The Clark Planetarium’s gift store is selling stuffed microbes. They are colorful stuff toys in the shapes of different molecules and diseases… some of them the sexually transmitted kind such as Chlamydia, clap and HPV.
Some parents and grandparents tell ABC4 they're shocked to see the toys available for all ages to see saying it could prompt uncomfortable questions. “I usually direct those conversations with my daughter, but being that I would be here with my grandchildren that would a little uncomfortable,” said Sue Lopez.
But asking questions not just about STDs but about all microbes is the point, according to the Seth Jarvis, the director of the Planetarium.
“All children are naturally born scientist and if it may be uncomfortable for us for the kids they just want to know why the molecules have different shapes,” he said.
The Planetarium hasn't received any complaints from parents about the toys, but the director says he'd consider all feedback.
“I think this is just a matter of how severely do you restrict your children's exposure to the world around them,” said Jarvis. “We're not advocating anything any more than the chemistry sets here are advocating how to make bombs.”