The South Florida Museum Offers a Full Slate of Programs this Week for Valentine’s Day!

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  • Join us for a discussion of the biology of love at our think + drink (science) program tomorrow – Wednesday, February 11 at 7 pm – and take a “Pathway of Love” gallery tour before the program.
  • Bring your ocean lover to the opening reception of our newest exhibition Ocean Soul this Thursday, February 12 at 5:30 pm.
  • See an award-winning documentary about a couple fighting a system that made their marriage illegal at Film Fridays this Friday, February 13 at 6 pm.
  • Learn why February’s night skies offer a brilliant backdrop for romance later this month at Stelliferous Live – Wednesday, February 25 at 7 pm.

think + drink (science)

When we humans say we’re attracted to someone for their mind, it really is true — though not in the way we might think.

Our human brains have evolved to help us survive — to find food, to avoid predators and to procreate. It’s the latter, of course, that draws our interest this month as Valentine’s Day approaches. But how much control do we really have over our romantic interests?

Find out at the South Florida Museum’s next think + drink (science) at 7 pm Wednesday, February 11, when behavioral neurologist Dr. Alan Grindal joins us with the topic “Love is Complicated: The Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology of Sexual Attraction.”

The science behind human behavior has historically been a difficult area of study because the tools just didn’t exist to unlock some of the most complex neurological processes. But that is changing as new technologies have been developed that help us delve deeper into brain chemistry and link it to human behavior, Dr. Grindal says. “We’re

finding that much of our human behavior is tied to our basic biological needs. And there is a great degree to which we are unconscious of this.”

Are we attracted to the world’s Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies for their looks? Perhaps, but that could be because on a biological level, their physical features indicate fertility (for Jolie) and security (for Pitt). “Across cultures we see the same kinds of attractions, so this is not just some arbitrary concept of beauty,” Dr. Grindal says.

New evidence also indicates that gender preferences are developed early in life — perhaps even in utero, Dr. Grindal says. “To a great degree, the evidence we’re seeing today is dispelling the idea that gender identity is based on environmental influence.”

And what about our hormones? How do they affect us? We hear a lot about testosterone and progesterone, but what about oxytocin?

“We know there are hormones that promote trust and love — oxytocin is one of them,” Dr. Grindal says. “One of the highest pulses of oxytocin measured occurs during delivery and we know that one of the strongest human bonds that exists is between a mother and a child. We also know that hugs and touches and smiles also cause us to release oxytocin.”

Join us for the conversation as Dr. Grindal explores these topics of brains, biology and love.

Details

think + drink (science), 7-9 pm Wednesday, February 11. Cost: $3 for Museum Members, $5 for non-members. Seating is limited. Purchase tickets now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit SouthFloridaMuseum.org/.

Take the “Pathway of Love” with Cupid as your guide!

Pathways are an innovative way of looking at a variety of objects and specimens in our natural world and connecting them to tell a single narrative. Connect with us this Valentine’s season to explore how the objects here at the South Florida Museum can reveal a thing or two about love in ways that may surprise you. (The tour lasts approximately 10 – 15 minutes.)

Details

“Pathway of Love” Gallery Tour, 6:15 & 6:30 pm Wednesday, February 11 – before think + drink (science). Free for Museum Members and the general public. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13.

New Exhibition Reception A Must for Ocean Lovers

Visitors to the South Florida Museum are taking a voyage across the oceans and into the depths of mystery and wonder with National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry’s Ocean Soul exhibition. This National Geographic Traveling Exhibition opened on February 7 and runs through June 7 as it showcases Skerry’s stunning visual display of the ocean environment and the creatures living there.

The South Florida Museum is hosting an Exhibition Reception from 5:30 pm to 7 pm on Thursday, February 12. Visitors have the opportunity to speak with museum staff as they browse the exhibition. To complement the amazing imagery of the Ocean Soul exhibition, marine biologist Capt. Eric Weather will be on hand to display live specimens and some of the technology used to explore the soul of our local marine environment. Light refreshments and a cash bar.

