As finals approach and the stress mounts, students looking for a fun and inexpensive study break might want to keep Macon’s Museum of Arts and Sciences in mind. Whether your interests lie in stargazing, art appreciation, natural sciences or up-close encounters with strange and fascinating animals, the Museum of Arts and Sciences has something to offer for everyone. This month the museum will be wrapping up its wildlife exhibit Where the Wild Things Live, which will be kept open to the public until May 13 when it will be replaced by a new dinosaur exhibit.
The ‘Wild Things’ exhibit features the different habitats and wildlife of the Southeastern United States, specifically in Georgia. Using recreations of different habitats and preserved specimens of Georgia wildlife, the exhibit also endeavors to encourage respect for the environment and to make viewers aware of human encroachment upon natural habitats and the consequences incurred upon the animals.
The staff put the exhibit together in mid-January. Most of the preserved specimens used in Where the Wild Things Live come from the museum’s permanent collection.
“This is one of the few times we’ve featured them in an exhibit,” Melanie Byas, the museum’s Public Relations Director, said.
Additionally, sections of Where the Wild Things Live come equipped with special bar codes that can be “zapped” with a Smartphone. Doing so will grant the holder access to further information about the exhibit, such as connecting the Smartphone to a webpage specifically relevant to the subject of the exhibit.
After May 13, the Where the Wild Things exhibit will be converted into an exhibit featuring dinosaurs, and as December gets closer the exhibit will focus on Mayan history and culture in honor of the approaching last day of the Mayan calendar, Dec. 21 of this year.
However, for those whose animal attraction can’t be satisfied by Where the Wild Things Live or for those who miss the exhibit, the museum has a Mini-Zoo with over 70 live specimens. Visitors can come to the Mini-Zoo to observe the museum’s alligators, turtles, bugs, ferrets, a chinchilla and six tamarin monkeys, among other animals.
If that isn’t enough, museum-goers can attend the live animal show that takes place every weekday at 3:00 p.m. and every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. During the show visitors can make the acquaintance of Georgia the cockatoo, a Colombian boa constrictor named Tómas and several playful ferrets. Especially bold members of the audience can volunteer to come to the stage to hold one of the museum’s large Madagascar hissing cockroaches (which, as the animal handlers will tell you, are even cleaner than humans. Who knew?).
Perhaps, though, you aren’t an animal lover. Not to worry: the museum offers several other attractions including art exhibits and a state-of-the-art planetarium.
The Mark Smith Planetarium is the only planetarium in Georgia to use the cutting-edge Konica Minolta Super MediaGlobe-II projection technology, which only two other planetariums in the Western hemisphere use today. If you’re looking for a cute, cheap date or if you’re just an astronomy buff, the museum offers free stargazing on clear Friday nights and the Skies over Macon planetarium show for only $2.
Located on Forsyth Road beside the Macon Little Theatre, the museum is within easy driving distance of Mercer University, making it an ideal study break locale.
“It’s a really valuable resource,” Byas said. “Everyone is missing out on a valuable experience if they don’t come visit the Museum of Arts and Sciences.”