Florida Museum of Natural History By brittany hawkins

Nature on Display
Butterfly Rainforest Exhibit

The Butterfly Rainforest was an extremely appealing exhibit because of the varying plant and animal life resembles that of a legitimate rainforest which is aesthetically pleasing to me. The design of the exhibit was calming; this has been accomplished because a walking path winds you through to see parts of the exhibit rather than be overwhelmed by the entirety of the room at once. The bright and vibrant colors of the room immediately grabbed my attention. The sounds of falling waterfalls and chirpy birds can be heard throughout the exhibit which makes you appreciate the diversity. The exhibit was engaging by including information signs which indicated what type of plants, animals, and insects were present throughout the exhibit. The up close and personal nature of the exhibit allowed me to experience the beauty and elegance of the butterflies more than if I were watching a program on National Geographic Channel. It was interesting to see the interconnection of the many species of butterflies with the ground finches and the environment. The interaction between the species created the sense that I was in an actual rainforest which was a unique experience in the museum. I would visit the Butterfly Rainforest for another experience.

Nature and Ethics
Frogs! A Chorus of Colors Exhibit

The Florida Museum of Natural History has multiple exhibits which allow people to expand their knowledge as well as their imaginations on different aspects of nature and society. The Frogs! A Chorus of Colors is a colorful and fun exhibit which is entertaining to both children and adults. The many showcases of species of frogs was amazing which is why I spent majority of my time in this exhibit than any other. The informative exhibit also embodies the concerns of Leopold that conservation efforts are bound to fail unless the land is viewed as more than just a resource of economic value. There is a poison dart frog showing in the middle of the room. There was a tour guide leader who described the frogs to be the most poisonous animals, rather than snakes or spiders, in the world. Little kids were thrilled to see the very frogs which their toys at home resembled and commented on their unique and deadly abilities. However, their ability to synthesize toxins on their skin was the reason why they were almost hunted to extinction. The interactive and close nature of the exhibit allows people to empathize the species which are endangered. It also instills in those aware of the prevalent problem of the loss of diversity of these frog species an ethical responsibility to protect the frogs. Human interaction with these poison dart frogs needs to shift dramatically. People not only need to address climate change and habitat loss which threatens the survival of these animals as a problem, but we need to start appreciating the beauty and diversity that these frogs offer and use that as a reason why we want to protect them

Nature and the Human Spirit

The Florida Museum of Natural History is an inexpensive and unique way to experience things outside of our everyday lives. The museum provides an up close and personal experience to nature which, allowing people to appreciate the diversity and beauty that it offers. Beyond experiencing the aesthetic appeals of nature, one can also come to better understand their place in the world and the mystery of nature throughout the ages. The exhibit which accomplished this best was the Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land. The highlight which evoked the most emotion and thought was the Shark Jaw Row. The exhibit includes multiple shark jaws, ranging from two to nine feet in width, of current and prehistoric sharks. I stood inside the fossilized jaw of a Megalodon which is the largest shark to have ever existed. Being barely five feet tall inside of a nine-foot-wide jaw was extremely humbling. Contemplating things larger than yourself, like the Megalodon or the Universe, creates mystery and beauty. I, along with the many other people who visit the museum, was amazed that something had once existed to be that large and could only imagine the strength and dominance that it exerted. Human dominance probably does not compare to how it lived.

Created By
Brittany Hawkins

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