Frogs: A Chorus of Color is now open at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Take a giant leap into the enchanting world of frogs!
Last week I got a sneak peak at the Frogs: A Chorus of Color exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, attending a press preview on behalf of Jersey Family Fun (you can see my full review for them here).
This temporary, special exhibit features 15 frog species from around the world, each one fascinating in its own right.
I spent a lot of time lingering at each habitat, watching and photographing the frogs, and as I lingered kids who were in attendance pointed out to me where the frogs were, exclaiming over their eyes or their colors or some eye-catching feature.
It was awesome: both the kids’ interest in what they were seeing, and how well the habitats and facts were laid out, to be so engaging to that interest.
Interactive activities are peppered throughout the exhibit: summon forth frog calls at the push of a button, check out a virtual frog dissection, spin a zoetrope to see a frog jump.
More activities will be available on the weekends throughout all of “Froguary.”
I had a lot of fun talking to the staff members who were walking around sharing frog facts; from one I learned that poison dart frogs don’t create their own toxins, but rather eat dangerous insects and secrete the poisons out. The ones in the exhibit, of course, aren’t getting a steady diet of exotic bugs, but are eating more mild-mannered things like fruit flies and gnats. I was advised, quite seriously, that I probably still shouldn’t eat one, though.
Needless to say, I was delighted.
More frog facts, courtesy of the Academy of Natural Sciences:
Toads are frogs. Toads specifically have warty skin and short hind legs, and live on land. Their “warts” are thickenings in the skin or clusters of specialized glands and are not contagious.
The goliath frog of West Africa is the world’s largest frog, growing to 15 inches and weighing up to 7 pounds. The smallest may be the Cuban tree toad which only grows half an inch long.
There are at least three species of frogs in South America with skin toxins capable of killing a human. The golden poison frog carries enough poison to kill 10 people (or 20,000 mice!).
You can lead a frog to water, but you can’t make him drink. Most frogs absorb all of their water through their skin. Many have a “special drink” patch on the belly.
Worldwide, we are aware of more than 4,000 species of frogs, but new ones continue to be discovered. It’s essential that we pay attention to frog populations and conserve their habitats: frogs play important roles in the food chains of their respective ecosystems and as an indicator species, and scientists are only beginning to unlock how much we can learn from frogs in terms of their value to medical research.
It’s my belief that the best way to get people invested in conservation, and in particular to raise our next generation to be young environmentalists, is to make sure they spend time getting to know elements of nature (“to know a thing we must love it, and to love a thing we must know it”).
The Academy’s frog exhibit is an excellent starting place to get to know your fellow frogs, but so is:
- getting outside and actually searching for tadpoles in the spring
- listening to the calls of peepers and bullfrogs
- holding backyard toads in your own two hands.
So do all those things!
Visiting Frogs: A Chorus of Color
The Frogs: A Chorus of Color exhibit was created by Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, which is a place I’d never heard of but now urgently want to visit. Tickets can be purchased online here.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. There is no onsite parking, but some nearby garages offer discounts to museum goers and some metered street parking is free on Sundays, so plan your trip accordingly.