Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived
Sharks are having a moment. Whether it's the bizarro
shark-meets-natural disaster of Sharknado or the best-ever rated
Shark Week on TV's Discovery Channel or even the still-haunting
two-note JAWS theme, the big-toothed fish are everywhere you
And now they're invading Rockford's Burpee Museum of Natural
That invasion is being led by Megalodon, the
two-million-years-extinct shark who is the star of the new exhibit
Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived.
"This exhibit capitalizes on the public's fascination with
sharks and how it affects our world today," says marketing
coordinator MacKenna Atteberry. "The objective is really to inform
Because while pop-culture representations may pique the public's
interest in sharks, not all information out there is entirely
accurate. In fact, a Discovery Channel mockumentary last summer
called "Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives" convinced many
viewers that the massive shark still swims in our oceans.
"[The exhibit] helps to set the record straight a bit,"
To that end, the exhibit includes lots of interactive elements
that teach kids and families about the ancient shark and its
evolution and biology. The most obvious feature is a 60-foot
walk-through Megalodon sculpture that provides an immediate
introduction to the famous shark.
Other highlights include life-sized models of Megalodon's
relatives, the modern Great White and Mako sharks, four Megalodon
jaws that came from 30- to 60-foot-long sharks (and could swallow a
human in one bite!) and fossilized shark teeth.
But despite the presence of teeth and jaws, Atteberry says the
exhibit isn't a scary one, contrary to what some JAWS-scarred
parents might fear.
"It's a very non-intimidating exhibit," she says. "But it's
still informative and lets you know how big and massive these
And since Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived is making its
Midwest debut at Burpee, museum staff are hoping the shark's fame
will draw people from across the region, including Chicago. Plus,
the exhibit ties in nicely with the museum's other exhibits,
including those focused on dinosaurs and geology.
"It's a great way to take a day trip for the family," Atteberry
says. "Everyone is going to take something away from it."
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