By Stephanie Romberger
How do pit vipers sense their prey in the dark? How do bats fly in the dark and not run into things?
How do certain crawfish live without eyes? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered by a trip through the new traveling exhibit, "In the Dark: Worlds Without Light," at Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History.
The exhibit will open Saturday, May 25, and run through Sept. 8 for the public to explore the darkness of night, in the soil, in caves, in the desert, in the forest and in the deep sea.
With realistic dioramas and interactive devices, the exhibit offers great informational material for all ages to come and experience.
"I think it is a great family exhibit," said Jason Johannes, Sternberg Museum student visitor service assistant and FHSU junior.
The deep sea diorama is a replica of a sea vent that is two miles beneath the surface. In the diorama, there are two forms of fish represented by lifelike models that were made by sculptors in Cincinnati. Also there is an interactive computer game that allows participants to dive 1200 feet below sea level and experience the different fish and how they live in darkness.
"I think the interactivity of this exhibit is great because a lot of exhibits are hands off," said Johannes. "Our discovery room at Sternberg is extremely popular because it is interactive and this exhibit is more interactive, which will appeal to a broad spectrum of people."
In the nocturnal section of the exhibit is a forest diorama, which replicates a beechwood forest in Southern Ohio. This section of the exhibit focuses on the plants and nocturnal creatures that live in the forest scene. Also in this section a desert habitat is featured with great displays and an informative hands-on game about how pit vipers adapt to living in darkness.
Another exciting aspect of the exhibit is the life-size cave. The cave replicates eroded limestone caverns frequently found in Kentucky and shows how creatures live in these caves.
"The exhibit is full of things that people do not see normally," said Megan Smith, Sternberg Museum student visitor service assistant and FHSU sophomore. "The exhibit has a cave, a forest area, and creatures that live in the sea, so it gives people an opportunity to see things that you cannot see in Kansas."
"In the Dark" was produced by the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, to examine the intriguing qualities of darkness and unravel some mysteries of nature. The exhibit has traveled around the United States but most recently was housed by the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort.
"I think the best thing about the 'In the Dark' exhibit is that each venue incorporates what the mission of its museum is," said Chris Novy, traveling exhibits coordinator for the Cincinnati Museum Center. "Here in Hays, the Sternberg Museum is highlighting the similar animals that it houses."
Tickets can be purchased at Sternberg Museum or by phone at (785) 628-4286. Ticket prices are $6 for adults, $4 for Senior Citizens and children, $3 for FHSU students and children under 4 years of age are admitted free.
For more information on the exhibit contact the museum toll free at 877-332-1165 or visit the Web site at http://www.fhsu.edu/sternberg.