ATLANTA — Fernbank Museum of Natural History plans to take visitors to nearly every corner of the animal world this summer with two new exhibits: Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World and Nature’s Ninjas: Defenses of the Animal Kingdom.
Both will be on display from June 5 to Sept. 6 and offer interpretive panels and live and modeled dioramas to immerse visitors in the lives of crocodiles and the defense mechanisms used by animals.
Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World
‘Crocs’ takes guests on an expedition through everything crocodile from their evolutionary history to modern crocodilian biology and even their precarious relationship with humans throughout history. Via a series of dioramas, some living and some modeled, guests are taken on a tour of the world of the crocodile.
Live crocodile species featured will include the shy African Dwarf Crocodile, the endangered Siamese Crocodile and the Slender-snouted Crocodile (found throughout the tropical rainforests of Central America).
Interactive models include Bring a Fossil to Life where guests can create a 3D-animation of a long-extinct croc, Crunch Capacity giving guests the chance to test their strength against a crocodile’s bite force and, Build a Crocodylomorph providing visitors a virtual field notebook to work from to assemble a variety of ancient crocs.
Other exhibit highlights include:
Thechampsa skull — The 13-million-year-old jaws of this massive fish-eating crocodylomorph (the group that includes modern crocodilians) is an example of the super-giant crocs of the past.
Dwarfs — The delicate preserved skeleton of Hoplosuchus, a tiny insect-eating relative of modern crocs, was a long-legged runner that probably ate insects.
Croc Talk — Learn to speak “croc” in under five minutes with this interactive station. Activate real croc calls and learn what scientists think they mean.
Croc Bytes — Test your crocodilian IQ with fun facts and croc trivia.
Gomek — The largest crocodile ever exhibited in the Western Hemisphere was caught on the Fly River of New Guinea in the 1960s. Gomek was believed to be a man-eater by local villagers, but later became a symbol for crocodile conservation in Australia and the United States. A life-sized model of this enormous animal allows visitors to get closer than otherwise possible to a giant “salty.”
Nature’s Ninjas: Defenses of the Animal Kingdom
Ninjas have been known for their unbelievable survival tactics. They have employed deception, stealth, forgery, armor and advanced chemistry to defend themselves throughout history. The animal kingdom is full of creatures employing these tactics to survive.
‘Nature’s Ninjas’ dives into a variety of defenses found in the animal kingdom including poison, venom, camouflage, mimicry, speed, size (both big and small) and more. Through live-animal displays and detailed graphic panels, guests will learn how these natural ninjas deploy their defenses in order to survive.
Live-animals featured in ‘Nature’s Ninjas’ include:
Green Tree Python (camouflage)
Veiled Chameleon (camouflage)
Three-banded Armadillo (armor)
Emperor Scorpions (autonomy)
Honduran Milk Snake (mimicry)
Poison Dart Frogs (poison)
American Porcupine (armor)
A total of 17 species are featured in the exhibit, exploring 10 different defense mechanisms found in the animal kingdom. ‘Nature’s Ninjas’ also features daily live animal encounters programs outside of the exhibit space. These programs further explore the defense mechanisms used by animals on display.
Tickets and Visitor Information
Both exhibits are included with general admission and is free for Fernbank members. Timed, online tickets are required in advance at FernbankMuseum.org at $20 for adults, $19 for seniors and $18 for children. To purchase tickets or view pre-visit information, frequently asked questions, safety protocols and more, visit FernbankMuseum.org. Tickets not purchased online are $19.95-$21.95 and may not be available due to safety precautions that limit capacity.
‘Crocs’ and ‘Nature’s Ninjas’ will be on view daily from Saturday, June 5 through Monday, September 6, 2021, from 10am to 5pm, along with evening hours during select events.