Fernbank announces the opening of two new special exhibitions in time for summer. ‘Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World’ and ‘Nature’s Ninjas: Defenses of the Animal Kingdom’ display a vast array of live animals that take guests to almost every corner of the animal world. 

Whether exploring the rich and complex lives of crocodiles or discovering the many different defense mechanisms used by animals, guests will be surrounded by live animals throughout the exhibit. Through interpretative panels as well as live and modeled dioramas, guests will learn more about the magnificent animals these two exhibits display. Both exhibits will run from Saturday, June 5 through Monday, September 6, 2021.

Both exhibits are included with general admission (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, etc., visit FernbankMuseum.org

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.

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 in ‘Crocs’ 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 5 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.”

These are just some of the highlights of the many displays and dioramas that ‘Crocs’ explores. ‘Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World’ was created by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling’s REPTILAND.  

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. Come explore some of the world’s most adaptable animals with Fernbank in ‘Nature’s Ninjas: Defenses of the Animal Kingdom’.

‘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)

These are just seven of the 17 species 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 and open up the floor for guests to pose any unanswered questions they might have from the exhibit.

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