World of Life Exhibit Hall

Fact Sheet


World of Life examines the commonalties of the living world, from the single-celled bacterium to the 100 trillion-celled human being.

Educational goals:

"From apple trees to honey bees, we’re more alike than you think."

Visitors will learn that all living things, including humans, must perform certain functions to survive. All living things:

  • take in energy
  • take in supplies and get rid of waste
  • react to the world around us
  • defend ourselves
  • reproduce and pass on genetic information to our offspring

Exhibit highlights:

Visitors enter the World of Life through Life Tunnel, which introduces the main ideas of the exhibit hall through large video images cast along the tunnel’s 55-foot wall. The next stop is Cell Lab, where living single-celled creatures can be viewed under microscopes. Cell Theater, located inside Cell Lab, presents a video show and live demonstrations on how cells perform the life processes common to all living things. Visitors exit the Cell Lab onto the main exhibit floor that showcases the five life process galleries.

Within each gallery, visitors learn how plants, people and other animals perform critical life processes. Control Center explores how living things react to the world around them; Life Source focuses on reproduction and genetic information; Supply Network addresses how plants and animals take in supplies and get rid of waste; Energy Factory explains how people, plants and animals get the energy and raw materials they need; and Defense Line introduces how living things protect themselves against the elements, predators and germs.

The life process galleries provide a wide variety of exhibit experiences. Visitors will be able to:

  • Compare the human heart to that of an elephant or even a mouse.
  • "Unroll" a life-size illustration of the human digestive tract.
  • Watch chicks hatch or tadpoles turn into frogs.
  • Take a thermal picture of their own body and compare it with heat images taken of other animals.
  • Get inside a bat head and "see" the world with sound.
  • Discover what it takes to pump blood to the brain of a giraffe.

BodyWorks features Tess, a 50-foot anatomically correct transparent human model or body simulator. Animatronics, animation and special effects bring the BodyWorks show to life as Tess and Walt, her cartoon sidekick, explore how teamwork helps the body play soccer. It is here that visitors learn how organs work together to keep the body in balance or in homeostasis.

The World of Life Discovery Room creates a park setting for younger children to explore the living world. Children can climb up a tree house, create their own puppet plays, and interact with a variety of live plants and animals. There’s always something to touch, explore, and learn with age-appropriate discovery box activities. Each box provides children and their families with intriguing hands-on, minds-on experiences for young and old alike.

Exhibition Designer:

West Office Exhibition Design, Oakland, California

Major funding provided by:

  • W. M. Keck Foundation
  • National Science Foundation
  • ARCO
  • Los Angeles Times and The Times Mirror Foundation
  • National Science Foundation