“When Thomas Edison worked late into the night on the electric light, he had to do it by gas lamp or candle. I’m sure it made the work seem that much more urgent.”

George Carlin

About a month or so ago I went down to NYC for a Member’s exclusive first peak at Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescense at the American Museum of Natural History running until January 2013. I grabbed a membership last year from Groupon but it’s usually $95 (tax-deductible) for the basic membership. Since technically Saturdays are for local “spots,” I figured with summer coming up I’d put a small spotlight on a cool exhibit I checked out only 3 hours away!

To those of you who, like me, don’t know what bioluminescence is, let me explain. Ever wonder why some organisms flash, blink or glow? With this exhibit you can travel from a warm summer meadow to the deep-sea floor to explore the phenomenon of bioluminescence: living things that generate light, cold light that generates almost no heat.

The entire exhibit is in the dark so you can really see what kinds of lights these animals give off. You start in the woods with illuminating fungi and then go to the woods to check out the more familiar fireflies. What I didn’t know was that fireflies give off light to attract potential mates with each flash pattern meaning something different and they’re not even flies, they’re beetles! You continue to venture through various ecosystems and learn about the different animals who use bioluminescence to convey a message to surrounding animals. One of the more interesting species are those that live under water and since it’s so dark, upwards of 80%  of the animals down there light up as they travel, hunt and mate.

If you’re looking for a day trip from the 518 and heading to NYC, check out this exhibit. It’s safe for all ages and really cool to see all the various species that give off light! Let me know if you check it out!