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Please note: The manatee habitat is empty as we undergo renovations.

We expect to re-open the habitat and begin caring for manatees again later this Spring.

Museum opening hours: 10am to 4pm Wednesday through Saturday with entry times at 10-11am, 11am-noon, noon-1pm, 1-2pm, 2-3pm (Last entry at 3pm) | Noon to 5pm on Sunday with entry times at noon-1pm, 1-2pm, 2-3pm and 3-4pm (Last entry at 4pm) | Closed on Monday and Tuesday

201 10th St. W

Bradenton, FL 34205

Special Events

Special Events

Space Out at The Bishop in May

Need Some Space? We’ve Got it for You in May at The Bishop!

Do you need your space? We do, too, so we’re celebrating it for an entire month! Come Space Out with us in May during a month full of activities that will bring you as close to space as you can get without leaving the ground! Celebrate the awe-inspiring universe and remarkable human achievements in space with lots of fun space programs and activities at the Museum!

“We want to help as many people as possible explore the wonders of the universe through astronomy — that’s why we’ve created an entire month’s worth of space-related programs and activities for all ages, from pre-schoolers to middle schoolers to adults, and everyone in between,” said Howard Hochhalter, Manager of The Planetarium. “I’m especially excited about Astronomy Day. Our guests will be able to take virtual tours of the universe, ask questions about telescopes and even learn about NASA’s latest mission to Mars!”

Please note: Masks and social distancing are required for staff and visitors during in-person programs.

Saturday, May 8: KidSpace

We unleash the awesome power of astronomy during KidSpace while we help kids master the universe! During this live session, we explore places humans have never been before! KidSpace is designed for kids ages 7-11 and their grown-ups, but everyone is welcome!
  • Where: On Zoom
  • When: 10:30am Saturday, May 8
  • Cost: Free
  • Register now

Sunday, May 9: Science Sprouts

Budding scientists ages 2-5 and their favorite grown-ups explore and discover in the Mosaic Backyard Universe. During “Super Stellar!”
we’ll discover the beauty and mystery of the night sky as we explore the colors, sizes, and patterns of stars through stories, play, and song.

  • When: 10:30-11:30am May 9
  • Where: at The Bishop
  • Cost: $14 per adult/child for members of the Discovery Society; $18 per adult/child for all others. (Reservations required. Does not include Museum admission.)
  • Register now

Wednesday, May 12: “Out of Sight! The Totally Tubular History of the Telescope and Microscope.”

During think + drink / science we’re taking on ‘scopes during “Out of Sight! The Totally Tubular History of the Telescope and Microscope,” with Dr. David Berry, Associate Director of Academic Affairs and Special Projects at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Telescopes and microscopes enable us to see what the naked eye cannot and to explore the wonders of the universe and the microscopic world. We’ll trace the development of these remarkable inventions from novelty items to scientific instruments used to make some of the most important scientific discoveries in history!

  • When: 7pm Wednesday, May 12
  • Where: On Zoom
  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others.
  • Register now

Saturday, May 15: Astronomy Day

Join us at the Museum where space will take center stage on Astronomy Day! We’re planning a special live star talk in The Planetarium, a scavenger hunt throughout the Museum, a crater-making experiment and fun space-related activities in the Mosaic Backyard Universe. You’ll even be able to talk to an expert from Celestron about your telescope questions! Everything is included with admission, so come ready to get spaced out!

  • When: 10am-2pm May 15
  • Cost: Included in the price of admission — no registration required.
  • Get Tickets Now!

Please note: Masks and social distancing are required for staff and visitors during in-person programs.

Saturday, May 15: Seeing Stars with The Bishop at Robinson Preserve

Join us for our last Seeing Stars program of the astronomy viewing season! You’ll enjoy a beautiful night sky overlooking the bay at Robinson Preserve, thanks to our partners at Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources.

Weather permitting, Mercury, Venus, and the waxing crescent moon are expected to be spectacular sights! We provide the telescopes and the expertise; you enjoy the wonders of our universe!

