Pompeii comes alive: Arizona Science Center stages life-like volcanic eruption

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If you see smoke and flames in the downtown Phoenix sky Thursday, don't panic! It's all apart of a free show going on at the Arizona Science Center. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) If you see smoke and flames in the downtown Phoenix sky Thursday, don't panic! It's all apart of a free show going on at the Arizona Science Center. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Arizona Science Center is staging a life-like recreation of the deadly volcanic eruption that decimated the ancient city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Arizona Science Center is staging a life-like recreation of the deadly volcanic eruption that decimated the ancient city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The free event will take place outside, right in Heritage Square, for one night only. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The free event will take place outside, right in Heritage Square, for one night only. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The immersive experience is all apart of Arizona Science Center's new exhibit, Pompeii: The Exhibition, that runs until May 28. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The immersive experience is all apart of Arizona Science Center's new exhibit, Pompeii: The Exhibition, that runs until May 28. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The exhibit illustrates the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. that ripped through Pompeii and destroyed everything in its path. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The exhibit illustrates the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. that ripped through Pompeii and destroyed everything in its path. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

If you see smoke and flames in the downtown Phoenix sky Thursday, don't panic! It's all apart of a free show going on at the Arizona Science Center.

The Arizona Science Center is staging a life-like recreation of the deadly volcanic eruption that decimated the ancient city of Pompeii in 79 A.D.

The free event will take place outside, right in Heritage Square, for one night only.

The immersive experience is all apart of Arizona Science Center's new exhibit, Pompeii: The Exhibition, that runs until May 28. 

"It was very haunting," said Pam McLeod, who visited the exhibit. "It was almost the closest thing you could possibly experience to what they have gone through."

The exhibit illustrates the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. that ripped through Pompeii and destroyed everything in its path.

"Volcanic eruptions are really fascinating because people are curious about what they don't know about, they're pretty rare," said Sair Custo, the vice president of Exhibits and Collections at the Arizona Science Center.

Dust poured through the city like a flood, 12 feet of ash and hot gas killed thousands while simultaneously preserving and sealing its victims, along with their belongings.

"The people frozen in time really gives you a perspective of what it was like," said Derick McLeod, who visited the exhibit.

To really experience what it was like, the Arizona Science Center will come to life with smoke, lava and fire, exploding from the rooftop on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

"This is a great way to get people excited about earth, science and natural disasters and talk about education related to that," said Custor.

For the special effects, they turned to a local company, Walter Productions.

Walter Productions is known for events like Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy Carnival and the Lost Lake Festival.

"To create a natural experience through technology is super exciting," said Ryan Tucknott with Walter Productions.

To get the best effects possible, they studied the exhibit.

"Some of the challenges are trying to recreate a natural experience in the randomness that nature has," said Tucknott.

Known for their fire and flames, Tucknott said they'll be using state-of-the-art technology from around the world to pull off an eruption of seismic proportions.

"We're really going to be doing an amazing spectacle but in the safest way," said Tucknott.

The evening will include other volcano-themed activities, photo-ops and specialty Pompeii-inspired drinks for guests 21 and over.

While the eruption viewing is free, general admission for the Arizona Science Center and additional activities is $18 for adults and $13 for children. There is an additional cost to enter Pompeii: The Exhibition.

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