Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Underwater Wonderland

As I mentioned previously, I pretended to be a tourist on the Mall on my birthday. I had about 5 exhibits that I specifically wanted to see, and the new Sant Ocean Hall in the Natural History Museum was one. It opened either right before or right after I went to Africa, and I've been anxiously awaiting its opening for about a year now. I got to enjoy it in all its glory, Deep Ocean 3D Imax movie and all. Actually, I think the movie has been around for a while, but I just haven't gotten around to watching it. It was amazing. I think in another life I would have been a marine biologist. Of course, this is a life in which I would actually be good at the life sciences, unlike my current one. I think it's best for all involved if I stick with roads and bridges and such for the moment.

The life-size Right Whale model took 4 years to create.

I especially liked the fossils - there were many cool specimens.





But the thing I looked forward to most was the preserved giant squid. The first time I visited the museum in 2006, Jeff, my grad school buddy, told me there was a giant squid there and it got me much excited. Unfortunately, it had been removed sometime in the intervening time, and I never got to see it. So I was quite excited when I heard the new Ocean Hall would have one. It was much hyped up, but then when I got there, the glass it was under was fogged up by the body, so I really only got to see some tentacles. Not to mention the plaque that mentioned the fact that it was 36 feet long when living, but that it had shrunk quite a bit since being preserved. It was still cool though. The picture below is when it was first caught in 2005.

(Photo courtesy of Natural History Museum)

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