Review: Creatures of Light Exhibit – AMNH

Having recently visited one of Puerto Rico’s Bio Bays, we were excited to see the American Museum of Natural History’s newest exhibit, Creatures of Light.

What we learned:

-Male fireflies use their light to attract females, and answer her flash by pointing his toward her for full effect.

-The male firefly lantern may be 10 times larger than the female’s.

-Fireflies may only have 2 weeks to reproduce, so don’t hold onto it for long!

-Firefly larva live in the ground and live fireflies spend the daytime hours in the grass.

-Bioluminscence is the light caused by a living organism, through a chemical reaction. It’s cold light, though, not hot light that we’re used to. They’re part plant and part animal.

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-Dinoflagellates (the organisms in bio bays) have been around 1.2 billion years – older than dinosaurs!

-These dinoflagellates know when it’s day time and can stop emitting light again until night.

-80% of all billuminscent groups are in the ocean. No flowers, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians or mammals glow, but there are bioluminscent fungi and insects.

-In the Waitomo Caves of New Zealand (hubby and visited there on our honeymoon), glowworms (which are larva) living on the cave ceiling spin out sticky threads that not only glow (and glow more when they’re hungry), they attract/trap food.

-Grown up glowworms from this cave are fungus gnats.

What the kids liked: They liked mimicking the firefly call/response pattern with flashlights provided in the exhibit. They liked walking through the mock “bio bay” where the light pooled around their feet with motion, and they liked looking at the Waitomo mock cave with glowing lights. They also enjoyed the film at the end, which showed glowing fish.

The downside: there were a few interactive elements in the exhibit, but not much that was “real.” It was mostly models.

If you Go:

Just a warning that it’s very dark in the exhibit. Admission is timed. We spent maybe 30-45 minutes in the exhibit.

Ticket prices for Creatures of LightMuseum members can see Creatures of Light for free. If you have a corporate membership, the cost is $12.50/adult or $8/child for Creatures of Light admission.

If you’re not a member, a combined ticket (museum entrance and Creatures of Light admission) are $25/adult, $14.50/child, $19/senior, $19/student. If you buy online there’s an additional $2/person fee.

Supersaver tickets, which include Journey to the Stars, Butterflies, Beyond Earth and Creatures of Light are $33/adult, $20.50/child,  and $25.50/senior or student.