of the Night: The True Story of Bats, a touring
exhibit which opens at the California Science Center
on March 31st and runs through September 9, 2001,
is bringing the mystery surrounding bats out of
visitors investigate a cave, the favorite
daytime roost of a number of bat species.
exhibition dispels popular misconceptions about
bats, describes their ecological importance and
gives visitors an appreciation of the true wonders
of the bat world. Special effects, multi-sensory
interactive displays, a Gothic castle and environmentally
lifelike settings such as caves and rain forests
present bats in mythic and real-life settings.
Merlin Tuttle, founder of Bat Conservation International
(BCI), serves as scientific consultant. BCI is widely
recognized as the international leader in conservation
and education initiatives that protect bats and
Neo-Gothic portal opens the way into the exhibit
for a view of the world as a bat sees itupside-down.
The adjacent home of an 18th-century bat enthusiast
displays centuries of mythic representations of
bats by different culturesall presented upside-down.
A transitional area with bat portrait photography
and a giant-screen video introduces visitors to
the real world of bats as diverse, beneficial mammals
with fascinating skills and extraordinary abilities.
then enter the bat's world. A rain forest setting
at dawn provides a realistic look at bats' habitats
and their appearance. Roosting habits, hibernation
and other behaviors are depicted through interactive
displays and exhibitry in a cave which simulates
an entrance in daytime and an exit at dusk. Children
can crawl through the cave or hang like a bat.
hands-on displays in a rain forest setting at dusk
relate to the evening activities of bats, such as
echolocation (sonar ability), pollination, diet
and flight. For example, in a demonstration of echolocation,
visitors can use a joystick to maneuver a bat model
in search of food using a laser to simulate sonar.
In a visit to a bat nursery, visitors learn how
caring bat mothers are. Visitors also discover how
similar bat and human anatomies really are by flexing
a giant mechanical wing.
exhibit then takes visitors through a recreated
curator's office. Specimens, huge models, bones
and anatomical comparisons provide a look at bats
from a scientific perspective. The visitor can touch
models of oversized bat heads and learn about current
scientific research involving bat guano and saliva.
5,000-square-foot sets of Masters of the Night
are touring major museums and zoos in North America.
Another set is touring Mexico and an additional
5,000-square-foot set is touring Europe.
Into Amazing Caves plunges into fascinating
caverns in exotic locations filled with mysteries
waiting to be discovered. This film follows Dr.
Hazel Barton, a young microbiologist, and her
colleague, Nancy Aulenbach, on their pulse-quickening
descent into dangerous, yet beautiful, caves.
Featured in the film are underwater caves of the
Yucatan peninsula, ice caves in Greenland and
terrestrial caves in Arkansas.
DAILY AT: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and
Fri., Sat. & Sun. only at 8 p.m.
California Science Center is open daily from 10
a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas
and New Year's Day. Admission to the exhibitions
is free. For recorded information on IMAX show
times, phone (213) 744-7400. For advance ticket
purchases, group rates, or to make free reservations
for any visiting group of 15 or more (required),
call (213) 744-2019. Parking is available in the
guest lot at Figueroa and 39th Street for $6 per
car. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater
are wheelchair accessible. For general information,
phone (323) SCIENCE.