Museums, Science and technology
4 out of 5 stars
Exposition 'Nuit' au Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle

Does the thought of stumbling around in the night, arms outstretched and ears pricked up to detect the smallest untoward sound, fill you with dread? If so, then you can take comfort in the fact that most animals are as useless in the dark as you are. Take the male kakapo parrot: to attract a mate after hours, he's obliged to sing for up to four months at a stretch without stopping. Or the scutigera centipede, who will often resort to shedding some of its legs in order to continue moving through to the small hours.

These are only two of the many absorbing revelations of this exhibition, which aims to shed some light on the mysteries of the dark. Its dial set firmly on 'family-friendly', 'Nuit' deftly interweaves sections on animals, outer space, and children's bedtime stories (the least convincing chapter, but still guaranteed to entertain the little 'uns). Endowed with engaging information placards aimed at kids and adults alike, it offers a rich and rewarding look at the life that inhabits the nether hours of the day. And it serves as a timely reminder that in the sleepless metropolises of today, night itself is now an endangered species.

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