Come and discover amazing interactive exhibits, extraordinary artworks, hands-on experiments and exciting events which bring the invisible into view, uncovering the interconnectedness of life and the Earth’s environments at every scale.

Our new Invisible Worlds exhibition features:

  • The Centrepiece: an awe-inspiring artwork; one of the largest ceramic sculptures ever created. Standing at over eight metres tall, this remarkable, multi-sensory monument pays homage to one of the world’s smallest organisms that around 3 billion years ago started to produce oxygen and change the face of the Earth forever. Without these cyanobacteria, we would not exist. 
  • The Small, The Vast and The Past: a series of spectacular interactive digital exhibits.
  • Invisible You: The Human Microbiome: an interactive exhibit telling the story of the microbes that form, feed and protect us all.
  • The Play Lab: get physical in this fun and fascinating play area for the young and young at heart.
  • Exhibitions Gallery: home to stunning temporary exhibitions; this year we bring you ‘Glass Microbiology’ and ‘World in a Drop’.    
  • The Rock Garden: our outer terrace exploring the biology of geology.
  • Plus, enjoy a themed café and soft play area for under-fives. 

Find out more about the permanent exhibition

Special opening day programme

  • 9.30–11am and 3.30-6pm: Big It Up Microscopy
    Venue: Lab, Core building
    Our narrator team will be introducing you to a marvellous microscopic world.
  • 12pm: Talk by Dr Joseph Pelton – The sustainability of life on earth: Space and New Ecosystems
    Venue: Citrus Grove, Mediterranean Biome
    Dr Joe Pelton, visiting from the USA, is a space enthusiast, futurist and award-winning author and editor of more than 50 books and over 300 articles in the field of space, satellite communications systems, future technologies and urban planning.

  • 12pm: Talk by Dr Simon Park, Senior Lecturer in Microbiology at the University of Surrey and award-winning artist ‘Exploring the Invisible.’
    Venue: Lab, Core building
    In 2016 Simon was awarded the Wilder Prize for his efforts in the public engagement. Come and join him in discovering the amazing world of the small invisible. Select your own sample and explore it through the lens of the world-class Zeiss microscope.
  • 1pm: Roving performance by Guerilla Science's Mutant Fly Circus
    Roll up, roll up, the Mutant Circus is coming to town! Step right up for your chance to meet the Circus troupe of colourful characters as they showcase their special features and abilities for your entertainment and astonishment. Giants! Hairy marvels! Eyeless wonders! Deformed monstrosities! All are here in the form of... the humble fruit fly. Check out this blog post that previews the performance.

  • 1.30pm: Talk and Q&A by Dr Katie Field: A whistlestop tour of the role of fungi in helping plants get on land, 500 million years ago to the present day. Their roles in modern ecosytems and future sustainable agriculture.'

    Venue: Citrus Grove, Mediterranean Biome
    Dr Katie Field is Associate Professor of the School of Biology at the University of Leeds. She specialises in the interactions between plants and fungi and their applications for sustainable agriculture.
  • 3pm Performance and disco by Guerilla Science’s Mutant Fly Circus


Invisible Worlds is supported by the Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England, the Wolfson Foundation and the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.