Posted by: COSI | August 2, 2010

I had always heard, now I believe

Adventure was closed before I even interviewed here back in 2005. Yet I heard as soon as I joined the team here that many people loved Adventure and they often were asked at the front desk about when it might be re-opened.

I didn’t know where the lights are in Adventure and certainly didn’t want to stumble around in the dark, so it wasn’t until we started discussing the possibility of using it for special member and camp-in occasions did I even get a chance to step inside this very different experience we’d built into COSI. It was impressive, but still left me wondering as to how it worked with guests.

People kept telling me that there were Adventure enthusiast that came over and over to learn the various and increasingly complicated secrets, moving from one level to another. I still wondered how prevalent that was –a group of gamers who latched onto it or a broad group of our guests.

The idea of an area that encouraged the “process” of science by asking questions, testing hypotheses, and learning as they guest proceeded was different and appealing to me. But there was still the cost of staffing, refreshing, and reawakening the experience.

As we continue to revitalize, refresh, and reopen sections of COSI, we finally got to the point of giving serious consideration to Adventure. We’d been trying it out with special events and groups, but I still hadn’t seen Adventure in action. Our management team decided the time was right to give the space another chance with a slightly different business model and tapping the thespian talents on our team for staffing. We agreed on a twelve month trial to assure a full year cycle of opportunities.

The public “sneak previews” just started and I finally came into the space at the back of a group to get a feel for the experience. Watching guests dance to the opening intro on request gave me an inkling that they were getting into the moment. The door opened and the group quickly moved into the maze of exploration areas and started their quests.
I hung back, watching, moving from area to area observing the intent way in which couples or families were going about each activity and test. I saw a space that had open doors and a few people in it. I wandered in behind them only to have the statures almost immediately jump into action and the doors close. So it was a little hard not to talk with the two fellows in the space with me. They turned out to be a father and his son in his young 20’s. And I’m glad I did start talking with them.

They stood there with flashlights and notebooks in hand, proceeding to explain that when the son was thirteen, along with his 11 year old brother, they came over and over to Adventure. With their flashlight they found inscriptions, kept notes to decode them, tested their guesswork, and over the course of the year cracked the codes and moved to different levels.

The father, who turned out to be a physician, shared that when they saw the news that Adventure was going to be re-opened, they had to come down and reengage with the experience. They intended to come back with family to explore again as well as see Titanic. They had dropped their membership after Adventure had been closed, but now they were looking at becoming members again.

I was flabbergasted—here I was talking to one of the devotees I’d heard about on my first random walk through the experience along with our guests. Odds are that there were others here that day—first-come first-served tickets were gone within an hour of opening.
OK—I have to go follow another group, but I’m starting to become a believer—Adventure certainly has its own special experience qualities.

Do you have memories of Adventure?
Have you come to one of the Preview Days? Are you planning to come on August 3, 8 or 15th for one of those previews? I’d love to have your feedback on us re-opening Adventure this September. Are you going to come back and pick up the codes where you left off?



  1. As far back as I can remember my family and I had gone to COSI as often as my sisters, cousins, friends and I could drag our families there (it really was never that difficult) What an experience! The old COSI amazed me as a kid and I will never forget the play dates and company picnics we went on there. When the new COSI opened I was sad at loosing those old memories and not being able to share them with my kids, but upon the reopening I was thrilled! It blew me away, the different exhibits and rooms, especially Adventure. It was my favorite, and I have missed it immensely these last few years. I would love to be able to share that wonderful, frightening and witty experience with my own family some day and hope that in the near future it is reopened so my own children can have great memories as I do of that magnificent place!

  2. I first got to see adventure last year when I was attending a teacher class at COSI. I was teaching 8th grade math and science. (This is also my second career – I was a pharmacist for 20 years…) One of the things that my students are unwilling to do in a school setting is problem solving. Adventure is the most wonderful thing I have seen in a long time, and I wanted to bring my students there so they can see problem solving in a new light. When it was announced on TWITTER last month, I immediately wanted to know how to bring my sixth grade girls to adventure (I now teach at the new CCS girls school) so we can work on problem solving in a fun enviroment with so many challenges. I cannot wait to see it on tommorrow on Teacher Day, and put together a proposal for my principal and co-teacher.

  3. We were allowed in for about two hours about a year ago. We loved it so much, we took pictures so we could decode stuff while we couldn’t be there. We are looking forward to coming back and making sense of it all. We’re hoping L’lala still thinks we’re worthy seekers. The sooner the better, but we can’t make the preview days. Can’t wait until it opens at a time we can come. (We’ve been checking the calendar for months!)

  4. I’m glad to hear that we’re finding a ready audience to take advantage of the special experience that Adventure adds to the COSI array of resources. I’ll look for more feedback as we reopen it for a trial year September 18.

  5. THANK YOU for reopening Adventure! My teenage daughters and I solved Level 2 last summer during the Adventure workshops and returned on the August 8th preview day so their friend could finish Level 2 as well. It was great to see the other Adventure geeks working on Level 2! We hadn’t been COSI members for some time, but were so excited about Adventure’s reopening that we signed up for a membership. Great job promoting Level 2 at the exit. How about a Level 3?

  6. My grandma had just gotten better from being sick, and her, my cousins, brother, aunt and i went to Cosi in 2004. We will never forget adventure!! After we worked as a family to crack the codes, we ended up at the observatory. There was something amiss and we went in after the group in front of us was coming out before putting the code in. Well, my grandma, cousin and i were in the observatory, my aunt, brother and other cousin on the outside as the doors were closing resetting for the next group to put the code in (which was supposed to be us). But we had the map in the observatory with us!! So in a true Indiana Jones moment, we threw the map to our family waiting at the code box so they could put the code back in to open the conservatory. While we were waiting in the dark we could hear the crowd on the other side cheering for our truely movie inspired moves. Some of our best family memories that we always remember now that my grandma is gone.

    • Stephanie–that is such a touching story–sorry I just saw it now. Hope the memories are still as strong and comforting.


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