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Museum of Science to debut 4-D theater in August

The Museum of Science is entering the fourth dimension.

In the next few months, the facility will swap its 3-D theater for a 4-D sensory experience. The new $2.5 million theater, slated to open in August, will synchronize physical effects with a 3-D film.

What will that experience be like? When a whale breaches on screen in the upcoming “Planet Earth: Shallow Seas 4-D Experience,” moviegoers might feel a mist as it hits the water. As Dora the Explorer swings on vines in a rain forest in “Dora & Diego’s 4-D Adventure,” the scent of bananas fills the room.

The films, in addition to “Happy Feet 4-D Experience!” will be the first to debut with the new theater.


“Our 3-D theater has been here for about 10 years,” said Jonathan Burke, the museum’s vice president for visitor experience and operation. “It was time to bring something new and exciting to the museum.”

4-D isn’t new to the film industry. For decades, theaters and theme parks have used strobe lights, smoke and wind machines, water sprays, moving seats, and other effects to fully immerse their guests in film.

The science museum says its new theater will be the only 4-D sensory experience in Massachusetts. Jordan’s Furniture in Avon offers similar special effects on its Motion Odyssey Movie Ride, which is open during school vacations and for the holiday season. The Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., is the nearest 4-D theater open year-round, the museum said.

The science museum’s old 3-D theater opened in 2004 and featured dozens of films from “Flight of the Butterflies” to “Sea Monsters” and “Bugs!” The theater closed this week so workers could begin building the new attraction.

The new theater is a collaboration between the museum and SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment, a Toronto-based company that develops special-effects- driven attractions.


In addition to the price of admission to the museum, tickets to the 4-D shows will cost $6 for adults, $5.50 for seniors, and $5 for children. The theater will seat 98 guests.

Taryn Luna can be reached at taryn.luna@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @TarynLuna.