Sonic Sensation

On Exhibit: January 17 – May 13, 2012

A fun, multi-sensory exhibition for children and adults that lets you see, feel, and hear sounds. Learn how humans hear and discover how well you can listen.

Sonic Sensation was developed by the Sciencenter (Ithaca, NY).


  • Seeing Sound: Visitors adjust the frequency and amplitude knobs connected to big speakers at each end of a clear tube. Watch the contents of the tube “dance” in all kinds of interesting patterns!
  • Invisible Orchestra: Wave in the air and dance on a carpet to play notes, while a camera mounted overhead shows you on the monitor. Move your hands and feet into the motion-sensing zones on the monitor to play different sounds. You can make several zones sound at once!
  • Critters in a Cupboard: Hide the cat or cricket in a kitchen cupboard and ask a partner to find it by listening!
  • Hearing Test: Listen to different pitches. What frequencies can you hear with your right and left ears? Record your results on a chart.
  • Measuring Sounds: Try different notes. The meter will tell you their frequencies.
  • How Do We Hear? See all the parts inside your ear with this large-scale model. Launch a billiard ball to show how sound hitting our eardrdums sends signals to our brain.
  • Ear This! Stand behind the panel and put your best face forward. How do you look with the ears of an elephant? How about a bat? Fun family photo op!
  • Match the Sound: Shake a bunch of containers and listen to their sounds. Can you guess what’s inside?
  • Create a Soundtrack: Add sounds as a movie plays. Train whistle, ducks quacking, cows mooing – what sounds good?
  • High Pitch, Low Pitch: Hit the colored bells mounted on a rotating turntable. Can you sort them into high and low pitches? Flip up the doors to see how you did.
  • Hearing Safety: See examples of different kinds of hearing protection. What happens if you don’t protect your hearing?


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