Monday, November 8, 2010
Exhibit review: Discover Reptiles and Other Critters at Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas
The exhibit was full of gross-you-out facts -- a major hit with the kids.
FAIR PARK Children naturally gravitate towards all things creepy and crawly; this would include my 6 year old son who is a certified critter lover. On Saturday, the Reptiles and Other Critters exhibit at Discovery Days at the Museum of Nature and Science gave kids a opportunity to get up close and personal with a few of those fun, flying, swimming, and slimy creatures of the great outdoors.
The greatest learning experience was the scavenger hunt, where kids had to note facts about each critter featured.
Upon entry, the Texas Honeybee Guild seemed to attract the adults as well as the kids. A live hive of buzzing bees, along with a fact-filled front man, kept the kids' attention for a record five minutes. Looking for the queen bee seemed to be the most magnetizing while we got up-close-and-personal with the bees without feeling the repercussions.
We got to see educational examples of live creatures at Wildlife on the Move Game Show and the Fort Worth Zoo. The Heard Museum also provided an opportunity to invade the personal royal space of a king snake.
Bug Eyes in 3-D was a popular stop along the way. Using 3-D glasses, kids were able to get a microscopic view of a bug’s eye. High up on the scale of the gross-out factor, they were also able to use cool kaleidoscope-like lenses to see exactly what a bugs sees.
There were more ewws than ahhs as the youngsters learned the difference between herbivore and carnivore scat. This was a big hit with my son; he never passes up the opportunity to learn more gross-you-out facts. The learning activity, Whose Scat is That?, offered the opportunity to distinguish various droppings of animal scat by providing poop-like plastic examples.
In the nature building, kids crowded around the varieties of spattering turtles and tortoises. Splashing in water or munching on broccoli, the bashfully bumpy, rough reptiles were the center of attention. Subject matter experts from the DFW Turtle and Tortoise Club were on hand to gives helpful hints in handling and ownership of the shelled creatures.
Our last stop of the day was Color-Changing Chameleons, where patient volunteers from the Junior League of Dallas helped little hands bead and form cool chameleon key chains. The fascinating fact that chameleons change colors was brought to life when my son stepped outside into the sunlight and the clear beads changed to a very cool purple hue.
Two hours after entering the Museum of Nature and Science, as we left behind the land of learning moments, my son recounted fun facts he learned and was anxious to know when we would return to the museum again. The whole experience was well worth the time for reptile and critter lovers of all ages.
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