This is one of two dark areas of our brightly lit children’s museum as it is designed like most other public aquariums and is lit only by fishtank light. The fishes and ecosystems of North America, South America, Asia and Africa are compared and contrasted. One of the highlights in this area is our Elasmobranch exhibit which is home to stingrays and giant lionfish. Stingrays have a barb on their tail which injects an acid in to their enemies. Stingrays are different from skates in that they give live birth to their young. Lionfish inject their enemies through their sharp dorsal spines, like getting a shot from the doctor. Other oddities in this area include the electric eel and red belly piranhas. These dangerous and scary creatures always fascinate children. The electric eel can put out enough volts to kill a small child. Piranhas have a pernicious-toothy-ravenous reputation but they really are shy, easily startled creatures.
In illuminated cases, we have two pieces of blown glass art on display created by Curtiss Brock. One is an artistic impression of a plant cell, complete with thin cell wall and various organelles. The adjacent glass blown art piece represents a plant cell with its strong, visible cell walls in a rainbow of colors.
Across from the cells, another illuminated exhibit is home to our Snakes of Many Colors Exhibit. All residents are native to Missouri and can be found in your own backyard, except these were specially bred for their unique colors. An example would be the Creamsicle Corn Snake donning its peachy-pink color, or the Albino Banana California King Snake with alternating pink and yellow rings. There are also Milk Snakes that mimic the Coral Snake. The difference between them is the black, red and yellow colors are in a different order. Corn Snakes got their name from living in agricultural farm areas. Milk Snakes were mistakenly identified as drinking milk from a cow’s udder. King Snakes can eat any snake, including other king snakes, so their name is quite appropriate.