Take a Look Under the Canopy

The fascinating world of rainforests and the animals that inhabit them are the focus of the new exhibition opening February 17 at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Visitors will explore immersive animal habitat displays with live animals, including a two-toed sloth, along with life-size, climbable animal sculptures and other interactive and dynamic features designed for all ages. 

Presented in both English and Spanish, Under the Canopy will transport visitors to the most diverse ecosystem on the planet to learn about biodiversity, as well as the vital function of rainforests as Earth’s lungs. Daily animal shows inside the exhibition will include animal feedings and sloth training sessions. Staff will explain what makes these animals unique, their special adaptations and how they live in the rainforest. Created by Little Ray’s Exhibitions, Under the Canopy will be onsite at the Academy from February 17, 2024 through September 2, 2024. 

Aligned with Evolution Year at the Academy, Under the Canopy will create deeper connections to the world’s rainforests through up-close experiences with the fascinating animals that live in these biodiverse places. This new exhibition will allow visitors to connect vivid animal experiences with ongoing conversations about climate change, biodiversity loss and conservation. 

Habitats with live plants are being created at the Academy for the 4,800-square-foot exhibition. The install team will use branches to create an environment where the sloth can hang, climb and move from one end of the enclosure to the other. 

Additional animals onsite for visitors to see and learn about include: 

  • Red-footed tortoises 
  • Boa constrictors
  • Black and white Tegu 
  • Short tailed python 
  • Leachianus Gecko 
  • Corn snakes 
  • Brazilian Black tarantulas  
  • Crested geckos 
  • Whites tree frogs 

*Note: Animals are subject to change. 

Special programming for the duration of the exhibition will help visitors further understand the animals of the rainforest, and include: 

  • Animal Presentations: 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. 
  • Animal Trainings: 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. 
  • Animal Presentations: 2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. 

Animal Presentations

Animal handlers will introduce guests to three to four different animals from the Under the Canopy collection. Guests will learn about what makes each animal special, including physical adaptations like grippy feet or prehensile tails, what they eat, what eats them, and how they survive in the rainforest.  Guests may also have a chance to touch some of the animals. There will be two shows daily. 

Sloth Training

Sloth training is a very important part of what our animal handlers do.  They teach the sloth to perform certain tasks that make it safer and easier for the sloth to receive veterinary care, among other needs.  In the meantime, the sloth gets exercise and enrichment.  Guests can watch animal handlers perform training exercises with our sloth.  There will be sloth training per day. 

*Animal feedings will often happen throughout the day. 

Animal handlers undergo a training program that covers the safe handling of each animal in their care, which covers all relevant topics related not only to the safety of the animals but the safety of the public, as well. 

The Rainforest-focused exhibition follows the recent opening of Life Onto Land: The Devonian, featuring the incredible discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, open through September 29, 2024. Throughout 2024, the Academy is celebrating Evolution Year, highlighting new discoveries by Academy scientists, research on systematic biology and the world’s growing evolutionary knowledge. 

One comment

  1. Amazing place! I can’t wait to visit the Academy of Natural Sciences and discover more about these incredible animals.

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