Details

Ocean Soul: Exhibition Reception, 5:30 pm to 7 pm Thursday, February 13. Free for Museum Members and $5 for the general public. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit SouthFloridaMuseum.org/.

Film Fridays: The Loving Story

Join us at the South Florida Museum for The Loving Story, an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary that follows the inspiring story of two young people in love and the Supreme Court case that followed, at 6 pm on Friday, February 13.

In 1958, a white man named Richard Loving married Mildred Delores Jeter who was of African-American and Cherokee descent in Virginia. Acting on a tip, the local sheriff arrested them for violating the state’s “Racial Integrity Act.” Eventually, the pair pled guilty and, as part of their plea agreement, were forced to leave the state and “not return together for 25 years.”

By 1963, they had enough and, with the Civil Rights movement growing, Mildred petitioned Attorney General Robert Kennedy for help. He referred them to the American Civil Liberties Union, which took on the couple’s case. Attend this screening to witness their plight.

Details

Film Fridays: The Loving Story, showing at 6 pm on Friday, February 13. Admission is $5 for Museum Members and $7 for non-members. Purchase tickets now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit SouthFloridaMuseum.org/.

Love is in the Night Sky for Stelliferous Live

Join us at 7 pm Wednesday, February 25 for all the latest news from the night sky, which in February brings us some of the most brilliant views of the year as the biggest planet and the brightest star take center stage. February also brings the conjunction of Venus and Mars — and a tale of love ripped from the headlines of Roman mythology. We’ll also be talking about some of the latest news about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe as we follow the path of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.

Details

Stelliferous Live is at 7 pm Wednesday, February 25. $5 general admission, $3 for Museum Members. Children 16 and younger get in free. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit SouthFloridaMuseum.org/.

About the South Florida Museum The largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum offers engaging exhibits as well as educational programs which interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world and our universe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum features a constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions – offering something new to discover with each visit. The facility also includes both the all-digital Bishop Planetarium Theater and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Outfitted with a brand new, state-of-the-art Planetarium and projection system in October of 2013, the Bishop Planetarium is the region’s premier astronomy education facility with stunning new multimedia capabilities. The Parker Manatee Aquarium is home to Snooty™, Manatee County’s official mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world. Snooty shares his Aquarium pool with young manatees from the Manatee Rehabilitation and Release Partnership. These injured or orphaned animals are taken care of by the Parker Aquarium staff until they are ready to be released into the wild. For more information about current exhibitions and special programs, membership, hours, or admission prices please call 941-746-4131 or visit SouthFloridaMuseum.org.

South Florida Museum to Open ‘Ocean Soul’ Featuring the Underwater Photography of Brian Skerry

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Visitors to the South Florida Museum will voyage across the oceans and into the depths of mystery and wonder with National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry to experience the ocean like never before. Ocean Soul, a National Geographic Traveling Exhibition opening on February 7, showcases Skerry’s stunning visual display of the ocean environment and the creatures living there. The exhibition will run through June 7, 2015. The Museum will hold an exhibition reception on Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.

Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator Matthew Woodside says of the exhibition, “I first saw the Ocean Soul exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. I was amazed at National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry’s vibrant underwater photography. I came away with a new appreciation for the beauty and mystery of the ocean’s creatures, ecosystems and biodiversity.” He continues, “When I learned that the National Geographic Society offered a traveling version of the exhibition, I wanted to bring this wonderful show  to the South Florida Museum community.”   

A lifelong diver and advocate of the ocean, Skerry is a revered underwater photographer who has shot nearly 20 National Geographic magazine features, profiling ocean environments and marine conservation. He has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater documenting the troubles and triumphs of our planet’s oceans. Whether beneath the Arctic ice or in predator-infested waters, Skerry’s dives in extreme conditions have captured rare and intimate moments of marine creatures in their natural settings. His photographs tell compelling stories of survival, from harp seals fleeing execution by commercial hunters in the North Atlantic to damaged coral ecosystems beginning to rebuild themselves in the central Pacific. 

“To make great pictures, a photographer must observe and truly see,” said Skerry. “Over time I learned that the real value is in being patient, slowing down and watching the world around me.” 

