See the Science Behind Pixar at Telus World of Science!

Say “Pixar” and you’ll probably find us at the movie theatre. We’ve seen every Pixar movie every made and own most of them too. So when I saw a poster with a huge Sully on it hanging from the side of the Telus World of Science, I was interested. Did we want to take a peek inside the Science Behind Pixar? Oh yeah!

Take a peek inside the Science Behind Pixar at Telus World of Science in Vancouver until January 6, 2019.


I received complimentary admission for my family to the Telus World of Science and the Science Behind Pixar Feature Exhibition for this review; all opinions expressed are my own.

Pairing science with favourite movies is a great way to help children learn more about so many different concepts. From math to modeling to stop motion animation, there was a ton to explore in this interactive, exciting exhibit. All our girls, from two-year-old Pearl up to ten-year-old Sunshine, enjoyed finding out more about what went into the making of their favourite films.

Two girls explore the science behind Pixar.

Admission to the Science Behind Pixar Feature Exhibition happens every fifteen minutes. I found this helped control the crowds, which is great if you’re there with a bunch of kids. We saw a cute movie introducing us to Pixar and the exhibit. Then we were free to explore the gallery. I wanted to go through it in an orderly fashion, but my girls had soon scattered in every direction to check out their favourite film characters. (Thankfully Joey was attached to me and sleeping soundly!)

So, while trying to keep an eye on Pearl at least, I explored myself. One things I found fascinating was just how a Pixar movie goes from idea to finished product—Pixar’s Production Pipeline. With posts and movie snippets, this display used Inside Out to provide examples of the whole process.

The Pixar Production Pipeline

Sunshine had fun playing with the stop motion animation. She created a very detailed, 75-frame stop-motion animation of the iconic Pixar lamp. I was amazed by her patience! Jade helped her press the button to take each picture when she had adjusted the lamp’s position. We’ve also clearly seen enough Pixar movies that she knew exactly how to position the lamp for its leap… including turning it to the audience at the end.

Sunshine creates a stop-motion animation of the iconic Pixar lamp.

The girls also got to pose with some of their favourite Pixar characters, including Dory, Buzz Lightyear, and Wall-E. Each figure was life-size (or larger than life!) and very detailed. Jade loved “shaking hands” with Wall-E.

Jade meets Wall-E at the Pixar Exhibition at the Telus World of Science.

Our biggest question in taking our girls to museums or exhibits is, of course, what they are going to get out of it. Especially for the younger girls. I knew Sunshine and Lily would be into the Science Behind Pixar. Both of them can read, so they were able to tour the exhibits, read the posters, and follow the instructions.

There were a lot of hands-on activities that five-year-old Jade could do without reading, such as computer manipulations that showed how simple changes affect a movie, building a robot, stop-motion animation, and movie interviews with various Pixar employees about their jobs. She did a most of the activities with her older sisters or with my husband and I.

Lily adjusts the computer animation rules to create a field of grass in the Pixar exhibit at the Telus World of Science.

What did two-year-old Pearl think of the Science Behind Pixar? Well, there were plenty of buttons for her to press, stools for her to climb on, and movies for her to watch… even if she had no idea what she was doing! My husband and I took turns keeping one eye on her, or trying to find some new buttons for her to play with, so that we could also take in the exhibit. (She’s our busy, independent child, so I had to read exhibits fast while following her around!)

A toddler watches a Pixar interview at the Science Behind Pixar Exhibit.

I’d give your family a couple hours to tour the entire Science Behind Pixar Exhibition. With twenty films and twenty-three years of animation under their belts, Pixar has a lot to share! I never realized how much goes into making an animated film. The exhibit shows various hurdles that Pixar has encountered with each film they’ve made, and how they’ve overcome those problems (like Sully’s fur or Merida’s hair).

Sunshine builds a robot in the Science Behind Pixar exhibit at Telus World of Science.

The Science Behind Pixar is at the Telus World of Science in Vancouver until January 6, 2019. Ticket upgrade to access the exhibition is $8. If you have a Telus World of Science Membership, you can get a Pixar membership for $19. Check out #ScienceOfPixarSW on social media to see what other viewers are saying about the exhibit! Visit the Science World website for more details or to plan your visit.

The Science Behind Pixar

Kid-friendly? YES! All of our girls enjoyed this exhibit, though I’d say that the older three (ages 5-10) probably got the most out of it. Jade (who doesn’t read yet) needed help with most of the activities while the older girls were able to explore independently.

Baby-friendly? Yes; I had Joey in my baby carrier but we also took our stroller through the exhibit. There was plenty of room to move the stroller (though this may be harder on a weekend or busier day). The washrooms at Telus World of Science do have baby change tables and there’s a nursing mother’s room in the Wonder gallery (near the Pixar Exhibit) if you need to sneak away for a bit (get a hand stamp so you can return).

What’s your favourite Pixar film? What would you like to know about the science behind Pixar?

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