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University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital

Minneapolis, MN

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Once inside, the hospital’s unique “Passport to Discovery” theme takes over, guiding children and adults through the facilities with the help of 15 “storytellers”—animal companions chosen for their contributions to our understanding of medicine and biology, such as the sea snail and the tree frog. Each floor of the hospital corresponds to, and is designed to reflect, a specific ecosystem—the deep ocean takes up three underground levels of parking and the first two floors of the hospital, while the grasslands, lakes, rainforest and desert occupy the upper levels. From there, a storyteller occupies various locations on each floor. Patients and adults are encouraged to visit the storyteller, who in turn teaches lessons about their natural environment through graphic and art elements. The patients are given “passports” which are stamped after each lesson, and are encouraged to explore.