Anyone who was lucky enough to watch tadpoles grow into frogs in a grade school classroom knows that amphibians are among the most amazing creatures on the planet. These highly adaptive animals are the focus of the Shedd Aquarium's latest exhibit, which brings more than 40 species of frogs, salamanders, newts and caecilians (a type of limbless, snake-like amphibian) to the facility.
Divided into three distinct areas, the exhibit first explores the unique lifecycle of amphibians before delving into how these animals adapt to changing environments and predators. Guests can observe an elevated pool filled with tadpoles that are just beginning to sprout legs or take a look at the tomato frog—an amphibian that wards off predators by puffing up its body and secreting poison from its skin.
As with most Shedd Aquarium exhibitions, interactive elements are few and far between. Aside from a few scale models, the most notable feature is a station that allows users to view moving images of a frog's internal organs and bone structure projected on an oversized, 3D frog scuplture. The emphasis of this exhibit is the animals themselves, and rightfully so.
The last area of the exhibition deals with this startling statistic: 41 percent of the world's amphibians are threatened due to environmental changes. A series of stations outlines ways in which people can help the environment by taking steps like using energy efficient lightbulbs or biking instead of driving. With these final calls to action, "Amphibians" underlines the fact that human activities have consequences on the world around us, most noticeably on the colorful frogs, newts and salamanders that call it home.