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A Whale of a Time at The American Museum of Natural History - New York City -March 23, 2013 to January 5, 2014

By Sally Luckett

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So we hopped on a plane from Sunny Cal to the Big Apple, and of course you can't visit New York without stopping in a museum.  By "stopping in" we thought we'd do the typical stroll through time in a fossil, see a few dinosaurs and move on to lunch.


Au Contraire, Mon Cher!  Who knew learning and entertainment could coexist at The American Museum of Natural History.  What began as a few hours look-see turned into a memorable highlight of our trip to New York beginning with an invitation to the special exhibit of "Whales: Giants of the Deep".



Few things remind us of the awesomeness of our universe like the sight of a massive whale.  And The American Museum of Natural History has replicated this in their newest exhibit, "Whales: Giants of the Deep".



Call it what you will…God's sense of humor or ironic sensibility in the order of the universe that such a humongous creature feeds on tiny plankton.  And yet we have so much in common with them, except for the tiny meal thing for me anyway…. Bet you didn't know that besides breathing air, whales are warm blooded, nurse their young with milk from mammary glands, and also have body hair?


It was so exciting to be present at the exhibition of the Pre-Opening of  "Whales: Giants of the Deep", which is currently on view at the American Museum of Natural History from March 23, 2013 to January 5, 2014



The presentation commenced with remarks by Ellen V. Futter, President and Michael Novacek, Sr. VP and special Curator of the Paleontology Division.  Their introductions were followed by comments from John Flynn, who amongst his myriad of accolades is also co-curator of this great exhibit.



Following the program we were invited to witness a special blessing of the whales from the Maori tribe visiting from New Zealand.  Thus reflecting their rich tradition of chanting and singing throughout the exhibition to beckon the whale spirits to visit, representative of their unique heritage.  I feel blessed just to be a part of it all.  You could feel the vibrant energy filling each room as the group paraded through singing and chanting all the way, complete with guitars and an instrument made from a large seashell.




We next journeyed on to the Space Show, "Journey to the Stars"  in the Hayden Planetarium.  Turns out the only stars are not in Hollywood.  Here we were launched through space, along with Whoopi Goldberg as our captain, narrating the experience in its entirety.


Hungry for a snack?  Stop by the Global Kitchen exhibit for a free demonstration and sample, while you learn about the Global past, present, and future of Food; including growing, trade & transport, and styles of cooking accompanied by a variety of displays.  This interesting exhibit features different foods from people in nearly every culture throughout the world, as well as dining rooms through time, complete with replicas of the meals they enjoyed.  The tables were set as if any minute you'd expect someone would show up for dinner.  Accept an invitation for dessert from renowned English novelist, Jane Austen, and enjoy ice cream from one of the most privileged of societies.  



Visit Mr. Potato Head, right next to the square watermelon from Japan! 




How about some calorie free chocolate?  Guess how they do that?



Next relax in their IMAX theater and follow the "Flight of the Butterflies" epic 3,000-mile journey traveled every fall by half a billion monarch butterflies.  (A truly amazing story!)


We then entered through a double door to catch the Butterfly Exhibit where live butterflies frolic freely in flight, sometimes resting on your shoulder to reveal a virtual rainbow of vibrant colors an artist would envy and can only dream of duplicating.  It's a glorious sight of wonder and amazement as you watch so many fly freely through the room.



The American Museum of Natural History is certainly a highlight to any trip to New York.  It's the Disneyland of learning! 


Published on Mar 30, 2013

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