As winter enters its final weeks and the robin returns, the buzz in the air in Forest Park is not just the large cranes assisting with the expansion of the Saint Louis Art Museum. A quick check with those in the Forest Park Zoo Museum District indicates there will be many things to do and see in the coming months.
St. Louis Science Center
Space Junk, which recently opened at the OMNIMAX theater, takes a look at the accumulating space junk in our low Earth orbit that has resulted from man’s exploration of space. “There have been a couple of pieces of junk that have fallen to earth, like dead satellites, and the International Space Station just had to do a maneuver to get out of the way of a piece of junk that was potentially going to hit the station,” notes Jackie Mollet, senior director of theater, retail & exhibition.
In addition, the Star Trek exhibition is now open in the new Boeing Hall and includes filming models, costumes and props from the films and series, Next Generation set pieces, the transporter room from the most recent 2009 Star Trek film, and a timeline that tracks Star Trek, NASA and actual space exploration. “It’s interesting to compare science fiction and what has become science reality,” Mollet says.
The Planetarium has two shows this spring: Seeking New Earths, which is about real planets orbiting in other solar systems, and Metal Moons, which looks at space junk and artificial satellites. On April 20, To The Arctic opens in the OMNIMAX. It follows a mother polar bear and her two cubs through their struggles in relationship to the Arctic ice melting.
On June 1, the interactive exhibit Nano Worlds opens, and it will be the last exhibition in the Explorer Dome, featuring hands-on displays of nano technology and how we use it in everyday life.
Saint Louis Zoo
While the Saint Louis Zoo is open 363 days a year and is geared up for every single day, there is a lot of excitement building toward the summer opening of the new sea lion exhibit, which is 90 percent complete. “It will be a 1 1/2-acre enclosure for our California sea lions, and the neat part about it is we’re combining the old sea lion basin, which was built around 1918, and the old Sea Lion arena into one facility,” says Jack Grisham, VP of animal collections at the zoo. “It will be the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Family Sea Lion Landing, and it will have underwater viewing, salt-water pools and a unique walkthrough tunnel will have sea lions swimming above and on both sides of you. The Lichtenstein Sea Lion Arena is where the animal shows will be. It’s one of the most popular attractions here at the Zoo, right behind the penguins.”
On March 6 at 7:30 p.m., the Zoo will offer a free lecture at the Living World by Dr. David Amstrup, a senior scientist at Polar Bears International, about Polar Bears and their conservation.
Also this spring, Breakfast with the Bunny will be March 24, 25, 31, and April 1 and 7 at the McDonnell Center at River Camp, and the stingrays and sharks will be back April 20 through Sept. 30. “And April 22 is Earth Day and that will be celebrated all throughout Forest Park,” Grisham points out. “At the Zoo, there will be Earthrelated activities, games, entertainment and animal enrichment.”
Missouri History Museum
While Civil War in Missouri, which opened in the fall, continues through April 2013, there are many other exhibits slated for the Missouri History Museum, according to spokesman Everett Dietle.
About Hunger and Resilience, a traveling photography and oral exhibition that opens March 10, explores the myriad causes of hunger in the United States and puts a human face on the statistics. The Hidden Language of Portraits opens April 1 and is an intimate gallery installation that delves into the hidden messages that artists try to convey in their paintings.
“Our big exhibit this summer is FIRE! Friend and Foe, and it opens May 19,” Dietle says. “It will explore the region’s complex history with fire, looking at the great fire of 1849, the 1963 fire that destroyed the Forest Park Highlands and the 2005 Praxair explosion near Lafayette Square. But it also will look at the positive things that fire can do, like for cooking and warmth.”
Two exhibits open on July 1: Underneath It All, which explores how women’s roles have changed, as well as their fashions (specifically their undergarments), and Our Olympics, a small photography exhibit of the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, in honor of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“And then we are currently in negotiations to host a major traveling exhibition about a significant historic figure in American history!” Dietle says. “And the big hint is that it’s going to be very fitting that we host this exhibit during a presidential election. We’re in the final negotiations for this contract, and we will announce it after the ink dries!”