Round and round

The Science Museum takes patrons on a fantastic voyage through IMAX cinema.

Imagine entering a space-time machine that could transport you to places and eras that were otherwise no closer than your dreams. Through the magic of IMAX technology, Omnifest 2004 gives audiences the opportunity to experience their dreams during waking hours.

The Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omnifest 2004 features six larger-than-life films that demonstrate the dynamic power of the world’s biggest film format through stunning footage of nature and history narratives.

To achieve the extra-large picture, Omni movies are shot on film that is ten times the size of normal movies and use an extremely stable hi-definition system to project onto a nine-story wide dome screen. The theater also makes use of a multi-channel sound system that immerses the viewer in the experience.

The Science Museum’s Omnitheater opened at its present location in St. Paul in December 1999.

Mike Day, the Omnitheater’s director, produced “Ring of Fire,” one of the movies showing this month. He said that in the past 25 years, the Science Museum has produced and distributed 11 films.

“Ring of Fire” takes audiences on a tour of the world’s most active volcanic ring, located around the Pacific Ocean. This film, which took seven years to make, has spectacular footage of miners gathering sulfur from the rim of an active volcano, the birth of a new volcano in Chile and the grand eruptions of Mount St. Helens and Sakurajima in Japan.

The most popular film playing at the festival is “Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West,” which was produced by National Geographic Television. Day said this film highlights National Geographic’s forte, using “historical detail and accuracy, and humanizing the history.” “Lewis and Clark” journeys back in time 200 years to join the 8,000 mile-long expedition of Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea through the uncharted American lands.

“Alaska: Spirit of the Wild” is a visual excursion into the wilderness of the northern most state; with superb footage of the aurora borealis and the animals that make this brutal landscape their home.

The film “The Living Sea” “celebrates the beauty and diversity of the sea,” Day said. This film is narrated by Meryl Streep, features the music of Sting and was produced by the makers of “Everest,” the most popular Omnitheater movie ever to show at the Science Museum.

“Africa: The Serengeti” follows up-close the migration patterns of wildebeests, zebras and antelope, and the predators that pose a constant threat to them during this dangerous yearly exodus. There is amazing footage of the perils the herds face, like crossing a crocodile-infested river.

“To the Limit” is a tribute to the endurance and strength of the human body, with exceptional endoscopic footage of the internal workings of the body that allow athletes to push themselves ever further.

Omnifest 2004 allows moviegoers to experience up-close the inspiring and extraordinary multiplicity of places and events that are present in far-flung corners of the Earth from the comfort of their own community.