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The Tactile-Dome

By Katie S.

     It was Saturday morning at the Exploratorium. I was with my friends Luke, Gijeong, and his mom. We were waiting in line for the Tactile-Dome in the Exploratorium. The Exploratorium has a lot of cool inventions that you get to explore. I was as excited as someone about to open a Christmas present on Christmas Day!

     I looked around at the people standing in line. Some people were nervous, some were excited, and at least one person hadn’t done it before. To tell the truth, it was me that was pretty nervous about the Tactile-Dome.

     While we waited, we saw a black pump, we went over and pumped it and smoke or air came out. A few minutes later, a man wearing an Exploratorium Staff shirt came by, but we were having so much fun, we didn’t notice him approach.

     Suddenly, Gijeong’s mom said, “It’s time! Come on!” We all jumped at the sound of her voice, but we all recovered from our scare and ran to meet her.

     When the man walked up to us, he said, “My name is Steve. Come on in to the Tactile-Dome.” He unlocked the door with a click, and we all ran in.

     When we all sat down on the cushioned seat, Steve explained how the Tactile-Dome worked. “The dome is all black, so you have to use your sense of feeling to move around,” he said. Steve also asked if anyone had done the Tactile-Dome before so the people could demonstrate how move around in the Tactile-Dome. Since Gijeong’s mom had done it before, she raised her hand. She was the only one who had done it before, so we had to go first.

     Steve told us to take our belongings and put them in some cubby holes. After we did, my group went up to the stand so we could get started. Steve told us to crawl through a tunnel, and we did, appearing in a black tunnel. Luke was in front me, and I was after him, then Gijeong was behind me, and his mom followed behind. I was feeling less and less nervous because I had my friends with me.

     We kept crawling forward, then boom! There was a stop so suddenly that we bumped into each other. It made me scream, “Ahh!” Then I noticed it was just Luke. We all went searching frantically for another tunnel.

     Then Luke yelled, “I found a tunnel!” We all went to find him. Once we all found Luke, we started up again. I didn’t want to lose Luke, so I held onto his sock. There were a couple more tunnels that we bumped into. But once, instead of going into another tunnel, we were on a net or rope that we had to climb over. It was really fun but also hard. We could not see, but we could still feel our way.

     After we went over the rope there was a tunnel that we climbed through and there were lights with arrows pointing. We went that way, but after a few minutes, we noticed that we were just going in a circle! We were lost! We all searched frantically again for the tunnel. It was so nerve wracking trying to find it! There were so many traps in the Tactile-Dome!

     Eventually I yelled, “I found it!” I felt good because I hadn’t found one in a long time. We all climbed through the tunnel, and then we ended on a huge and fast slide. Whoosh! We landed in a small pod of balls. We climbed through the little tunnel and we were back to where we started with Steve! I felt good and energetic.

     There was was some cheering and then Steve said, “We have to get going. Good job today! Come again soon!” Then we left. When we had left, I thought, “If I didn’t have my friends here, I would be scared out of my mind.” “I had so much fun! I was nervous but was glad I tried something new.