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The Amazing Brain, Science City’s Largest and Newest Indoor Hands-On Exhibit Now Open in Time for Big Spring Break Season

March 8, 2019





The Amazing Brain, Science City’s Largest and Newest Indoor Hands-On Exhibit
Now Open in Time for Big Spring Break Season


Grandview C-4, Winners of the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains Competition Celebrate Opening of their Million-Dollar Exhibit


KANSAS CITY, Missouri (March 7, 2019) — Today, seventeen elementary students -- surrounded by their school district’s cheerleaders, drumline, choir, parents, educators and proud fans -- celebrated the grand opening of Science City’s largest and newest indoor exhibit, The Amazing Brain.  Surrounded by a high-energy crowd excited to experience the $1 million interactive exhibit, the Grandview C-4 students took the stage to help officially open the space inspired by their winning proposal in the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains.


“Out of nearly 100,000 square feet of hands-on, interactive exhibits in Science City, a full 50 percent of that space was born in the imaginations of Kansas City kids thanks to the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition,” George Guastello, Union Station president and CEO, said.  “We’ve experienced tremendous and continued success in Science City attendance and Membership growth year-after-year.  We know that’s due in large part to the partnership with Burns & McDonnell and the student-inspired Battle of the Brains competition. Also supporting this important project is the David Beals Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee. Guests are going to absolutely love The Amazing Brain.  It represents the very best of what we do to stimulate exploration, involve physical interaction and encourage life-long learning.”


Burns & McDonnell has built seven major exhibits and invested more than $6 million in Science City over the past decade.


“With a mission to inspire the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals, Battle of the Brains is a passion project at Burns & McDonnell, where student teams compete to transform their idea into a $1 million, permanent exhibit at Science City,” says Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO, Burns & McDonnell.  “To see this much excitement and community support around a STEM competition in our region is inspiring — and a great sign for the future of Kansas City.”


The Amazing Brain is the fifth exhibit from the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains program at Science City. The 2,800-square-foot exhibit explores the body’s command center — where it forms memories, feels emotions, learns new things and so much more. Designed to exercise the 3-pound organ in your head, The Amazing Brain contains 14 unique exhibit pieces, including: 


  • READY, SET, RECALL is a colorful, fast-paced demonstration of your brain calling your memory network into action. Alone or with a group, see how well you can follow a racing pattern of lights and sounds until you make a mistake or win.
  • BALANCE ME tests the teamwork between your brain and body. How long can you stay on an unsteady platform before you lose your balance?
  • THE NOSE KNOWS sniffs through a library of different scents and tests how well your brain interprets the smells, from a rose to a skunk.
  • MINDBALL challenges your ability to relax your way to victory. The billions of neurons in your brain talk to each other through electrical pulses — brain waves that are measured in this exhibit with a technology called EEG (electroencephalography) feedback.
  • LIE DETECTOR tests your partner to see if you can fool or will be fooled. But watch out — your brain may release cortisol when you lie, leading to physical reactions like sweating and a rapid heartbeat.   


“As we head into Spring Break, Science City should be on the “must do” list of families across our community and region,” Guastello said.  “Having been recently voted, ‘Favorite Family-Friendly Attraction’ and ‘Best in KC’, we’re not only proud of what Science City means to Kansas City, but especially thrilled to open The Amazing Brain during one of our most-visited times of the year.  The reality is kids are discovering STEM in a way that is fun and memorable when they visit Science City.  That can make a big difference as they progress in their education and the impact even extends into success in their future careers.”


Since the Grandview team won the competition in November 2017, STEM professionals at Burns & McDonnell and Science City have donated more than 3,800 hours on designing, constructing and branding the exhibit. In late 2018, Union Station formalized the science center’s partnership with Burns & McDonnell — renaming it, Science City Powered by Burns & McDonnell. The firm committed to investing up to $3 million more over the next five years, bringing the total investment to more than $8 million. The package promises two more Battle of the Brains competitions, with the first kicking off this fall.


Science City powered by Burns & McDonnell is open seven days a week for spring break including Monday, March 11 and March 18. Admission into the science center is $13.25*/person and Union Station Members visit year-round for free. For a complete list of operating hours and calendar visit Science City will resume normal operating hours: Tuesday – Sunday effective the week of March 24th.  *Excludes $1 preservation fee.

For photos and support materials, please visit our MEDIA KIT.



About Science City

Internationally awarded for “Visitor Experience” by ASTC and regionally awarded in 2017 and 2018 “Favorite Family Friendly Attraction” by Visit KC Visitors Choice Awards, Science City powered by Burns & McDonnell is named one of the country’s TOP 25 science centers. Annually, it educates and entertains hundreds of thousands of science-thirsty children of all ages. Kansas City’s Science Center is THE place for inquisitive young minds to create, explore, and experiment with the BIG world of science through hands-on learning and non-stop fun. Featuring over 200 interactive exhibits and host to countless STEM-based events -- including the annual Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair -- Science City leads the region in recognition from educators, parents, caregivers AND children alike. Continually evolving and always inventing new ways to make science meaningful and fun, Science City has become THE regional destination for families, groups, special events and even “Science City On The Road” outreach. Union Station Members enjoy Science City visits free of charge. To learn more, please visit


About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies made up of more than 6,000 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is proud to be on Fortune’s 2018 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. For more information, visit

Contact:  Michael Tritt


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