Monday, August 5, 2013

Dennos Museum: Birds of Paradise

Hi again! I know it's been awhile since I've posted, but when it's summer in TC everyone makes the most of being outside, doing a million fun things, and enjoying all the fantastic opportunities for fun and sun up here. Life is always crazy but beautiful in the summer months, and I think that's how we all like it. Still, I owe you all a post...and even though I just posted about the Dennos museum not that long ago, their current exhibit is absolutely astounding: I had to share it, because I can't get enough of it!

When the BBC mini-series "Planet Earth" came out a few years back, it was hard for me to pick a favorite disc or feature among all the footage. By my fourth or fifth time through these masterpieces, though, I kept gravitating towards the Birds of Paradise segment. Below is  a snippet to remind you of the awesomeness:

So, when I heard the Dennos was receiving an exhibit all about these birds (put together by the National Geographic, nonetheless), I was pretty pumped. This exhibit is unlike anything I've ever seen in TC and the Dennos. It goes beyond being just an art exhibit or a "look at these things on the wall" walkthrough: it it interactive, hands-on, and remarkable.

The different sections guide you through the history of discovering the birds, evolution and natural selection, the influence of the birds on culture in New Guinea, the variety of birds and their mating dances, plus so much more. It is not only extensive in the breath of subject matter, but it is thorough and reaches all ages of visitors and all learning styles.

For me, this exhibit is intoxicating. I feel like a little kid again, playing with all the games and flipping through all the beautiful pictures. I loved seeing the beautiful hand-drawn illustrations from old field sketches (can you say Audubon heaven?) mixed in with videos of the different matings dances. The colors and uniqueness of each species leaves me realizing there is an infinite number of possibility for life.

And, if that's not enough to convince you to visit, how about a dance-off? There is this great game where two male contestants learn a mating dance (a la Dance Dance Revolution) and the ladies viewing the dances from behind them ring in and choose the male dancer they feel is most worthy of their vote. Despite being a female, I had to test out my Birds of Paradise dances moves....and you should, too!

Sun or rain, this is definitely worth a trip to the Dennos. This is a true example of a world-class museum right here in our hometown, much different than anything you've ever seen here before now. I encourage you to go and play with the birds!

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