Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center of Mobile,AL

Mission Nutrition exhibit set to open July 22, 2017


Jul 2017



July 12, 2017

Contact Josh Holland


After more than a year of planning, the Exploreum Science Center will open the new Mission Nutrition interactive exhibit area in the My BodyWorks Gallery on Saturday, July 22.  The renovation features five Superfood Heroes that come alive through Augmented Reality technology; a racing video game, Fuel Up, where visitors race through breakfast, lunch, and dinner, trying to avoid unhealthy foods; the Now You’re Cooking touch screen interactive exhibit that lets visitors choose between ingredients to create healthier versions of traditional Southern dishes; and the You Are What You Eat interactive game featured on an eight- foot screen.  The $500,000 renovation is sponsored by: The Ernest G. DeBakey Charitable Foundation, Infirmary Health, and The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

“This renovation hits the mark on so many levels,” said Jan McKay, the Exploreum’s Executive Director. “The interactive media uses the most recent technology available, the colors and design are amazing and exciting, there is something for everyone, the games are fun, and the educational content is strong.  We are pleased with the outcome, and we hope our community will come and see for themselves.”


Mission Nutrition replaces an older area of the gallery which also focused on nutrition education.  As information gleaned from nutritional research progressed, the area needed an upgrade.  The Exploreum hired Impact Communications from Cleveland, Ohio to plan, design, and implement the renovation.  Nothing in the new Mission Nutrition is off the shelf.  All game concepts, design, software and interactivity were custom designed for the Exploreum. 


“This is the first time Augmented Reality has been used in a museum exhibition in our region of the country,” said McKay.  “I would bet it is also the first time it will be integrated into a permanent science center exhibit.”


The Exploreum Team members who shouldered a year of extra work and planning include Assistant Director, Don Comeaux, Health Education Coordinator Haley Freeman, Director of Marketing Josh Holland, Engineer and Facilities Manager Roger Smith, and IT Coordinator Bruce Grimes. In addition, Katie Rees, a Dietician from Infirmary Health provided guidance and direction on nutritional facts and current recommendations.


“We are tremendously grateful to our three donors who are very committed to health education and have been ongoing supporters of the My BodyWorks gallery since it was created in 2009,” said McKay.


Mission Nutrition opens Saturday, July 22 from 9 – Noon for Exploreum members and at noon for the general public. The exhibits will be part of the permanent gallery.




  • Five Superfood Heroes come to life after visitors download the Superfood Heroes APP on the Google Play Store or Apple store.  Then, they search for “triggers” in the gallery, hold up their phones, and out comes the Hero – Mighty Blue, Incredible Broccoli, Greek Yogurt Goddess, Almond Ranger, and Quinoa the Great.  The cartoon Heroes talk to visitors about the advantages of making them a part of a healthy diet.
  • The Fuel Up Car that visitors can “drive” is designed from images of Macaroni, Cheese, Asparagus, Broccoli, Pizza, a Sandwich, Doughnut, Orange and Banana.
  • The Fuel Up steering wheels are the real deal, purchased from one of the largest race and performance part suppliers in the country.  The designers who integrated the steering wheel system with the computer program race cars in real life and collaborated on the design and integration. 
  • More than forty people had a hand in developing the exhibits including software designers, integrators, technology and computer experts, graphic designers, exhibit designers, illustrators, animators, photographers, scriptwriters, editors, voice talent, fabricators, and testers.
  • Visitors can learn to cook healthy key lime pie, shrimp and grits, meatloaf, and chicken while playing the Now You’re Cooking game.
  • The Now You’re Cooking program uses over 180 food photographs.
  • Professional food stylists were involved in the food videos. They employed many tricks to make everything look delicious including using a blow torch to toast the mac and cheese.
  • Exploreum educators will unleash their inner Alex Trebec when they host the You Are What you Eat game.  They will invite groups to gather round the eight- foot screen and join in the competition.
  • The game was designed as a database allowing Exploreum Educators to update and add the most timely nutritional information or focus on one food area when desired, including categories such as how to eat with diabetes, heart health, exercise, food and nutritional facts, and other topics to reflect the changing world of science.
  • Several local contractors were also brought on board to assist with the deconstruction of the old gallery space and the building of the new infrastructure. The following companies generously donated their time, energy, and resources to help make this new addition come together: Rogers & Willard, Inc., Thomas Drywall, Bay City Electric, and Pro 1 Painters.


The Exploreum is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday Noon – 5 p.m.  Summer Combo pricing is in effect:  $10 per visitor, which includes admission to the entire Exploreum plus a ticket to the J.L. Bedsole IMAX Dome Theater, now featuring the film A Beautiful Planet. 


The Exploreum is located at 65 Government Street in Mobile.  It is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers, the American Alliance of Museums, Visit Mobile, and the Alabama Museums Association and has been voted Best Kid Friendly Attraction two years in a row and repeatedly receives Four Stars on TripAdvisor. Developed for visitors of all ages, and serving the Gulf Coast since 1998, the Exploreum also features hands-on, interactive, and fun permanent galleries, and a special Wharf of Wonder play and learning area for those under the age of 6.  The Exploreum focusses on science, technology, engineering and math education, seeking to teach, entertain, and spark an interest in science and nature.


Members get in free all year.  Membership info and additional info at