The program is free, but advance tickets are required. We are limiting audience size to allow for social distancing. Masks are required for staff, volunteers, and guests.

  • When: 8:30-10:30pm Saturday, May 15
  • Where: Robinson Preserve, in the Expansion, 10299 9th Ave NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
  • Cost: Free, but registration is required
  • Register now 

Wednesday, May 26: Stelliferous in The Planetarium

Join us in person in The Planetarium for this monthly guide to the night skies. You can experience our new upgraded Planetarium system and feel like an astronaut as you experience our 50-foot dome and discover the latest news from the world of astronomy! This live talk includes opportunities for Q&A.

Capacity is limited to ensure social distancing and advance registration is required. Masks are required for staff and guests.

  • When: Wednesday, May 26, in The Planetarium
  • Cost: $5 for members of the Discovery Society; $8 for all others
  • Advance registration required. To ensure social distancing, we will be unable to accommodate walk-ins.
  • 5:30pm registration
  • The 7pm show is sold out

The Bishop Announces New CEO

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature Announces New CEO

Today the Board of Trustees of The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature announced the Museum’s next Chief Executive Officer. Hillary Spencer will succeed the Museum’s longtime leader, Brynne Anne Besio, who announced her retirement in January.

Spencer has more than 20 years of leadership experience in museums focused on art, anthropology, science and natural history, creating spaces that welcome diverse voices and serve the community, while implementing strategic business plans to ensure organizational success. She has extensive experience in business development with a global network, focusing on traveling exhibitions and resource exchange. Her proven ability to develop and implement successful business plans that diversify and re-imagine both earned and contributed revenue streams has resulted in increased cash flow, brand awareness and market share. She is a thought leader in educational leadership and is an active voice in the future of museums.

Hillary Spencer

Spencer joins The Bishop most recently from The Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, S.C., where she served as President and CEO. She previously served as Director of Nomad Exhibitions and worked for over a decade at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). In her role as Assistant Director of Global Business Development at AMNH, Spencer managed the operations and strategy for the traveling exhibitions, planetarium shows and licensing and publishing.

In addition to her time at AMNH, Spencer has produced exhibitions with global partners including Papalote Museo del Niño in Mexico City; Parque Explora in Medellín, Colombia; Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria; Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris; Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France; National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung, Taiwan; and The Field Museum in Chicago. She is a board member for the International Committee for Exhibition Exchange (ICOM) and a Getty Leadership Institute alum.

The Bishop grew and evolved significantly during Brynne Anne’s tenure,” said Board Chair Brian Carter. “In the past five years alone, the Museum put a new emphasis on creating experiences to inspire curiosity and discovery, opened a new education wing as well as the Mosaic Backyard Universe, developed new work and education spaces, and even unveiled a new name and brand. Today, we’re looking forward to welcoming Hillary to the leadership role and are excited about what she will bring to the Museum.”

“The pandemic changed our communities in so many ways,” said incoming Board Chair Elizabeth Baran. “Moving forward means that we need to continue to focus on our strategic goals and initiatives while also recognizing and adapting to new post-Covid realities. We’re standing at a historic juncture — not just for our Museum, but for our community — and we’re pleased to welcome Hillary to help us move forward.”

Spencer first visited The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature in 2016 when the AMNH exhibition Dinosaur Discoveries was on loan to the Museum. “I’ve been increasingly impressed with the Museum’s vision ever since,” she said. “I think we have an amazing opportunity to showcase the Museum as a thought leader in science and education while building upon the community-centered experience it offers. I’m excited to help The Bishop reach and exceed its strategic goals.”

Spencer will take The Bishop’s helm on May 3. Brynne Anne Besio will help support Spencer’s transition in a consulting role.

