Now Open on Level 1
This hands-on exhibit hall celebrates the richness of the natural world, with a special focus on the diverse ecosystems of Central Florida. Visitors discover the insects, plants and animals of coral reefs, salt marshes, mangrove swamps and other Florida environments. They learn how living and non-living things interact with each other and their environment.
The dramatic centerpiece of NatureWorks is Florida’s Habitats, a glimpse into the natural world of Central Florida. In this realistic exhibit area, visitors explore the distinctive environments of Sand Pine Scrub, Cypress Swamp, Pine Flatwoods and Sinkhole Lake. There are also ample opportunities for guests to encounter live animals during regularly scheduled presentations.
- Observe a typical cypress swamp, complete with live alligators
- See how sea turtles make their nest at the sandy beach
- Discover the intricate system of roots at the mangrove swamp
- Watch how bees build their hive, care for young and gather nectar at the BeeHive Encounter
29 February 2012
Posted in NatureWorks
Ligers. Grolar bears. Camas. They sound like things out of a fantasy novel but do indeed exist. Here’s an explanation:
Born of a male lion and a female tiger, there are only a few ligers in the world. The average liger weighs more than 900 lbs. and stands about 12 ft. tall leading them to be deemed the largest big cats. Although featuring more lion-like features, the liger enjoys swimming like a tiger. They can eat up to 100lbs. a day but due to obesity issues are typically fed 25-35 lbs. with meals ranging from venison to pork. There are also smaller tigons, which are born of a male tiger and female lion.
Due to melting ice caps, animals that were once separated are being moved closer together, in this case grizzly and polar bears. Grolars have the head and paws of a grizzly with the white fur of a polar bear. This pairing worries scientists as it is feared the threatened polar bear gene pool will be compromised.
The cama is a cross between a male camel and a female llama. Due to size differences their creation came about through artificial insemination in an effort to get the strength of a camel with the wool of a llama. As you can see from the above picture, camas do not have a popular camel hump.
There are many other types of hybrids including wolphins [whale with dolphins], zebroids [zebras with horses], and leopons [leopards with lions]. Some hybrids such as the grolar bear occur naturally whereas other such as camas often lead to ethical debates. Is it ethical to create a species that can change the gene pool of its predecessors and lead to their extinction or is it just the next stage in evolution? What do you think?