The Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland lets fans of the classic film series live out fantasies of riding alongside that famous archaeologist and adventurer. But that attraction is all a fabrication of Disney’s talented Imagineers. For an up-close look at the film franchise, the Discovery Science Center in Orange County, California is now featuring an exhibit called “Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archeology,” on display through April 21, 2013 featuring original and instantly recognizable props, costumes, and artwork.
The exhibit is impressive for a number of reasons. First and most simply, it’s about Indiana Jones (and who doesn’t love Indiana Jones?). But it also incorporates technology into a museum experience in a manner that makes anyone want to don a fedora and search for hidden treasures.
Upon entering the exhibit, visitors are given a touch screen tablet resembling Jones’ satchel, but with headphones, and sent into a maze. Throughout the exhibit, numbers printed on the walls and display cases act as a guide. Typing in the first number brings up an introduction by Indiana Jones himself, Harrison Ford, offering a little instruction.
Walking through, behind-the-scenes elements are displayed from all four movies, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Temple of Doom,” “Last Crusade,” as well as “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” The information that is given is a nice balance between how the films were made and the basis for the archeology in the film, such as the truth behind the Ark of the Covenant. Each relic, movie prop, and map has its own number that corresponds to either video or audio on the tablet.
Beyond the Ark, highlights include many of the artifacts Indy found on his treks around the world, from the golden idol that famously started the ball rolling, literally, to the holy grail of archaeology - the Holy Grail.
In addition to all the movie props and costumes, the exhibit also introduces the history of real archeology, featuring actual relics and pictures of the men that the Indiana Jones character was based on. The exhibit is split roughly half between the movies and reality, with just enough Hollywood to keep movie buffs interested but also enough science to spark a desire to know more about archeology.
But with constant use of the tablet, it’s tough to know exactly where to look, as there is always something to read, watch, or listen to - sensory overload at times. With so many elements, it’s too easy to feel the need to move quickly through the exhibit. The technology makes it fast-paced. But for the most enjoyment, it’s important to set the tablet aside and take the time to fully appreciate the whole experience.
There is so much information available on the tablet that listening or watching everything would take several hours. Don’t expect to see everything in a short visit.
Though a lot of the behind-the-scenes materials can be seen in some form on the Blu-ray set of the films that was released last year, those extras aren’t nearly as exciting as standing next to the actual Lost Ark, Shankara Stones, and Grail Diary. And yes, even the Crystal Skull was impressive.
The whole experience costs $25 for adults, $22 for kids, including admission to the Discovery Science Center. It may not be a must-see for those prices, but true Indiana Jones fans will find it worth it.
Outside of the Indiana Jones exhibit the rest of the Discovery Science Center is aimed at young kids. My nephews (2 and 4) had a good time throughout, though a lot of the Indaina Jones exhibit has more of an adult theme, showing all the gory parts of the films on video screens, perhaps a better fit at a natural history museum rather than a kids’ museum. But if your family is a fan of the films, an expedition to the Discover Science Center will bring out the adventurer in all.
More photos from the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archeology exhibit:
(Photos by Josh Daws)