Lights out! Last chance to experience Creatures Of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence before it closes Feb. 21 at the Perot Museum
Enlightening traveling exhibition explores Earth’s extraordinary life forms, from flickering fireflies and glowing mushrooms to vampire squid and alien-like deep-sea fish
Going, glowing, gone! In just a few days, the doors will shut to the Perot Museum’s luminous traveling exhibition – Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence. Closing Sunday, Feb. 21, Creatures of Light offers visitors a mesmerizing stroll through the world of living light, where replicas of larger-than-life glowing mushrooms and larvae, vampire squid, ‘pyrotechnic’ plankton and fluorescent corals radiate light. Bioluminescence – the ability to generate light through a chemical reaction – is one of nature’s most beautiful phenomena that a variety of creatures use to fight for survival.
Presented locally by Highland Capital Management, Creatures of Light explores Earth’s extraordinary light-emitting organisms, from the flickering fireflies found in backyards around the world to bizarre deep-sea fish and other fantastic creatures that illuminate the perpetually dark depths of the oceans. Rare among organisms that live on land, the ability to glow is much more common in the ocean, where up to 90 percent of animals at depths below 2,000 feet are bioluminescent and where scientists continue to discover bizarre new light-emitting species. Like the crystal jelly, whose glow led to a revolution in cell biology, these deep-ocean animals may hold important clues to essential questions.
The exhibition includes six immersive environments, from recreated North American forests filled with fireflies and glowing jack-o-lantern mushrooms, to the inside of a simulated mysterious New Zealand cave, where glowworms drop sticky “fishing lines”– bioluminescent gnat larvae – from the ceiling to trap prey. Guests also can experience the sparkling sea of Mosquito Bay on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island, home to high concentrations of microscopic dinoflagellates that create a glowing halo around anything that moves through the water. A highlight of the exhibition is the display of fascinating, live flashlight fish that use the bacterial light under their eyes to communicate and attract prey.
Creatures of Light also points out that marine habitats are increasingly threatened by pollution, overfishing and global climate change. Many organisms are in danger of disappearing, some even before they have been discovered and studied. The exhibition includes a theater of underwater footage revealing the diversity of animals that marine biologists have captured on camera, including a jellyfish that lights up like a flashing pinwheel when threatened and a viperfish whose fangs are so long they don't fit inside its head. Large-scale models of a diverse array of deep-sea creatures bring to life dramatic interactions between bioluminescent predators and prey. Examples include a female anglerfish with her own built-in fishing rod, and a modified fin spine topped with a lure that pulses with bacterial light and attracts prey to her gaping jaws; and a vampire squid that waves bioluminescent arm tips to confuse its attacker long enough for it to get away.
To enhance the enlightening experience, guests can decode a firefly’s language of light with a “talk to fireflies” hands-on interactive and explore the neon shades of fluorescent coral and fishes found in the Bloody Bay Wall.. Throughout the exhibition, iPads featuring videos, photographs and more will deepen the experience and teach guests about the diversity of bioluminescence.
Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada, and The Field Museum, Chicago. Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence requires a surcharge for members and non-members.
HOURS. General hours of operation for the Perot Museum and Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
Presidents’ Day extended weekend hours.The Perot Museum will stay open until 7 p.m. Feb. 12-14. During holiday weekends, visitors, including members, are strongly encouraged to purchase/reserve tickets in advance.
Member mornings. From 8:30-10 a.m. every Saturday and 10 a.m.-noon every Sunday, members can enjoy exclusive access to the Perot Museum and Creatures of Light. Members will also enjoy exclusive access during this exhibition from 8:30-10 a.m. Feb. 13-15.
TICKETS. Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence requires a surcharge along with purchase of Museum general admission for non-members for a total admission cost of $26 for adults (18-64), $18 for youth (2-17), $19 for seniors (65+), and free for children under 2. Member tickets are $5 for adults (18-64) and $4 for youth (2-17) and seniors (65+).
Museum general admission ticket prices are $19 for adults (18-64), $12 for youth (2-17), $13 for seniors (65+), and free for children under 2. Museum general admission is always free for members. Admission to the theater is $6 for a short film (20 minutes) and $8 for a long film (40 minutes) for adults, seniors and youth. For members, admission to the theater is $5 (short film) and $6 (long film). All children under 2 are free.
The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field Street in Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit perotmuseum.org or call 214-428-5555.