According to NOAA, Earth’s oceans cover 71 percent of the planet’s surface, contains 97 percent of our planet’s water, yet more than 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored. SFM Curator Matthew Woodside observes, “Oceans have a major influence on many of the Earth’s systems such as weather, climate and global temperatures. Oceans produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere and absorb most of the carbon from it. We consume more than 170 billion pounds of wild fish and shellfish each year.“ He concludes, “I hope this exhibition will inspire people, as it did me, to think a little deeper (pun intended) about our oceans and the life it supports and to simply be amazed at Brian Skerry’s spectacular photography and amazing stories.”

The South Florida Museum will host an Exhibition Reception on Thursday, February 12 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.  Visitors will be welcome to browse the exhibition and speak with Museum staff about the exhibition and related upcoming programs. Light refreshments will be provided in addition to a cash bar.  The Reception is free to Museum Members and $5 admission for the general public. For information and reservations for the Ocean Soul Reception, please contact Susan McCarthy at SMcCarthy@SouthFloridaMuseum.org or 941.746.4131941.746.4131 ext. 13.

Manatee ‘Aces’ His Release from Rehab at the South Florida Museum

Ace, a young male cold-stress manatee that was found stranded in the Peace River and has been in rehabilitation at the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium since March 2014, was successfully returned to the wild on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, to cheers of onlookers standing along the banks of the Orange River at Manatee Park.

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Ace, nicknamed because he was found in the Peace River, was initially treated at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo beginning in January 2014. After his initial stay in their hospital, Ace was transferred to The South Florida Museum’s Parker Aquarium, a Stage 2 manatee rehabilitation facility where manatees live while they gain weight and return to full health. When Ace arrived at the Museum, he weighed in at about 740 pounds. At his Thursday-morning weigh-in, Ace was a whopping 920 pounds — a healthy weight for release.

 

“Ace was really easy to work with during his rehab — showing the typical temperament of a manatee his age, which indicates that he should do well back in the wild,” said Dr. David Murphy, veterinarian for the South Florida Museum. “We’re excited about his release and the possibilities that he will help increase the overall manatee population.”

 

Ace was released in the Orange River across from Manatee Park in Lee County, a warm-water manatee refuge where the endangered mammals gather when Gulf water temperatures drop below 68 F. Because Ace was stranded due to cold-stress, it was important to release him in a warm-water refuge area to give him the opportunity to know where to navigate seasonally when water temperatures drop.

Also released on Thursday were two female manatees that were successfully rehabilitated at the Lowry Park Zoo. VenIce (named because she was a cold-stress manatee that stranded in Venice) and Burnie, a one-flippered manatee that was found near Burnt Store Road.

 

“Releasing the three animals together should help boost Ace’s chances for success in the wild,” said Marilyn Margold, Director of the South Florida Museum’s Living Collection and Co-Chair of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership. The Partnership is a self-governing group in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is made up of organizations that participate in manatee rescue and rehabilitation, including the South Florida Museum, Sea to Shore Alliance and Lowry Park Zoo.

 

“Releasing Ace with companion animals into a refuge area where other manatees gather will help him get re-acclimated to the wild and improve his chances for success,” Margold said.

 

As a Stage 2 rehab facility, the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium plays an important role in returning manatees to the wild. “We get to fatten the manatees up and make sure they’re healthy and ready to go home to the wild. It’s really an honor not only to be involved in this type of important conservation work for an endangered species, but to also help guide the wider statewide efforts as part of a larger consortium,” Margold said.

Join The South Florida Museum for an Extraordinary Astronomical Exploration of the Star of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem has been a popular topic at planetarium shows since the 1940s, with hosts presenting explanations that would account for the star described in the nativity story in the Christian tradition. Was the star a comet, a supernova, something else entirely, these shows ask.

