At the MOSH

October 19, 2011

It took a delayed flight from Pittsburgh to Orlando to alert me to an exhibit at a Museum of Science & History right here in my home state.  While stuck at the Pittsburgh airport well into the night, I took up the airline’s magazine and read the happenings in each and every state in the union. Under Florida, an exhibit entitled “Savage Ancient Seas” snagged my attention enough for me to write it down in my planner. I then promptly forgot about it. Until this past weekend that is.

Jacksonville Museum of Science & History (MOSH)

Located in downtown Jacksonville, a stone’s throw away from the Stein Mart Corporate Building, the museum’s entrance enticed with an old piano set up out front for anyone to play (which Matt did). After paying the $10 entrance fee, and buying a ticket for a show in the museum’s planetarium for another $5, we headed in. Although we were specifically there to see the Savage Ancient Seas exhibit, we also wanted to see what else they had.

The Body Within exhibit at the MOSH

The first exhibit we ventured into was “The Body Within.” Here you guess at what you are touching or smelling (think tennis ball or root beer), manuever a prosthetic arm, examine actual body parts in jars, or watch a video of a knee replacement surgery or a colectomy.

We wandered around the remaining exhibits on the first floor, all in some way relating to Florida’s natural history, then headed upstairs. A top-notch local history exhibit occupied 1/3 of the second floor, along with the Ancient Savage Seas exhibit and the Planetarium.

 Savage Ancient Seas

This exhibit contains skeletons of creatures that swam the oceans during the time of the dinosaurs.

Savage Ancient Seas exhibit

My favorite skeleton was of the Xiphactinus audax.

Xiphactinus audax

The only disappointing part of the day was the show, Sea Monsters, in the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium.  Planetariums should leave these shows to IMAX theaters. This couldn’t even compete in the slightest. Definitely not worth the extra $5.

After the show, we wandered around the exhibit one last time. At the center was a sandbox of sorts. Earlier in the day, children would climb in, grab a brush and dust away, uncovering archaeological finds beneath. By the time we came out of the 4:00 show, it was near closing time and we were the only ones in the room.  I walked over to the sandbox and picked up a brush. As I dusted off the sand between bones, I imagined being an archeologist on a real dig (a brief interest of mine back in college) and daydreamed.  Museums can do that. They let you explore interests you have, ones you’ve forgotten you had, and ones you didn’t even know you had.