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Newest Frost Science exhibit sheds light on things that glow | Video

Jennifer Jhon
Contact ReporterSouth Florida Parenting

The wonders of often-unseen, glow-in-the-dark creatures are at the heart of a new exhibit at the Frost Museum of Science in downtown Miami.

“Creatures of Light,” now open in the Hsiao Family Special Exhibition Gallery at the Frost, delights in giving guests a different look at what is right before them, showing off the glorious new shape and color of things viewed under black light.

The exhibit opens with glowing mushrooms and the most familiar form of luminescence: fireflies. A giant firefly — which is actually a beetle, not a fly — hangs from the ceiling above the display.

There are different species of fireflies all over the world, and they use their lights to communicate, said Skip Uricchio, the director of animal husbandry at the Frost.

Guests can learn to speak firefly at an interactive station by initiating the flashing of a female, and the male will respond, Uricchio said.

Other interactives include iPads with videos and clickable maps that allow guests to learn more about firefly populations throughout the world.

Such iPad stations are used throughout “Creatures of Light” to add videos and other education elements to the exhibit. Information signs are also plentiful, most lit from within and anchored near the floor to keep the lighting low and optimize the exhibit experience.

In two of the coolest elements of the exhibit, guests can pop their heads into a bioluminescent cave, modeled after the New Zealand caves that are lighted by glowworms, and walk through a bioluminescent river to watch the glowing diatoms follow their movements.

Farther down the path, guests can light up sections of a coral reef mural with white and fluorescent lights to see the difference.

“Creatures of Light” does an excellent job of connecting elements of nature, such as glowing jellyfish, with more familiar objects, such as glow-in-the-dark toys.

It also introduces some deep-sea creatures that use bioluminescence to their advantage.

Guests can see a tank full of Splitfin flashlight fish, which use lights to communicate as fireflies do, and models of creatures that use lights as a lure.

The angler fish seen in “Finding Nemo” is probably the most well-known, but the vampire squid is the most intimidating, with huge, red eyes and tentacles like a cape that glow red on the ends to attract food.

There is also a shrimp that vomits bioluminescence as a smoke screen to get away from predators.

A looping film, “The Deep Ocean,” plays in an area of bench seating that allows visitors to sit down and learn more.

“Creatures of Light,” presented in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History, runs through April 21 at the Frost Museum at 1101 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami. Learn more at frostscience.org.

editor@sfparenting.com, jjhon@sunsentinel.com, 954-574-5316 or Twitter @sfparenting

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