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Review: "Frogs: A Chorus of Colors"

A vivid new amphibian exhibit comes to the American Museum of Natural History.

  • Photograph: AMNH/D.Finnin

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  • Photograph: Bill Love/Clyde Peel

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  • Photograph: Bill Love/Clyde Peel

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Photograph: AMNH/D.Finnin

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A vibrant display of amphibians hops back into the American Museum of Natural History on Saturday, May 28. The exhibit, previously on view at the museum in 2009, will give your kids a chance to check out more than 25 kinds of frogs, ranging from circular and leaf-toned varieties to miniature anurans, in an array of colors fit for a Crayola box.

The centerpiece of the show is a giant tank surrounded by four magnifying stations that let kids get an up-close look at more than 80 of the most poisonous species: dart-poison frogs. While visitors can't touch the harmful critters (natch), budding scientists can zoom in on them with the magnifier to study their movements and behavior.

A virtual-dissection computer program lets museumgoers go through the steps of exploring a frog's insides, without the mess of cutting into the creatures. While it may be too technical for the youngest visitors, there are interactive elements for all ages, including the "creature conductor." This station invites kids to select a species, like the pig frog or carpenter frog, then press a button to hear its unique melody. Frog fanatics who are up for a challenge can play "I spy" by picking out the camouflage pros in photos of frogs in their natural habitats.

Of course, children will also get a kick out of watching the frogs in action. Highlights include the Borneo-eared frog, which can swing from branches with a single toe, and the nautically inclined, flipper-footed African-clawed variety, which swim through a tank of water.

Overall, little ones will enjoy this short and sweet introduction to the animal (the whole exhibit only takes about 15 minutes). Just be prepared to hear pleas for a pet frog as you make your way back home.

"Frogs: A Chorus of Colors" is on view from May 28 to Jan 8, 2012, at the American Museum of Natural History.         

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