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At the South Florida Museum, Astronomer Howard Hochhalter goes beyond this traditional planetarium presentation to take guests on a “forensic” journey of the Star of Bethlehem that compares historical records to what was really happening in the skies some 2,000 years ago.
“I really wanted to take our guests a step beyond just talking about things traditionally covered in planetarium shows about the star — the idea that the star was a comet or supernova. Those explanations are a bit more fluff and don’t really present a compelling connection to the events of the time,” Hochhalter said. “Instead, with our system in the Bishop Planetarium, I can take our guests back in time to show them what was really happening in the skies above Babylon and Palestine between 7-1 B.C.E.”
In addition to exploring the movements of the planets, Hochhalter also explores the cultural meaning that those living in the period would have attached to changes in the skies. For example, Hochhalter said, Jupiter and Venus were doing some interesting things (you’ll have to attend the show to find out just what!). “Jupiter was believed to be the king of the ‘wandering stars’ — which we know today as planets. And another wandering star, Venus, symbolized fertility and motherhood. The motion of these wandering stars had enormous meaning and potential consequence to the Magi watching the skies 2,000 years ago.”
The “Star of Bethlehem” explores the question “What was the Star of Bethlehem?” with Astronomer Howard Hochhalter, who leads guests on this journey to Jerusalem 2,000 years ago using the Planetarium’s ability to travel through time and space.
It will take place at 5:30 and 7:30 pm Wednesday and Thursday December 17 and 18 in the South Florida Museum’s Bishop Planetarium, 201 10th Street West Bradenton, Fla., 34205. It costs $5 for Museum Members; $8 for non-members. You can purchase tickets now at SouthFloridaMuseum.org or call 941-746-4131, ext. 17
Throughout December, the South Florida Museum is also offering special showings in the Planetarium of “Let it Snow,” a 32-minute multi-media special that includes festive holiday musical  classics that are visually enhanced through animation, special effects and all-dome scenery.  Featuring a variety of festive classics from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives and Brenda Lee, ‘Let it Snow’ includes a stunning multi-media finale by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The soundtrack is visually enhanced with thematic animation, special effects and all-dome scenery. The 32-minute program is a fun and entertaining experience for all ages, especially families.

The program will take place at 2:15 pm Tuesdays-Fridays; 11:15 am Saturdays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays through December 28. (Note: The Museum is closed on Dec. 25.) in the South Florida Museum’s Bishop Planetarium, 201 10th Street West Bradenton, FL, 34205. The price is included in the price of general admission.  Admission is $18 for adults; $16 for seniors 65 and older; $14 for children ages 4 to 12. Children 3 and younger and Museum Members always get in free. Purchase admission tickets online now at SouthFloridaMuseum.org.
The largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum offers engaging exhibits as well as educational programs which interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world and our universe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum features a constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions – offering something new to discover with each visit. The facility also includes both the all-digital Bishop Planetarium Theater and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Outfitted with a brand new, state-of-the-art Planetarium and projection system in October of 2013, the NEW Bishop Planetarium is the region’s premier astronomy education facility with stunning new multimedia capabilities. The Parker Manatee Aquarium is home to Snooty™, Manatee County’s official mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world. Snooty shares his Aquarium pool with young manatees from the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership. These injured or orphaned animals are taken care of by the Parker Aquarium staff until they are ready to be released into the wild. For more information about current exhibitions and special programs, membership, hours, or admission prices please call 941-746-4131 or visit SouthFloridaMuseum.org/.

South Florida Museum Presents Doctor Geek’s Science Fair – Saturday, September 27

Come experience man’s technology of past, present and future! A unique blend of science and fiction, this event combines a classic sci-fi convention with a science fair on Saturday, September 27 from 10 am – 7 pm. Travel back in time in H.G. Wells’ Time Machine to explore technology of the past, then tour the futuristic technology with exhibitors such as NASA, the Ghostbusters of Winter Haven and D&B Comics. Interact with panelists about cool topics in science and technology today – and what they see coming out of students and innovators into the future. Students ages 6-16 will have the chance to compete in the first inaugural Geek Games which blend fundamental STEM principles with the creativity of art and literature. The Museum is proud to take advantage of the Doctor Geek’s Science Fair to partner with Bright House Networks, who will be launching its own Bright House nationwide competition – “Bright Ideas STEM from Today’s Youth,” a multi-state competition where high school students show how STEM – that’s science, technology, engineering and math – can bring their idea to life! There will also be a special performance by Steampunk / Dr. Who themed rock group The Ken Spivey Band! Doctor Geek’s Science Fair is a distinctive one day expo that combines a classic science fiction convention with a science fair.

