The Leonardo is going to the dogs.
And camels. And reindeer, ostriches and giraffes.
Salt Lake City’s science-technology museum is playing host to a wide array of anatomical specimens of the animal kingdom — in the exhibit Animal Inside Out, opening today.
The exhibit was created by the same people responsible for the popular Body Worlds exhibits that display human bodies with organs, blood vessels and musculature preserved through a process called “plastination.”
Animal Inside Out features more than 100 animal specimens that have been similarly preserved. They include a giraffe, a bull, several reindeer, two ostriches, a Bactrian camel, dogs, sheep, goats, giant squid and a mako shark.
Angelina Whalley, the touring show’s curator, said her collaborators “wanted to create an exhibition that is equally fascinating as Body Worlds.”
Whalley and her husband, Gunther von Hagens, the inventor of the plastination process, marveled at the similarities between human and animal physiology.
“Most animals have the same needs as us,” Whalley said. “We need oxygen. … We need to reproduce and move around.”
The Animal Inside Out exhibit debuted in 2010 in Germany, Whalley and von Hagens’ home, and toured Europe before coming to the United States. Salt Lake City is the show’s third U.S. stop, after Chicago and Dallas.
Some of the bigger specimens didn’t make the trip. Three large animal specimens — a black bear, a lowland gorilla and an Asian elephant — were denied entry into the United States by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service because they are considered“protected species, Whalley said.
Animal Inside Out is one of two Body Worlds exhibits to display at The Leonardo this year, said Alexandra Hesse, the museum’s executive director. After the animals are packed up in September, The Cycle of Life exhibit will open and run through January. It’s the first time Body Worlds has had back-to-back exhibits in the same museum.
For Hesse, seeing the Animal Inside Out exhibit brought a bit of nostalgia. She recalled that in 2008, The Leonardo, still in development, first brought a Body Worlds exhibit to Salt Lake City, “back when the museum was just an idea.”
“We were able to show the community what this museum could be,” Hesse said.
Hesse also cited the museum’s namesake, Leonardo da Vinci, who studied anatomy, among his many disciplines.
“It gives me a kick to think of what he would have thought of this exhibit,” she said.
Whalley said she hopes the exhibit will let “people really leave enriched and inspired with a sense of discovery and wonder. All these animals deserve our respect and our responsibility.”
‘Animal Inside Out’
The exhibit Animal Inside Out is a collection of anatomical animal specimens curated by the folks behind the Body Worlds exhibits.
Where • The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City.
When • Opens today, and runs through mid-September.
Hours • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.
Tickets • $19 for adults; $16.50 for youth (12-17), seniors, students and military; $15 for children (6-11); free for 5 and under.
Website • theleonardo.org.