Bean’s favorite New York City Museum is still, The “Muzz-ee-um of Matural History.” She has so few malapropisms left, I can’t quite bear to correct that one. So she was pretty thrilled when we headed over to The American Museum of Natural History last week to check out the new exhibit “Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence.” This exhibit, running through January 6, 2013, is glowy and dark and super cool. Bean, at 4 and a half, is a bit young for most of the science, but she was entranced by the glowing mushrooms that met us at the entrance to the exhibit, and she spent a good deal of time speculating about where the fairies were hiding. Also, the museum provides an educational handout with activities appropriate for younger explorers.
The fireflies area was a particular favorite of both of ours. Honestly, I would have loved to have spent more time reading all about these fascinating little…beetles! Yes, I learned fireflies are actually beetles. Cate loved wandering about in the dark, soaking in the glow, and exploring the interactive displays. The ambiance was eerie and phosphorescent but not too scary. Move from a meadow in New England surrounded by fireflies to the Waitomo Cave of New Zealand where glowworms attract their prey and beyond. Super neat. I have no photos of us in the exhibit…because it was too dark! Watch the video and check out the website for more!
And if you’re heading to the museum in the next few months there are lots of neat events coming up! Here are some events and exhibits that are definitely must-sees! The descriptions were provided by the museum–I certainly couldn’t write them better.
July 28–December 2012
For centuries, spiders have inspired storytellers, from Ovid to E. B. White to the creators of the eponymous superhero, but their actual role in diverse ecosystems around the globe is just as captivating. Spiders Alive! immerses visitors in the fascinating and complex world of spiders, among the most versatile animals on the planet: they inhabit every continent but Antarctica and are able to survive in environments that range from deserts to rainforests to crowded cities. Spiders are also important predators. By one estimate, the spiders on one acre of woodland alone consume more than 80 pounds of insects a year. Scientists have identified over 42,000 species of spiders to date, and there are at least as many more to be discovered.
Among the live spiders visitors will encounter in this exhibition are the goliath bird eater, one of the largest spiders in the world, whose prey includes snakes, mice, and frogs; the venomous western black widow, one of the few North American spiders harmful to people; and species from other arachnid orders, including African whip spiders, whose whip-like feelers, up to 10 inches in length, help the animal find its way.
Spiders Alive! will explore spiders’ silk, venom, and little-known defensive mechanisms such as mimicry and noise making. The exhibition will also include larger-than-life models, videos, interactive exhibits, and fossils, and Museum staff will be handling live arachnids for visitors to see up close. Gallery 77, first floor
Mystery at the Museum: An Accomplice Experience (this looks so cool!)
May 26-27, 2012
From the creators of Accomplice, theatrical experiences set on the streets of New York City, Hollywood, and London, comes an exciting new way to explore the American Museum of Natural History for the whole family. Part game, part theater, and part walking tour, Mystery at the Museum is an immersive and unique adventure through the Museum’s halls. Visitors meet characters, follow clues, and solve puzzles as they unravel a tale that takes them through iconic Museum locations and behind-the-scenes areas. Mystery at the Museum is a unique experience sure to engage, entertain, and enchant children and parents alike. Appropriate for ages 10 and up.
Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration
Open through August 12, 2012
Beyond Planet Earth launches visitors into the exciting future of space exploration as it boldly speculates on humanity’s next steps in our solar system and beyond. The exhibition features a full-sized re-creation of a lunar habitat, a model of an elevator reaching up into space, a walk-through diorama of the Martian surface, and challenging interactive simulations. See authentic equipment and models of historic spacecraft from select voyages in the past. Learn about robotic missions that are currently headed deeper and deeper into our own solar system, and what they might reveal. Understand why geologists are so interested in specimens from moons and other planets and what we can learn from them. And explore some possible spectacular missions of the future: mining the Moon, landing on and deflecting a potentially deadly asteroid, or traveling to Mars—and perhaps even establishing colonies there. Is it possible within our lifetime? Will we discover evidence of life, past or present, on another planet? Find out what experts think the future will hold for us beyond planet Earth. Gallery 3, third floor