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Who is Doctor Geek? Dr. Scott Viguié is a modern day Renaissance man.  Holding two doctorates, he is an attorney, archaeologist, author and actor.  Scott fulfilled his passion for educating others, and particularly rekindling an interest in the sciences, by creating Doctor Geek’s Laboratory of Applied Geekdom, an audio edutainment show dedicated to STEM outreach. The show combines science and fiction to educate and inspire others to help bring about the world of tomorrow today. One of Scott’s greatest joys in life is showing people that they, too, can achieve their dreams and build a better future. As he likes to say, “Nothing is impossible, just highly improbable.”  Learn more about Doctor Geek here: drgeeklab.com/.

The inaugural Applied Geekdom competition, “The Geek Games” is open this year to students ages 6-16 and will include STEM challenges such as the “Planet X Rover” Design Challenge presented with NASA. *All students must pay the $10 general admission ticket to enter. Students may pre-register for The Geek Games or register when they arrive at the event. To pre-register for one or all of the individual games, or for more information, please call Samantha Sprague: 941-746-4131, ext. 31. Spaces are limited. Please register early to ensure participation. Winners will be selected by professionals in each of the individual fields of study. Student work will be judged based upon STEM skills fitting the specific challenge.

Entrants in the Geek Games and visitors to Doctor Geek’s Science Fair are also encouraged to participate in Bright House Networks’  Bright Ideas competition. It’s been said that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. They’re also tomorrow’s innovators and inventors. They are OUR future. They are the ones who can help create new opportunities for our local economies to prosper and flourish. So, to inspire our local youth to develop new ideas that can change the world, Bright House Networks is proud to present “Bright Ideas STEM from Today’s Youth.” Whether you enter as an individual or as a team of up to three students, you’ll want to think about a cool new idea, powered by STEM, that can make the world a better place. More information and the online entry form are available at brightideas.brighthouse.com/.

Exhibitors at Doctor Geek’s Science Fair will include NASA, Bright House Networks, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Thomas Galvin presenting H.G. Wells and his Time Machine, The Florida Railway Museum, Bayshore Elementary STEM department educator Sarah Hammock, The Orlando Ghostbusters, and the USF Robotics Interest Group.

Panel discussions and Special Presentations in the Planetarium will include:

  • Doctor Geek’s Laboratory: Exploring the Future Today –Join the cast of Doctor Geek’s Laboratory as they explore the past two seasons of the audio show. 
    • What does it take to create a modern radio program?
    • Where is your flying car?
    • Will bionics make me better, faster and stronger?
  • The Science of Applied Geekdom Take your passion for your favorite fiction to the next level.  The experts on this panel will tell you what it takes to build that perfect replica. Featuring: Thomas J. Gavin, III and The Time Machine, and the Ghostbusters of Winter Haven.
  • The Science of FictionNew York Times Best Selling Author Debbie Viguié talks about how use inspiration, imagination, and research to craft a great book.
  • Designing the Future Learn about the future of innovation with Slipstream, a student group competing in the International F1 In Schools engineering competition (a partnership with Formula One racing).
  • Performance by The Ken Spivey Band The Ken Spivey Band is an MTV.com praised Time Lord Rock group that combines Steampunk elements with mad Celtic energy into Time-Wimey, theatrical, and comedic revelry.

 

Museum admission will be discounted for this special event on Saturday, September 27 from 10 am – 7 pm! Priority Access Passes are available online now (guarantees panel and special Planetarium presentation seating) – $10 Advance / $15 Door (if any remain; limited quantity available). General Admission will be $10 at the door (panel and special presentation seating not guaranteed). Museum Members can purchase Priority Access Passes now for $8 (limited quantities available) or will receive FREE general admission the day of the event (panel and special presentation seating not guaranteed). For more information about Doctor Geek’s Science Fair, visit the Museum online at SouthFloridaMuseum.org or call Samantha Sprague at 941-746-4131, ext. 31.