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Fertile Minds 

HealthSpace Cleveland scores with hands-on sperm exhibits.

HealthSpace Cleveland teaches kids about this mortal - coil. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • HealthSpace Cleveland teaches kids about this mortal coil.
SAT 11/8

The new HealthSpace Cleveland museum features a cradle-to-grave joyride on the "Road to Good Health," a 10-stop display that starts with a three-story theater shaped like a human head. Kids can touch a hand-held computer and "talk" with animated characters about health issues such as seat-belt safety and the dangers of smoking.

But the real fun begins with the remaining exhibits, which are mapped out in birth-to-death sequences. It starts with the Family Tree Nursery and Garden Center, where kids learn how babies are made by playing the Sperm Game (which comes complete with "sperm marbles" that are maneuvered on an obstacle course toward eggs).

Down the hall is the jungle-like Kids' Camp, where little ones learn about hygiene, exercise, and healthy diets. The "Passing" display takes kids face to face with their own mortality, complete with a photo essay about decomposing bodies. "It's part of the living process," explains museum CEO Patricia Horvath. "What does the dying process look like, and how does it end life? We learned it all in biology class." HealthSpace Cleveland opens at 10 a.m. Saturday at 8911 Euclid Avenue (the former health museum). Admission is free until noon; it's $5 to $7 from noon to 5 p.m. Call 216-231-5010 for more info. -- Cris Glaser

Get Your Beat Down
Kids play along with the Cleveland Orchestra.

11/7-11/8

Drum rolls don't always introduce songs. In Powerful Percussion, they are the songs. The Cleveland Orchestra program, the first in its Musical Rainbow children's series, starts with a pair of percussionists playing parts of their classical repertoire. Then the kids follow, shaking maracas and banging on woodblocks. "They may ask their mom and dad for their keys and jingle them," says Joan Katz Napoli, the orchestra's education director. With noise levels high and attention spans low, it's a challenge to keep kids focused on the performance, Napoli admits. "We see them putting their hands over their ears," she says. "But they have smiles on their faces." Powerful Percussion is at 10 and 11 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Avenue. Admission is $6; call 216-231-1111. -- Cris Glaser

Afternoon Snake
Have you hugged a reptile today?

SUN 11/9

Woo-hoo! The Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is hosting a Herp-A-Thon! A what? "Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians," explains Julie Ferguson, community-relations specialist. Visitors can make crafts, go on a scavenger hunt, solve reptile-centric word searches, and fondle the center's geckos, snakes, and turtles. "We want to increase kids' knowledge of reptiles and amphibians," Ferguson says, "and teach them to not be afraid of snakes." Monty, a 175-pound python, will be on hand to drive home the point. It happens from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center (28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village). Admission is free. Call 440-871-2900 for more information. -- Diane Sofranec

Get Lit, Eat Pizza

11/6-11/24

For Book Buffet, kindergartners through fourth-graders help themselves to a literary smorgasbord. Those who read six books from any of 12 categories -- including Creepy Crawlers (mysteries), Strange and Unusual Things (sci-fi), and Rib Ticklers (humor) -- are invited to a pizza party on December 1. The program runs through November 24 at the Shaker Heights Public Library, 16500 Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights. Participation is free; call 216-991-2030. -- Cris Glaser

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