Spiders Alive!

A few days ago, my daughters and I tentatively set off to check out the new Spider’s Alive Exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. We’re more lovers of puppies, than fans of eight-legged pests. We took a deep breath as we were greeted by a 20-foot inflatable spider at the front entrance of the Museum.

Once inside, we were transported into the fascinating and diverse world of arachnids. We saw about 20 different species of live spiders including scorpions, tarantulas and black widows. Luckily, all of the live ones are enclosed in glass with easy-to read-placards and fun facts for even the
youngest reader.

We had no idea that Antarctica was the only place on
earth that was spider-less. We appreciated the fact that without the predatory skills of spiders, insect populations around the globe would explode! We learned about the Golden Orb spider whose golden web can span more than 3 feet! We saw one of the largest spiders in the world, the
Goliath Bird Eater, who feasts on frogs, mice and snakes.

We learned about spiders with venom and gained insight into the silk used to make intricate webs. The girls explored a fluorescent-lit wall of vials containing some of
the spiders that make up the AMNH’s extensive collection.

At the center of the exhibit, there was a short presentation giving an up-close and personal explanation of different aspects of a tarantula. There were plenty of Museum staff and volunteers on hand to answer questions, help us find hard-to-spot spiders and explain the differences in anatomy, behavior, web making skills, venom and habitats.

The exhibit includes huge models of spiders, great prints of very unique
(and dare I say, cute) species and a climbable model which is perfect for the very little ones who might be a little freaked out by it all. We all found the short narrated video about the huge variety of spiders all over the world very interesting.

I walked into this exhibit not especially excited since I have a fear of all
types of crawling creatures. However, with each display, I found myself
more fascinated and (a little) less terrified. My four-year-old wasn’t all that
convinced, but my seven-year-old thought it was all very awesome!

The Museum of Natural History never disappoints with family-friendly exhibits. While I still may jump the next time I see a spider up close, with the new insights I have, I might not be as quick to squash it.


Spiders Alive! is on view through December 2, 2012.


Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.

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