You’ve played Mouse Trap and even tackled Bella Organic’s annual fall corn maze. Take your brood’s love of games, puzzles and everything brain-teasing to the next level at Mazes, the brand new exhibit at OMSI that gives a whole new meaning to family game night. Now through May 6, this highly interactive exhibit will have you lost (and found!) in a real winding maze, and solving mind boggling illusions and puzzles. Read on to find out what you’re bound to get yourself twisted up in.

OMSI colored path maze

photo: Kelley Gardiner

Mazes
The focal points of the exhibits, that take up the most real estate and will probably get your little explorers most excited, are the two mazes to wind through. The first, and largest, is the Maze of Illusions. As you make your way through the maze, you’ll find plenty of optical illusions to solve or just enjoy. As you encounter each illusions, make sure you pay attention because you’ll need to remember them in order to find your way back out of the maze. Volunteers monitor the maze, and emergency exits are available on each end just in case anyone starts to lose their nerve. Expect to spend 10-15 minutes winding your way through.

The Junior Maze is shorter, both in height and distance, for younger problem-solvers. They’ll find percussion instruments along the way to jingle, bang, and beat, so expect a little bit of volume. If your child is old enough to stand up, they can enjoy bead races and turning wheels with marbles.

Good to know: The Maze of Illusions and Junior Maze are not accessible by wheelchair, motorized scooter, or strollers. 

Headlong maze
Puzzles
In addition to those mazes, there are plenty of puzzles and activities to keep your family entertained. Several patterned floor mazes (like the colored path maze, and headlong maze) near the entrance encourage problem-solving, and trial and error, as kids enter the maze and figure out the solution with their feet and brains. A rope course is tricky enough to keep older kids thinking as they try to scramble up, around and through without getting tangled in the “intricate web of ropes.”

OMSI Mazes Make a Maze

photo: Kelley Gardiner

Hands-On Activities
If you’ve still got brainpower after solving puzzles and triumphantly exiting the maze, OMSI’s new exhibit has plenty to do. Build your own marble race, draw a maze and display your masterpiece for all to see, try balancing on a balance board with an embedded marble, and learn about the history of mazes. At the far end of the exhibit, your family is encouraged to “Make a Maze” with long soft blocks, getting kids of all ages (even toddlers) in on the fun.

OMSI Mazes baby

photo: Kelley Gardiner

The Scoop:
Mazes is included with a regular OMSI admission, which gives visitors access to all other exhibit halls (Earth Hall, Life Hall, Turbine Hall, Science Labs, and Science Playground), $13 adult, $9.50 3-13, and members get in for free.

OMSI
1945 SE Water Ave.
503-797-4000
Online: omsi.edu

Have you visited this new exhibit at OMSI yet? What did your family think? Let us know in the comments!

—Kelley Gardiner