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A Revealing and Thought-Provoking Exhibit

Published 10/21/2009 12:00 AM

Hanging out with my people usually entails food, drinks, music and tons of jokes. But this time around, we agreed to break from that and try something that wouldn't typically fall under the heading "Girls Night."

My sister, Karla, is into gore. She's seen every scary movie and would laugh obnoxiously as Freddy Krueger wreaked havoc on the children of Elm Street. So it's no wonder she'd suggest going to an exhibit that featured dissected and shriveled cadavers.

"Bodies Revealed" is a full-on display that showcases the inner human body in all its gory detail. The exhibit, running until Feb. 2 at Foxwoods Resort Casino, uses 14 bodies and more than 200 organs to show the inner workings of the human body.

Two to three bodies are displayed in each gallery. Many are performing some sort of activity. One is crouched over the handlebars of a bike, his dark eyeballs peering down at us.

Another ­ which we dubbed "Baseball Man" ­ had clearly defined six-pack abs. His arm was pulled back as if he were winding up for a big throw and one of his kneecaps hung loose.

Throughout the gallery hung large and small signs with bits of information that made us go "Hmm?" For example:

Children's bones grow faster in the springtime.

Babies have 300 bones; adults have 206.

It takes 19 muscles to move your hand and wrist.

As we walked through each section, stopping to look at both diseased and healthy organs encased in glass, Jenn kept being drawn back to the head of each corpse.

After her stepson woke up one morning with a terrible cold after having breathing issues the night before, she'd become fascinated with sinus passages.

"I've always wondered what they looked like," she said, as she peered up the nose of one body.

According to the exhibit's Web site, each body specimen "is dissected to best reveal the function of a complete anatomical system and to show that system's relationship to the body as a whole."

A docent told us that the bodies are preserved through a process called Polymer Preservation. Basically, all the water is drained out of each cell and is filled with silicone. The process takes about two years to complete.

Although viewing the three-dimensional bodies was, uh, revealing, we agreed we all could have done without seeing the genitalia, which was intact on many of the male specimens.

On average, a pack of cigarettes takes three hours and 40 minutes off your life.

That last bit of info really snared our attention, especially for my sister Karla, who smokes. She quickly began rattling off numbers. Eight years..., times one pack every three days..., equals ... Well, we never figured out the actual number, but the statistic did give her a moment of pause. She glanced briefly at a clear container that was filled less than one quarter of the way with discarded cigarette boxes.

A nearby sign implored visitors to "stop smoking now" because "we'd like you to be around longer." After staring at a set of lungs that looked like they'd been soaked in soot and a body dissected vertically that showed the diseased organ, Karla said she'd be reevaluating her and her husband's habit.

A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have. A man continues to produce sperm throughout his life.

The next to last room that we toured had a sign hanging next to the door, asking visitors to "pause to consider" whether they wanted to enter. The room contained examples of embryonic and fetal development, including birth defects.

All of the specimens had died in utero. I refused to go in, but Jenn, who is 7 ½ months pregnant, and Karla, whipped through the room in no time. They told me that there were six containers with fetuses ranging in age from eight to 22 weeks. One full-body specimen showed a mom carrying a four-month-old fetus.

At a price of $20 (a surcharge is applied if purchased online), the exhibit was interesting enough to keep us talking for days. It also made us think about the issue of people donating their bodies to science, without which the exhibit would have been impossible.

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body; it helps keep your balance and moves your thigh.

MORE

BODIES REVEALED

Foxwoods Resort Casino

Grand Pequot Tower - Mezzanine Level

10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday

The exhibit ends Nov. 29

Tickets $20 apiece, $18 with "Dream Points."

800.369.9663

www.foxwoods.com/bodies