A sneak peek inside COSI's newest exhibition

We're just back from a sneak preview of COSI's big new event: The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes.

The exhibition opens tomorrow, Feb. 8, and runs through Sept. 1, and it's a fascinating way to sneak some science and deductive reasoning into your kid's mental diet.

It does start a little slow with some expository displays about Arthur Conan Doyle, the author who created the Sherlock Holmes character, then moves into a room of stations that set you up for doing detective work later (learning about topics like botany, cosmetics, ballistics, to name a few).

Then you get to the good stuff: A crime scene in a Victorian London living room. You have to make careful observations about the scene, then test those observations in some pretty ingenious ways to then come up with the who, how and why of the crime.

As with any good Sherlock book or episode, you probably won't solve the crime yourself, but the solution is very creative and satisfying to learn. The last part of the exhibit features props and photos from various TV and film Sherlocks, and there is a well-stocked gift shop where you can definitely score some very cool swag for the Sherlock fiends in your life.

Given that the exhibit costs extra ($6 for COSI members, $8 for non-members on top of regular admission charges), you may want to leave the really young kids out of a visit. This is fairly cerebral stuff. But I would say kids from about Grade 5 and up will get a kick out of it - as will the grown-ups.

For more information, go to www.cosi.org.