From 2003-2016, "MythBusters" was a popular show on the Discovery Channel, dedicated to testing the truth of all sorts of urban legends, beliefs and rumors with live-on-camera experiments that "replicate the myth, then duplicate the results." Tests involving dramatic explosions or collisions were favored.
Original episodes of the show are still streaming online, and you can watch the next generation of MBs on the Science Channel this month. Better yet, you can now see and test some MythBusters myths for yourself in a new exhibition at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park, San Diego.
The day before the Feb. 24, 2018 grand opening, we toured the exhibit with Exhibits Project Supervisor Ashanti Davis, who told us that most of the installations were actual artifacts from the TV show. But here, you get to do more than just watch. Some of my favorites:
Myth: Buttered toast always falls butter-side down.
Three of us tested this one by repeatedly flipping mock toasts, three different ways.
Result: Not true.
Myth: You can pull a tablecloth out from under a set of dishes without disturbing the dishes.
Result: Maybe you can. Ashanti could. I couldn't.
Myth: You stay drier walking through a rainstorm than running through it.
Result: I really liked the look of the Rain Chamber, but didn't feel like getting wet. You'll have to find out for yourself.
Besides the installations, there are two live stage shows every hour, from 11:15 a.m. to an hour before closing time. You can even submit your own myths to be considered for the new TV show.
The original TV MythBusters were special-effects men. This is a science center, so you'll learn a little science along the way, especially if you ask questions. Questions are always welcome here, but mostly — it's fun!
Another new exhibit is Taping Shape 2.0, a walk-through structure created from 16 miles of transparent packing tape. It's actually a giant trefoil knot, the kind you make when you tie your shoelaces, or if you're going formal, a full Windsor tie. If you've ever wondered what it might be like to be at the center of a giant non-claustrophobic knot looking out, now you can do it. As the signs say: Why Knot?
Knots, in fact, are all around us. Besides laces and ties, they're out in space (as part of String Theory) and our DNA may even be in knots. Want to try your hand at different ways of knotting? Read the explanatory signs or ask a live Explainer for help.
There are many more things to see and do at the Fleet, for kids and adults, so plan on allowing enough time to experience it all.
For the latest information on special events and hours, check the website: fleetscience.org
• IF YOU GO: The Fleet Science Center, 1875 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Admission: $16.95-19.95 (includes one IMAX film and regular exhibits). Taping Shape 2.0 — Why Knot (included with admission). MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition (through Sept. 3, 2018) $5 additional fee, includes two stage shows every hour, starting 11:15 a.m. (619) 238-1233. fleetscience.org