Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media
Has anyone ever told you that you look absolutely radiant, that you just glow? Well, you don’t but there are many other living creatures that do.
TAKE AN ILLUMINATING JOURNEY THROUGH CREATURES OF LIGHT A New exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. They light up our lives, but have you ever wondered how? Delve into the world of living things that blink, glow, flash, and flicker in the new exhibition Creatures of Light.
This family oriented exhibit explores the mysterious world of bioluminescence and biofluorescence, from tiny fireflies to strange creatures in the ocean depths. This enlightening experience features larger-than-life models, engaging immersive environments, fun activities, and fungi, minerals, and live animals that get their glow on.
The exhibition is free with general admission.
Creatures of Light reveals some of the most magical, wondrous, and truly extraordinary creatures and phenomena found in the natural world. The ability to generate light is rare among organisms that live on land. It is much more common in the ocean, where up to 90 percent of animals at depths below 700 meters are bioluminescent. Many of these animals have become particularly compelling to scientists because they may hold important clues to essential questions related to biological research.
In Creatures of Light, guests move through a series of re-created environments, from the familiar to the extreme, to explore the variety of ways in which light is used to reproduce, lure unsuspecting prey, or defend against predators.
Peek into the darkness of a New Zealand cave and look up to see twinkling over your head— not from stars but from simulated glowworms. Stroll across an interactive Puerto Rican lagoon as you light up a trail of flashes from tiny “pyrotechnic” plankton. Explore a North American meadow filled with flashing fireflies and try your hand at re-creating their dazzling mating signals.
Marvel at gigantic models of bioluminescent mushrooms, fireflies, and jellyfish. Try a digital coral reef activity that shows how corals fluoresce in shades of pink, orange, and green. Peer into a tank of live GloFish and discover how fluorescence helps detect pollution and contributes to medical research. Put minerals and scorpions from the Museum collections, along with everyday objects, to the test in the new “Does It Glow?” activity.
Throughout the gallery, you will deepen your experience with videos, animations, photographs, and iPads with additional in-depth content. “Anyone who has seen an animal or a mushroom glow cannot help but assume it is something magical. However, science will eventually explain all of it,” said Dr. Frank Krell, the Museum’s entomologist and curatorial advisor for the exhibition.
“The science behind bioluminescence does not explain its enchantment away, rather it makes these phenomena even more fascinating.” Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (amnh.org), in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada; and The Field Museum, Chicago.
The exhibition will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday, June 10. For more information, visit www.dmns.org/creaturesoflight.
About the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region’s leading resource for informal science education. Its mission is to be a catalyst and ignite the community’s passion for nature and science. The Museum offers a wide variety of engaging exhibitions, programs, activities and scientific research to inspire public appreciation and understanding of the wonders of Colorado, Earth and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. Information: dmns.org or 303.370.6000.
Many of the Museum’s educational programs and exhibits are made possible in part by the citizens of the seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. The Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Connect with the Museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the American Museum of Natural History (amnh.org)
The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as galleries for temporary exhibitions. It is home to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, New York State’s official memorial to its 33rd governor and the nation’s 26th president, and a tribute to Roosevelt’s enduring legacy of conservation. The Museum’s five active research divisions and three cross-disciplinary centers support approximately 200 scientists, whose work draws on a world-class permanent collection of more than 34 million specimens and artifacts, as well as specialized collections for frozen tissue and genomic and astrophysical data, and one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, it is the only American museum authorized to grant the Ph.D. degree, and, beginning in 2015, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, the only such freestanding museum program. Annual visitation has grown to approximately 5 million, and the Museum’s exhibitions and Space Shows can be seen in venues on five continents. The Museum’s website, mobile apps, and MOOCs (massive open online courses) extend its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs to additional audiences around the globe. Visit amnh.org for more information.
Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media