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Experience Earth Portal

By Kimberly Swetland
On April 24, 2012

Tucked behind the Alweg monorail on the Seattle Center campus is a unique experience just waiting to be discovered. Earth Portal A Guided Tour of the Universe presented by Whidbey Geodome is not only entertaining, it is transforming the way stories are being told.

According to the Whidbey Geodome site, the project uses,  "the latest scientific data and visualizations from NASA, NOAA, and elsewhere, we are creating productions to provide a big picture context that demonstrates the interconnectedness and interdependence of ecosystems at multiple scales.  We utilize cutting edge immersive visualization technologies -- beautifully rendered images of interconnected scientific datasets -- to create awe-inspiring, transformative experiences for people of all ages."

An array of technology comes together inside a portable dome to tell the story of how life has evolved on Earth as well as looking at how discoveries of space have evolved over time. Despite the size of the dome, at only a 25 ft. diameter and 13 ft. ceiling, the floor seating was more than comfortable for the thirty minute show we attended and the technology is so innovative that the small size is very cozy and immersive. The exhibit opened April 21 and is housed behind the monorail for another six months until October 21. On opening day, we attended the final showing. The dome can accommodate about 20 people at a time, and was completely packed for the final show of the day.

The mission of the show is, "to expand world views, values, and behaviors of individuals, institutions, and communities to collaboratively create a healthier planet that works for all," according to the Whidbey Geodome website.

The experience of the show might leave you feeling like a speck on a grain of sand, on one of hundreds of beaches, as you travel toward the ends of the universe, yet at the same time it might leave you feeling as if you haven't explored enough of our home (Earth). There are several other interactive activities in the Earth Portal exhibit, aside from the show. There is an opportunity to write a deca after the show, which is a ten syllable poem describing your experience, there are amazing displays of photography, and there are iPads with applications where you can browse planets and other related information. Many visitors engage in conversation regarding their experience at the end of the show. The current cost of a 30 minute show is $7 for students, seniors, and youth under 18; and $9 for adults. Check on the Geodome website for more information and show times:

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