Toys: The Inside Story

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Pulleys

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Pulley Wall

Discover pulley power at this display that invites you to explore what a pulley is and how it behaves.

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Pattern Tracer

Test out your manual dexterity by tracing patterns on this gigantic Etch A Sketch®.

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Big Pulley, Little Pulley

Create crazy optical illusions by connecting pulleys. Movable pulleys allow endless combinations and encourage discoveries about the relationship between pulley size and speed.

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Circuits

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Circuit Wall

These exhibits keep you current with the basics of circuits, switches and circuit boards. Challenge yourself to keep a circuit open as you move a ring along an angled rod. Now you know why it takes a steady hand to win at the classic game Operation®!

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Circuit Challenge

This giant circuit board is alive with fans, lights, and funny sounds. Can you make all of the circuits active at once?

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Linkages

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Linkages Wall

Many toys include linkages that connect moving parts. Operate a Hungry Hippo® and a model of the inner workings of the charming Pudgy the Piglet® to see how you or a motor can turn a simple motion into one that's more complex.

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Gears

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Gears Wall

You see gears in just about any machine with moving parts, including lots of popular toys! Gears are wheels with teeth. If two gears mesh, and you turn one, the other turns. But that's just the start of what a gear can do.

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Gears at Play

Movable gears on a big table can set all sorts of magical things in motion. Can you figure out how to use different sized gears to make the carousel or twirling ballerinas spin as fast as possible?

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Big Gear, Little Gear

Crank it up and see how and industrial-size gear train can change the speed at which a shaft rotates.

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What's Inside the Hokey Pokey?

Hokey Pokey Elmo® loses his red fur and his plastic skin to reveal the source of his killer dance moves. Check out the motor, cam, circuit board, and switches that make Elmo dance.

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What's Inside the Marching Machine?

You can see right through Mr. Machine®, a classic toy from the 60's made of clear plastic. The accompanying video highlights some of the linkages and cams that make him move. (See the orginal 1960 Mr. Machine® commercial, too!)

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What's Inside Jack-in-the-Box?

What makes Jack jump? Turn the crank on a real Jack-in-the-Box and watch live by video-cam as the worm gear and cam mechanism turn him loose.

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Cam Wall

Cam you turn it? In this exhibit, rotating cams will make a frog jump, a gator bite, or a firefly flash. Look inside the classic Dr. Duck® toy to see how a cam lets him walk the walk.

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The Magic Behind the Silver Screen

Ever wonder how an Etch A Sketch® works? We've taken the toy apart to reveal its inner-workings. See how pulleys and wires guide the drawing tip.