One Tank Trip

One Tank Trip: 'In the Dark' museum exhibit

WILMINGTON, Del. - While most of us are snoozing, nighttime is their time. Awake and alive, nighttime is their daytime -- barred owls, flying squirrels, and bobcats, who, like house cats, like to nap during the day, make their way around at night.

You can find your way "In the Dark" at the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington. 

"In the Dark explores all sorts of things that you can find in the dark, and a lot of these aren't very far from here, like the Appalachian woodland salamander, and I think we're all familiar with the skunk. They are often out at nighttime, which you can often smell and see," said Jennifer Acord, the museum's communications director.

Nighttime in the forest, out in the desert, deep in caves, and perhaps the least explored, under the sea. Creatures in these habitats adapt to the darkness, sharpening other senses and acquiring skills.

There's a clicking sound you can hear when you walk around the exhibit. The noise is coming from the bat, one that is big enough for you to put your own head through so you can hear what they hear. Bats send out high-pitched noises and listen for the echoes.

"If someone walks by in front of it, it starts clicking louder and faster, and that demonstrates echolocation, which is how bats use their senses to know where to go," Acord said. 

If animals can make their way around in the dark, surely we can, too, and you can put yourself to the test, because inside a booth, it is total darkness and you have to try and put a shaped block into the correct hole.

All the while, you're on candid camera. There's a night vision camera mounted inside so that folks outside can watch. There are only a few options, so you'll figure it out eventually.

In the meantime, you can contemplate what is dark and what is light. Light is just the part of the electromagnetic spectrum humans can see, but there's a whole other world out there, some of it beyond a curtain. The wonders of the dark: fluorescent minerals showing off a bit.

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