Worshiped as gods by the ancient Egyptians for their dazzling speed and sharp talons, peregrine falcons were almost completely wiped out in the late 1960s after decades of battling habitat loss and pesticide contamination. A new exhibit opening at Parker's Wildlife Experience Museum this Saturday, The Peregrine Falcon: The Return of an Endangered Species, chronicles the return of the birds since they began receiving federal protection in 1973. "They basically were extinct, but with a little human help, they have made an amazing comeback," says Amber Swisher, a spokeswoman for the museum. "They used to live in forested areas; now they live in skyscrapers in big cities. They've adapted to the modern world."
The exhibit, which will be up through May 18, "really illustrates what pesticides and DDT did to these birds and their eggs," Swisher says. Panoramic photomurals, dioramas, videos and interactive displays help tell the story.
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The Wildlife Experience Museum opened early last fall with the goal of promoting wildlife conservation through art and educational programs. Other current exhibits include Back From the Brink: The Story of the American Bison and Vanishing Africa. "It's a hybrid museum; we're combining natural history with fine art," explains Swisher. "And it's all interactive. We want our guests to really get involved in a very hands-on way."
Located at 10035 South Peoria Street, the museum also includes an IWerks Extreme Screen Theater, a Children's Gallery, a restaurant and a gift shop. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $3 for kids ages five to twelve. (Children under five get in free.) Call 720-488-3300 or visit www.thewildlifeexperience.org.