Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species
Date: Through January 3, 2016
Over billions of years, living things have evolved from simple cells into an awe-inspiring array of life-forms. Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species explores the diverse and sometimes jaw-dropping strategies animals and plants employ to find food, fend off predators, and thrive in habitats we would find inhospitable, even lethal. This new exhibition features live animals, interactive exhibits, and models, including a climbable Hercules beetle. Life is full of unexpected wonders.
The exhibition, overseen by Curator Mark Siddall, a parasitologist, and Curator John Sparks, an ichthyologist, introduces visitors to bizarre mating calls, extraordinary examples of parasitism and mimicry, and other amazing means of survival, using specimens, videos, interactive exhibits, and models, including a climbable Hercules beetle.
Live animals on display include the surprisingly powerful mantis shrimp; the jet-powered nautilus; and the axolotl, an entirely aquatic salamander that breathes through external gills. Life at the Limits tells the stories of these and many more creatures across the tree of life—and their unusual approaches to the challenges of living on Earth.
The Butterfly Conservatory
Date: Through May 29, 2016
This exhibition, an annual favorite, features up to 500 live,
free-flying tropical butterflies from the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
The butterflies are housed in a vivarium that approximates their natural
habitat, includes live flowering plants that serve as nectar sources,
and features controlled artificial light, temperature, and humidity.
Featured species include iridescent blue morpho butterflies, striking
scarlet swallowtails, and large owl butterflies. Text panels located
immediately outside the vivarium offer information about the evolution
and life cycle of butterflies, including explanations of mimicry,
diversity, and butterflies’ important role in conservation.
Countdown to Zero
Date: Through January 2, 2017
The challenges of eliminating devastating diseases are enormous, but
successful strategies can bring about colossal social and economic
benefits. Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease, a new exhibition about
scientific and social innovations that are ridding the world of ancient
afflictions, developed in collaboration with The Carter Center, focuses
on several global efforts that have been able to contain, eliminate, or
eradicate disease. Chief among these is the 30-year campaign that may
soon eradicate Guinea worm disease, positioning it to become only the
second human disease ever eradicated, after smallpox. The exhibition
also highlights the ongoing programs to eliminate polio and prospects
for more localized elimination of river blindness, lymphatic filariasis,