Street Smart Chicago

Museum review: In the Dark

Lincoln Park, Museums Add comments

Just across the hall from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s illustrious butterflies, darkness rules supreme. It is “In the Dark,” an exhibit dedicated to the slithering, flying, swimming creatures of the night. The space is broken up by environment: the darkness of the deep sea, the desert, caves, forests and the underground. Life-sized nature models are akin to three-dimensional “Where’s Waldo”s; guests are encouraged to spot the stuffed flying squirrel, the sidewinder snake, the cave crayfish or the katydid. To make up for a lack of live fauna, “In the Dark” is jam-packed with kinesthetic games and puzzles. Guests learn about bat sonar by attempting to navigate a dark cave using only echoes, or balance atop a wobbling platform to learn about the statocysts of jellyfish. Match the Morse-code-like patterns of fireflies with their corresponding species. Catch a rat using infrared receptors via a rattlesnake hand puppet. Each interactive activity is linked by a common theme: a phenomenal ability to evolve, to develop heightened senses and compensate for a world without sight. (Laura Hawbaker)

“In the Dark” runs at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 North Cannon Drive, through January 11, 2009.

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