Creatures glow in the dark. A cave is covered with paintings from the Stone Age. But you don’t have far to travel to see them. “Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence” and “Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux” opened at The Field Museum in March, just in time to answer what to do during Spring Break.
Enter the darkness of “Creatures of Light” to see such fantastic ocean creatures as the anglerfish whose fishing-rod like spine fin lights up to attract prey.
Cross a bridge to experience New Zealand’s Waitomo cave where glowworms string sticky “fishing lines” to trap prey. Look for the “railroad worm,” a beetle that has red “headlights” and yellow-green train “windows.”
Then walk across a floor where tiny dinoflagellates follow your every step. In Puerto Rico’s Mosquito Bay on Vieques Island dinoflagellates glow around anything moving in the water. At The Field’s simulated path, replicated dinoflagellates follow you.
You will see a wall of fireflies or what some people call “lightening” bugs. On the way don’t miss the crystal jellyfish that flash green.
Stop at the Cayman Islands coral formation known as “Bloody Bay Wall,” a day-to-night interactive station and check iPad stations to see videos and animations.
Music created by Tom Phillips will accompany your exploration, changing as you pass from entry to cave, bay and deep ocean.
Organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in collaboration with The Field Museum, Chicago and the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada, “Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence” is at The Field now through Sept. 8, 2013.
“Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux” is next door to “Creatures of Light and is also up now through Sept. 8, 2013.
Those strange, pipe-looking structures you see when first walking in simulate the narrowness of the cave system. Look through them from one end and see the boards below with drawings of the animals and symbols found in each section.
That is merely the introduction. Wander back to the full-size reconstruction of part of the cave, itself. The paintings you see replicate those found in the Nave and the Shaft sections made nearly 20,000 years ago.
Because the cave in France is closed to the public, the exhibit is the only way to see and experience some of the best examples of paleolithic paintings up close.
Discovered in 1940 and opened to the public in 1948, the Lascaux cave system in southwest France was closed to the public in 1963 to preserve its paintings. Lascaux II, a facsimile of part of the cave that included the Hall of Bulls, opened near the original system in 1964.
The exhibition at The Field, known by its creators as Lascaux III, was accomplished under the auspices of the General Council of Dordogne where it was first shown and done with support from the Regional Council of Aquitaine, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the European Union.
Details: Admission to “Creatures of Light” and Scenes from the Stone Age” are included in the All-Access. The Discovery pass offers entry to one special exhibit. Hours: daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. except closed Christmas. For more information call 312-922-9410 and visit FieldMuseum.
The Field Museum is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s Museum Campus. Parking is next to the east entrance and across the way in the underground Soldier Field lot. CTA 146 also goes to the Museum Campus.