INsite Magazine

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Tropical Adventure at the Florida Museum of Natural History

You might think you don't have the time or money for an exotic adventure, but that's not the case. Starting tomorrow (Oct. 3) the Florida Museum of Natural History will open its new "Amazon Voyage" exhibit, which promises to take you out of Gainesville and straight into the most far-flung South American rainforest system.

The exhibit, which was created by the Miami Science Museum, has had its moment at prestigious museums, such as Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History in Pittsburgh and the Smithsonian in D.C., before coming to UF.

"We are so pleased that we were able to bring an exhibit of this caliber," says Doug Noble, head of exhibits and public programs at the museum. "It's a real treat people need to take advantage of."

"Amazon Voyage" opens tomorrow with a full-day of activities for all ages. From 10am to 4pm the museum will host a fossil station, wall shadow art and talks on the life of the Amazonians. The exhibit itself is set up around a "Seven Perils of the Amazon" theme, which takes attendants face-to-face with some of the scariest creatures in the world; anacondas, electric eels and crocodiles are all explored throughout the exhibit.

"The exhibit has a very enjoyable and playful nature, and it offers a lot of solid information." Doug says. " I think people are going to be surprised by how much there is to be learned. How many people know there are over 30 species of piranhas?"

Doug, who has taken various trips to the Amazon and has fished for and eaten piranha ("It's delicious!" he says), first fell in love with the exhibit when he saw in it Miami. He is most impressed by the exhibit's visual aspects.

"It's got some real playful, colorful and theatrical elements," he says. "The artist did a fantastic job with illustrations."

The exhibit was chosen not only to entertain, but also to raise awareness of the real dangers facing the Amazons and what can be done about it.

"The Amazons has the largest number of species in the world," Doug says. "We hope this well help people understand we need to do everything we can to preserve the rainforest.

"Amazon Voyage" opens tomorrow and will run though January 17. The cost is $9.50 for adults, $8 for Florida residents and $5 for children.

—Stephanie Granada

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