Florida Natural History Museum Sparks Story Stephanie sanchez (picture from- visitgainesville.com)

Ocean Exhibit, FL Natural History Museum

This was by far my favorite exhibit in the entire museum. As I walked inside, I was in awe at the large sea creatures that encompassed the hallway. There were fish usually the size of a pinky three times the size of an average human. There was a clam, also typically very small, that was large enough to analyze distinguishable features. The clam had brush-like teeth, and had the exhibit featured the aquatic life in their natural size I would not have known this. The whole exhibit shrinks the human down to the ocean. I felt as if I was one of them, and suddenly it was not human vs. sea life but rather an integration of two different worlds. The exhibit also had beautiful blue lighting that furthered the imagination to believe you are actually in the ocean. I also enjoyed how the animals are "aware" of your presence. The enormous crab is cheering, while the fish is apprehensively staring at you. I also found it very cool that the floor was going downward so it feels as if you are descending into the ocean. Also, the exhibit's tentacles that spanned the entire room was an interesting feature as I felt as if the squid or octopus was holding the hallway together. The large animals definitely captured my attention and made the whole exhibit very immersive. I definitely was humbled by the exhibit as I understood more how little marine animals are still important, even if they are in real life much smaller than I. I do not think I would have thought about this by reading it in a book or simply seeing a picture. My whole experience at the museum was enjoyable because of large exhibits like this. I enjoyed how there were real replicas of the bone structure of various dinosaurs and mammoths. I also loved how there were real fossils integrated into this replica, and it was fun to distinguish the reality from the replication. There was also a temporary exhibit on poisonous plants that was extremely fun as it involved interactive experiences like whodunit cases and large presentations.

Florida Wildlife Exhibit, Florida Natural History Museum

I thought this exhibit is a great example of humans, nature, and animals coexisting. In the back there is a hut, one that is representative of those made by the original Native Americans. In the background, there is a vast ocean. Across the sand, there are many plant life with various birds standing alongside these plants, some preoccupied with eating dinner. By seeing this exhibit, and even the one mentioned in my previous post, I did then understand what Leopold described about how humans and nature should interact. For example, this exhibit reminded me that we are all part of the same earth, and that there does not need to exist an us vs. them complex between nature and humans. Sometimes people feel superior to nature and animals and feel like they dominate the environment. However, this exhibit reminded me that, although the food chain must always exist even within the animal kingdom, humanity and nature are not mutually exclusive. We can coexist and live in harmony. Such were the ways our ancestors lived, and society advancing technologically should not change that. I felt intrigued at seeing the various exhibits as I perused through the museum. I felt saddened as I saw the exhibit with extinct animals, some of which were extinct partly because of humans since they were used for cloth and food. I felt peace as I saw this exhibit that highlighted the good aspects of nature and harmony. I thought that perhaps humans should start taking care of nature more. As I saw the previous exhibit I mentioned, I thought I should start recycling more because sometimes waste ends up in oceans and kills manatees and baby turtles. They are not at fault because I was too lazy to throw away an empty bottle in the right trash can. So in a way, I sensed ambition but also some guilt. Other people seemed very interested to the exhibit as well. The children were in awe at the giant displays while the adults were more involved with the writing and information next to it. The museum allows us to connect with nature by inviting us to join nature and to become part of it, which I think is the best method to truly appreciate it. There were even caves in the museum that resembled real life excavated caves where bats reside that I thought were pretty informative about those animals, especially since I honestly do not remember seeing an exhibit about them in other museums. Overall, the museum made me become more mindful about my own practices and about how I relate to the environment.

Dinosaur exhibit, Florida Natural History Museum

This is a large depiction of an extinct sloth. It is about fifteen times the size of a current sloth, and a ten times the size of me. As I saw this exhibit, I was reminded about how species do not last forever. It reminded me about humanity past and future. The sloth now is nowhere near as menacing as the extinct skeletal counterpart displayed. It made me think of the evolution of humans and how humans will one day be extinct. Then I thought, will humans one day evolve to another new species that is very similar to us? It took me out of my normal day to day routine and, in a museum of natural history, made me think of the philosophical future history that all of us are currently writing. I thought about how all of these majestic animals did not know that their whole species' residency in the world was finite. It made me appreciate the world I live in and the world my ancestors lived in because it won't last forever. I also appreciated the mystery of how the primordial sloth went from very tall, almost comparable to that of a dinosaur, to being slightly bigger than the size of an average raccoon. Overall, it was enlightening to experience the fate of humanity and it made me appreciate the beauty of existing.

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