Solving crimes the CSI way


Behind an old hotel in Las Vegas, the body of Penny Golden lays between the Dumpster and the bike rack.

Her purse is on the ground with its contents spilled out, but the cash in her wallet remains untouched. A small bag of drugs lies beside her arm. Was Penny the victim of an accidental overdose? That could be, but what about those tire marks on her waitressing uniform? Was that post-mortem, or was it a cover up?

They say that the dead do not tell tales, but if you listen closely, as Gil Grissom says, the evidence is telling you a story. Can you solve it?

With the new exhibit that opened on May 24 at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), CSI: The Experience, you become immersed in the world of forensic science.

"You really get the opportunity to try your hand at what it is like to be a real crime scene investigator and see if you have the chops to figure out the crimes," said Kelli Gaza Nowinsky, public relations manager for COSI.

The interactive exhibit brings to life fundamental scientific principles, numerous scientific principles and the most advanced technology and techniques used today by crime scene investigators and forensic scientists.

After sketching one of the three crime scenes, you will review evidence within a cell phone, compare DNA samples, do latent prints, do ballistics and toxicology tests, and even visit an autopsy station where you find out how your victim died.

"This wasn’t at all what I expected," said Columbus resident Paula Williams. "I’m a big fan of "CSI" the television show so I wanted to come here and see what this was all about.

"I wasn’t expecting it to be this elaborate, or see anything on this grand of a scale."

With the cooperation of CBS and the creators of "CSI," the exhibit was created by the Forth Worth Museum of Science and Industry. Because the museum was undergoing a renovation, the opening of CSI: The Experience debuted in Chicago, and from there traveled to Boston, Houston and now Columbus.

"This is a great opportunity not only for fans of the show to get up close and personal with replicas of the "CSI" set, but it’s also a great opportunity to get in the heads of real crime scene investigators," said David Berman who plays assistant coroner David Philips on the highly rated show.

Nowinsky said they are expecting big crowds for CSI: The Experience, estimating over 150,000 people will come to COSI and see the new exhibit.

"We are getting a lot of interest from schools all over the state because this is not something you can find in a text book," she said.

She also added that because of the subject matter, parental guidance is suggested, but they will not turn any family with young children away.

"It is definitely geared toward children aged 12 and over, but I would suggest letting younger children see the safer ‘No Bones About It.’"

CSI: The Experience will run from May 24 through Sept. 1, with the times being 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.

The price of admission is $17.50, $15.50 for senior citizens, $12.50 for children 2 to 12. COSI is located at 333 W. Broad St.

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