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Exhibit shows life through eyes of animals

June 4, 2009 4:29:18 AM PDT
At the Morton Arboretum, a raccoon stands 15 feet tall, and great blue herons have laid great big eggs.It's part of a new exhibit called Animal Houses and it's the perfect way to see life through the eyes of animals.

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, as always, is all about trees. But for the next five and a half months it's also about the animals who live in and near the trees. Giant animal houses have been created to give us a way down to earth look at how our furry and feathered friends live.

"What they are is fun, interactive very tactile experiences. You can walk through, you can climb through. We're really encouraging kids to see trees from the perspective of animals," said Anamari Dorgan, Morton Arboretum Mgr. of Exhibitions.

There are 11 animal houses spread out through the entire 1700 acres of the arboretum. There's a skunk house that doesn't really look like where skunks live but then again?

"But a skunk does live in a rotten little hollowed out log. And so what we thought was fun ... we'd take a log and supersize it and make it so kids can walk through it."

The Animal Houses exhibit runs until November 15. It is designed, of course, for people of all ages. But you just get the feeling that mainly it's for kids.

Take for instance this spider web that's big enough to trap insects the size of, well, children.

"This is really good," said Andrew Hasler.

Most of us don't realize it but long, tall great blue herons nest in trees. But landscape architect Heidi Natura built hers on solid ground.

"A lot of my work is in wetlands so I come across Great Blue Herons frequently. And they are a magnificent bird. ... I'd like kids to understand that something as remarkable as the Great Blue Heron lives among us," said Heidi Natura, designer of Heron Rookery.

So now's your chance to get real small but be big with your kids.

For more information, visit www.mortonarb.org/animalhouses.html


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