Frogs are fun. That’s the bottom line at the Museum of Science and Industry’s new exhibit, "Frogs: A Chorus of Colors," which my family I previewed and loved. The exhibit makes frogs interesting in all the right ways: through sights, sounds and touch.
The exhibit is divided into four parts: "Where It Began," "If Looks Could Kill," "A Frog’s Biology" and "The Fading Chorus." Each section contains information, live frogs in custom enclosures designed to look like their natural habitats and activities to drive the knowledge home. Since my sons are still in preschool, I had to do a lot of reading aloud while they searched for the frogs in each enclosure. But the activities were fun for all of us.
The first section allows visitors to "create a chorus" by pushing buttons to activate frog calls. Anything with buttons is a big hit with my 4-year-old and I was grateful for the sparse crowd because I had a hard time pulling him away.
We also loved the activities in "A Frog’s Biology," including a space to test our frog jumping skills The highlight for my 5-year-old was "Froguts," a virtual frog dissection program. He loved using the roller to make scalpel cuts and pin back the frog’s skin. He summed it up: "That was disgusting. Awesome."
As the exhibit’s name implies, you can expect to see a lot more than muddy green toads. Frogs can be green, blue, red or yellow.
The centerpiece is a 10-foot-tall glass enclosure with more than 50 poison dart frogs. They look like plastic toys except they move everywhere, and can kill a human with the poisonous chemicals they secrete in the wild. Around each side of the glass are small cameras that allow visitors to focus on specific areas. My sons had a little trouble working the focus and zoom, but got the hang of it after a while. In fact, they were faster than I was at spotting a frog.
We spent almost 40 minutes wandering around the exhibit, looking, listening and learning. We took a nice break on some seats designed to look like lily pads and my boys posed as frogs on a great forest backdrop. (Don’t forget your camera). As is the case with everything these days, the exhibit exits into a gift shop filled with every kind of frog souvenir you can imagine.
"Frogs: A Chorus of Colors" runs through Jan. 7, 2007. Tickets are $5 in addition to general museum admission and are offered on a timed-entry basis. The Museum of Science and Industry is at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. For more, visit www.msichicago.org.