We love the Natural History Museum! In addition to all their other fun permanent exhibits, they always have at least one traveling exhibit that rotates out and they recently invited us to check out their current display. Right now they are featuring Geckos Live, all the way from Clyde Peeling's Reptiland in Pennsylvania. You can always tell what their current exhibit is because they decorate the foyer area accordingly and this time was no exception. In addition to all the gecko decals spread throughout the museum, they offered the kids a little brochure with a scavenger hunt featuring each one that they could hunt for and locate throughout the day. Some were obviously pretty easy to locate, while others took a little more effort, but in the end all my kids found each one of them and were able to turn their papers in at the end and received a couple of cool gecko tattoos.
The actual exhibit is basically exactly what it sounds like, an entire space dedicated to Geckos. Not only was there a wealth of information that I never even knew, but there were TONS of fun different types of geckos. The kids favorite thing about the display was that at every live animal display there was a little sticker on the glass that showed how many geckos were inside that habitat and they had a blast counting them and trying to find all of the little camouflaged creatures.
We learned so many cool facts! My kids had heard that geckos can regrow their tails, but we never realized that their tales are were they store all of their converted excess food and water. In other words, they have to be pretty desperate to drop their tales, because it leaves them without any stored energy.
There was a sweet girl there from Reptiland that was traveling with the exhibit and was even kind enough to take out their New Caledonian Giant Gecko and let all the little kids pet it. I was excited for my kids to have that opportunity because I remember thinking for a long time that geckos were like salamanders and were amphibians and I distinctly remember being surprised as a kid to learn that they were actually dry, scaly reptiles.
We also got to sneak a behind the scenes look in the back where they place any eggs that they happen to find in the displays and monitor them until they hatch. They basically looked like tiny little rocks, and we learned that when they lay them they are actually slightly soft and sticky so that they can adhere to the edge of a tree, or wherever they end up, then they quickly harden. At that point it is apparently quite difficult to get them off!
At the end of the gecko exhibit there was a small area about Pigeon Genetics, which I assume is maybe to get people excited about their next rotating exhibit, Genome, which is all about genetics and DNA. This little display demonstrated different traits that all the varieties of pigeons have, and my older two (ages 7 and 9) spent a good amount of time playing a little breeding game to try and breed two pigeons to create certain characteristics in the offspring. It was a way cooler way to introduce the concept of dominate and recessive genes than the lame brown eye, green eye tables I remember filling in as a kid in school! While they played the breeding game, my two little ones (ages 2 and 4) took turns dressing up in an array of little pigeon costumes and running around flapping their wings.
Both the pigeon display and the geckos leave May 1st, so be sure to stop by before then if you want to see those, or we are really looking forward to checking out their Genome exhibit running through the summer, May 21st through September 5th.
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