part of the job. Two separate displays help you disguise your appearance, whether it’s with a wig and sunglasses or transforming your voice.
From using a phone tapping machine to using a spy satellite and going through a laser room--the exhibit teaches STEM skills in a fun and engaging setting.
“Problem-solving, critical thinking and teamwork through this mystery of who stole this computer chip. You’re almost not even gonna realize what kind of science concepts you’re learning in here,” Theriault said. “It’s all about solving that mystery, there’s something for everybody in there.”
“Top Secret -- License to Spy” runs through May 3. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Wednesdays.