News Staff Writer
Enveloped beyond the most beautiful natural greenery settings of Asheville, explore and reveal the mysteries of “In the Dark” exhibit at The North Carolina Arboretum , a 434-acre public garden just south of Asheville.
This mobile exhibit was first created by the Cincinnati Museum Center to educate and entertain all ages of the distinctive environments of the animals, plants and humans who evolved to survive in complete darkness.
“The Arboretum decided to host the “In the Dark” exhibit as it does a great job of educating visitors about environments and species that aren’t quite as well known and sheds some light on how vastly different and intriguing our natural world can be,” said Ashlee Lanier, exhibits curator at the Arboretum.
The exhibit displays a variety of mechanical arrays, life-size animal imitations and informational boards for families and children to enjoy
and discover what lies within many unseen worlds.
“I like how they made it interactive and hands on, especially for kids,” said Megan Hayles, a first time exhibit visitor. “I think it’s nice that people can come in and figure stuff out through the interactive activities.”
From a forest arrangement of the Great Smoky Mountains to a duplicate replica of Kentucky limestone caves, visitors can learn how bats find their way through the dark, how other animals use certain types of communication for direction and techniques people have conducted themselves to darkness through history.
“There is only so much knowledge we have on other worlds and the differentiation in the environments around. It would be a creative way to teach not only college students but individuals of various demographics as well,” said UNC Asheville business management student Kerri Harrinanan.
Throughout the five features, different smells waft through the air and animal and nature sounds play overhead as visitors test their sight in the dark, explore inside an enormous size bat head, practice life as a little termite and learn more about bobcats, cicadas and skunks.
“Beyond information on nocturnal species, the “In the Dark” exhibit also provides information on dark environments, such as caves and the deep sea. A portion of the exhibit also educates visitors about humans with vision impairments and demonstrates how people without sight navigate use other senses to navigate through the world.”
“There are many different elements and layers to darkness. By visiting the In the Dark, visitors are certain to uncover something new about this mysterious world,” Lanier said.
The North Carolina Arboretum’s new exhibit, “In the Dark”, opens daily from January 26 – May 12, inside the Baker Exhibit Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.