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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center
Media Contact:  Shell Amegah 213.744-7446
Pager number: 323.525-4529
March 13, 2001
Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats
Bat Exhibit Turns Myths Upside-Down
at the California Science Center
Masters 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 the dark.
Young exhibit visitors investigate a cave, the favorite daytime roost of a number of bat species.
The 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.
Dr. 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 their habitats.
A Neo-Gothic portal opens the way into the exhibit for a view of the world as a bat sees it—upside-down. The adjacent home of an 18th-century bat enthusiast displays centuries of mythic representations of bats by different cultures—all 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.
Visitors 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.
More 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.
The 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.
Two 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.

Also at IMAX:

Journey 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.

SHOWS DAILY AT: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and Fri., Sat. & Sun. only at 8 p.m.

Note to Editors

The 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.

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