Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life

The must-see, must-do, must-HEAR traveling exhibit is now open at SCI!

Whales compose, bullfrogs chorus, songbirds greet the dawn and people everywhere sing and dance. What do we all have in common? Long before the advent of Spotify or Pandora, the musical instinct ran deep.

Through sensory-stimulating activities, you'll not only hear the music that surrounds you every day, but you'll see and even feel it, too.

Exhibit highlights include:

  • Three different "soundscapes" where you can explore sound and music that come from the ocean, the forest and the city. Learn to interpret spectrograms, or visual representations, of bird songs, learn what whale cries tell us about the animal's life cycle, see samples of instruments from around the world, experiment with how sound travels underwater, explore how music influences memory and more.
  • The Jamming Room, a soundproof practice studio where you can use pre-recorded audio soundscapes, animal voices, percussion instruments and live vocals to compose your own songs.
  • The Bioacoustic Lab, where you can experiment with how the human voice works and how it compares to that of other animals, specifically birds. Here, you can explore a model of the human larynx and the bird syrinx, use an electrolarynx to "speak" without using your voice and use a set of vibrating metal reeds to "feel" sound.
  • The Power of Sound and Music Theater, where you can sit back, relax and experience sounds from around the world. The seven-minute, sound-driven video demonstrates - both visually and audibly - how animals use sound to identify themselves, communicate and form and nurture social groups.


Designed with an eye to accessibility

Wild Music is designed to be accessible to all visitors. All of the exhibit’s videos are narrated and captioned, and more than a dozen major components have audio descriptions for vision-impaired visitors. Many components incorporate tactile graphic illustrations, and many have visitor-adjustable volume controls. All areas of the exhibit were built to be accessible for visitors using wheelchairs.

In addition, text in Wild Music is printed in large, highly-readable type and is written in both English, Spanish and, in some cases, Braille.


Visiting Information

Wild Music will be open daily at the Science Center of Iowa from October 1, 2016, through May 29, 2017. The exhibit is included with regular SCI admission - FREE for members!

Wild Music is a production of the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Association of Science-Technology Centers and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Music, with major support from the National Science Foundation and additional support from Harman International, Inc. and the NEC Foundation of America.


Educator Resources

From September 2016 through February 2017, schools can visit SCI for just $2 per student. After March 1, school visits are $5.50 per student.

  • Download the Wild Music Educator Guide - includes exhibition overview, activities for before, during and after your visit, benchmarks and standards and additional resources.
  • Add a Discovery Lab to your visit! Explore the emerging field of sound ecology with Global Soundscapes, an interactive planetarium program that perfectly complements Wild Music!