On April 10th the American Museum of Natural History in New York City premiered a new exhibit: The Jelly Dome. Geared towards kids this adventurous new experience is an immersive event free with general admission. Be prepared to crawl on all fours into an inflatable dome. Once inside (and seated amongst a crowd of equally fascinated kids) a vivid projection shows takes you through the life and environment of different types of jellyfish.
Jellyfish are one of our most ancient cousins in the animal kingdom. Not only can they render themselves “immortal” by reverting themselves back and fourth from polyp to jellyfish asexually, but some species have fascinating traits such as bioluminescence, meaning they biologically emit light.
What makes the timing of this exhibit relevant to current affairs is that global warming has greatly effected jellyfish populations. Counterintuitively to what you may assume about other marine species, jellyfish have actually had a burst in population as opposed to a decline. The exhibit takes you through these vast schools of jellyfish as if you we swimming amongst them yourself. Maybe not quite an event designed for adults (I honestly expected to be placed in a immersive tank surrounded by jellies) The Jelly Dome is a great way for children to learn about an ancient creature’s relevance to today’s biological affairs.
Appropriately placed in the room with the giant blue whale, The Jelly Dome is tucked away in a corner where staff helped children crawl inside. Pamphlet giveaways were available to all those who cared to take home some awesome jellyfish facts.
The American Museum of Natural History is always doing its best to keep exhibits new and ideas fresh, and it does an awesome job. Some upcoming events include Science Throwdown: Sea vs. Space, Stem Cell Science 5-part Course, and Astronomy Live: Exotic Skies. This spring is sure to be filled with many new exhibits and activities throughout the spring and summer.
Overall this great-for-kids activity is a fun way to learn about some of the least talked about creatures of the sea. How many time does someone get to say they crawled into an inflatable jellyfish? Not many.