As parents we tend to forget that our kids are essentially little sponges, ready to soak up whatever we choose to expose them to. Case in point, my 8-year-old son, who clearly is watching too many infomercials, told me, â€œMommy, we need to buy Oxi-Clean in case I get a grape juice stain on my shirt.â€
And my 12-year-old has professed her aspirations to be a contestant on ABCâ€™s â€œThe Bachelor.â€
These admissions are forcing me to re-evaluate the images I clearly am not making enough of an effort to expose them to, to help offset images of unsavory characters. Ultimately, what we do or donâ€™t do as parents will determine whether our kids are content to take their cultural cues from MTV shows or to explore the meaning behind a classic Monet painting. That being said, living in New York City â€” a place where culture, history and pursuits other than watching the tube are everywhere â€” all we need to do is make it a priority to avail our families to these events.
And this is why you and your kids should RUN not walk to Frogs: A Chorus of Colors and an engaging, dynamic exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History that features more than 150 live frogs, including ten species of colorful dart-poison frogs.
Here’s a little preview:
On view from May 18, 2013, through January 5, 2014, the exhibition explores the diverse world of these complex amphibians by introducing visitors to their biology and evolution, their importance to ecosystems, and the threats they face in the wild. Representing approximately 25 species from around the world, the frogs on display at the Museum range in size from the tiny phantasmal dart-poison frog (which is less than an inch long) to the enormous African bullfrog (which can be as big as 8 inches in length). Highlights of this year include the Mexican dumpy frog from semi-arid subtropical lowland forests in Mexico and the tomato frog, which is native to the lowlands of Madagascar.
Each frog is shown in a re-creation of its natural habitat that features realistic landscaping and organic materials. Interactive stations throughout the hall invite visitors to test their knowledge about frogs, study recorded frog calls, view videos of frogs in the wild, learn how a frogâ€™s anatomy allows it to out-jump Olympic athletes, and explore the stages of a frogâ€™s life cycle from egg to tadpole to full-grown adult.
The exhibition features the latest research findings about frogs, reflecting ongoing work by scientists in the Museumâ€™s renowned Department of Herpetology and their collaborators. It also includes a five-minute video that introduces the global extinction crisis amphibians currently face as a result of threats that include habitat loss, pollution, climate change, over-collection, emerging diseases, and the widespread chytrid fungus.
The centerpiece of the exhibitionâ€”a large dart-poison frog vivariumâ€”showcases more than 80 dart-poison frogs, including bumblebee poison frogs, Bastimentos strawberry poison frogs, blue poison frogs, green-leg poison frogs, and CampaÃ±a poison frogs.
Dart-poison frogs are so named because the EmberÃ¡, people indigenous to the ChocÃ³ region of northwestern Colombia, rub their blow darts along the backs of the frogs. Dart-poison species concentrate toxins in the ants and other insects they eat into far more potent secretionsâ€”a single golden poison frog contains enough poison to kill 20,000 mice or 10 humans. (The frogs in the exhibition, which were bred in captivity, have been fed a diet that lacks poisonous compounds, making them harmless.)
The vivarium enclosure is equipped with cameras placed at two different viewing stations that allow visitors to focus on individual frogs. A soundscape featuring the calls of more than 20 species fills this area with some of the most unusual and bizarre vocalizations made by these amphibians. American and African bullfrogs, Brazilian milk frogs, ornate horned frogs, African clawed frogs, and fire-bellied toads are among the other species featured in Frogs (see full list of featured species below).
Frogs presents up-to-date information on frogs and other amphibians, much of which is derived directly and indirectly from the rich legacy of herpetological and evolutionary research at the Museum. Museum scientists continually contribute to the reclassification of what are now counted to be 54 families and 6,200 species of frogs, shedding greater light on the evolution and diversity of frogs. Studies have shown that amphibians (of which frogs make up 88 percent) are on the decline worldwide. Nearly one-third of the worldâ€™s amphibian species are threatened, compared to 13 percent of birds and almost 21 percent of mammals. Moreover, at least 34 amphibian species are known to be extinct and as many as 104 more may also be gone. Of the threats facing these animals, habitat loss and degradation is by far the most severe, affecting nearly 2,000 species worldwide. All frogs displayed in the exhibition have been bred in captivity in order to protect wild populations. For a list of all theÂ Â Species Featured in Frogs: A Chorus of Colors click here:
And of course don’t forget to visit all the other incredibleÂ amnh.orgÂ while you are there:
Hours The Museum is open daily, 10 amâ€“5:45 pm. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Admission Museum admission is free to all New York City school and camp groups.
Suggested general admission, which supports the Museumâ€™s scientific and educational endeavors and offers access to the Museumâ€™s 46 halls including the Rose Center for Earth and Space, is $19 (adults) suggested, $14.50 (students/seniors) suggested, $10.50 (children) suggested. All prices are subject to change.
The Museum offers discounted combination ticket prices that include suggested general admission plus special exhibitions, IMAX films, and Space Shows.
Museum Plus One includes one special exhibition, IMAX film, or Space Show: $25 (adults), $19 (students/seniors), $14.50 (children)
Museum Supersaver includes all special exhibitions, IMAX film, and Space Show: $33 (adults), $25.50 (students/seniors), $20.50 (children)
Visitors who wish to pay less than the suggested Museum admission and also purchase a ticket to attend a special exhibition, IMAX film, or Space Show may do so on-site at the Museum. To the amount they wish to pay for general admission, they add $22 (adults), $18 (students/seniors), or $12 (children) for a Space Show, special exhibition, or IMAX film.
For additional information, the public may call 212-769-5100 or visit the Museumâ€™s website at amnh.org.
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