In Montana, the amount of wild animals we observe is primarily limited to things we are trying to shoot for food or things that jump unexpectedly in front of our cars, like deer or elk. We are sheltered from many of the world’s most terrifying predators, especially those of the aquatic nature, one of the fiercest being the crocodile. The Museum of the Rockies is striving to change that with their new exhibit that is entirely focused on bringing this relentless underwater predator to a family friendly environment in Montana.
Every four years, the Museum of the Rockies, paired with Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland brings in exhibits that feature live animals from different parts of the world. Exhibits have featured different types of lizards and frogs, but the newest exhibit brings animals that most Montanans have never seen, four living crocodiles. This display of reptilian extraordinaire brings something educational to all viewers while still being family friendly.
“The main purpose of this is showing a high level of science in a family friendly way,” said Alicia Thompson, Director of Marketing at the museum. “We’re bringing the world to Montana with these crocodiles. While there is a lot of science in this exhibit, it is presented in a way that every member of the family can enjoy.” The exhibit uses a high amount of interactivity paired with the scientific information. There are interactive screens throughout the exhibit where viewers can find more information about the many different types of crocs, or even build their own crocodile that will be matched with the prehistoric crocodile that shares the most similar characteristics. There is also a bite measurer where people can test their strength against that of the bite of a crocodile.
The exhibit is split into three main parts: prehistoric crocodylomorphs, live animals and global conservation. The crocodiles come from a wide range of locations, such as Africa, Indonesia and even from America, most interestingly being the American Alligators. The American Alligators portion of the live exhibit consists of multiple baby alligators, which are only about 3 to 4 months old. Viewers can see the little alligators swimming around jovially in their tank, while reading information about this intriguing species. On the other side of the tank is further information about the adult alligators, who actually provide parental care to their young, rather than most adult reptiles.
Through this exciting exhibit, Museum of the Rockies has brought an experience to Montanans unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. Giving information about prehistoric crocodylomorphs, having live crocodiles and talking about current conservation efforts, paired with the interactivity strewn about the display creates a riveting experience that can be enjoyed by learners of all ages. There are also experts from Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland that can answer any questions that the viewer may have.
This showing of ancient predators in a modern world will be at the Museum of the Rockies until Sep. 10. If you are interested in the wild animals of the world or just have a couple of extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket, head down the museum to see something that can’t be seen anywhere else in the state.
Museum of the Rockies is located at 600 west Kagy Blvd and admission is $10 dollars for students with ID