As the largest natural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, The Bishop offers fun and engaging exhibitions and programs that interpret the scientific knowledge of Florida, the world and the universe. In addition to permanent exhibitions, The Bishop features a constantly changing lineup of special exhibitions. The Museum is also home to the all-digital Planetarium — the only one of its kind on Florida’s Gulf Coast — the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, focused on rehabilitating sick or injured manatees for their return to the wild, and the Mosaic Backyard Universe, an indoor exhibition built especially for young children and their families.

Manatees Returned to the Wild

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature Returns Two Manatees to the Wild

Animal care staff from The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature released two manatees on Thursday, February 18, 2021 — another successful release that will allow the two female manatees to return to the wild with the hope that someday they might help sustain and build the manatee population.

“It was great being able to get Felicia and Viva back to the wild,” said Virginia Edmonds, Director of Animal Care for The Bishop. “While they are a little too immature to reproduce at this time, we hope now that they’re back in the wild, they’ll continue to grow in size and experience to become successful mothers in the future.”

The manatees were released at the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center on Apollo Beach with help from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, TECO staff and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute.

About the Manatees

  • Felicia was rescued from Ruskin Inlet April 22, 2019, with her mother after her mother suffered a watercraft injury. Felicia’s mother did not survive. When we returned Felicia to the wild on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, she weighed 530 pounds and was 7.7 feet long.
  • Viva was rescued on Nov. 11, 2019, from Pine Island Sound near Captiva Island in Lee County suffering from the effects of red tide. When we returned her to the wild on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, she weighed 510 pounds and was 7 feet long.

Before her release, Viva was outfitted with a satellite-linked transmitter that will allow researchers, biologists and organizations like The Bishop that were involved in an aspect of her rescue and rehabilitation to follow her return to the wild to monitor her health and movements. The public can watch her movements online at www.ManateeRescue.org.

The Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat at The Bishop is a Stage 2 rehabilitation facility — one of the places where manatees can come after their critical health needs have been taken care of. Its main tasks are bringing rehabilitating manatees, usually those rescued as orphans, up to the right size and weight for release or, if the animals were sick or injured, allowing them to finish the healing process. Typically, animals remain at The Bishop anywhere from a few months to more than a year.

Now that the Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat is empty, Museum staff will use this opportunity to make some upgrades to the facility, including renovations that will allow future rehabilitation manatees a more naturally stimulating environment with variable depth and substrate with the goal of helping them transition even more successfully from rehabilitation back to the wild. The habitat will reopen later this spring.

The Bishop has been doing manatee rehabilitation since 1998 and was a founding partner of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, a cooperative group of nonprofit, private, state and federal organizations that participate in manatee population management or manatee rescue and rehabilitation.

In all, The Bishop has cared for more than 40 manatees, including Viva and Felicia.

You Can Help Wild Manatees

  • Boat Safe: Follow all posted speed limits and place a spotter on your boat to watch out for marine life.
  • Call: If you see a sick or injured manatee, you can help by calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.
  • Donate: You can help support manatee rehabilitation at The Bishop by making a donation to our annual fund online at www.BishopScience.org/donate

New Planetarium Show Now Open

New Planetarium Show Now Open!

Have you ever wondered what happens when a star is born? Our newest Planetarium show helps you find out!
“Sea of Stars: Sail Through the Milky Way” takes you on a journey to visit baby stars in a stellar nursery, see the nebulas left by dead stars (like the one pictured to the right), and explore the supermassive black hole at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. Prepare to be star struck!
Also showing: “Mars Revealed,” where we fly you from Earth to the Martian surface where you’ll discover some of the geographical features that could indicate whether life ever existed on the Red Planet, and “Flight Through Our Solar System,” which takes you from the sun past Pluto to the icy outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud.

Show Times

“Mars Revealed”

  • 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday

“Sea of Stars: Sail Through the Milky Way”

  • 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 1 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday

“Flight Through Our Solar System”

  • Noon and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday
Planetarium shows are included in the price of admission. Due to social distancing guidelines, guests are asked to sign up for their preferred showtimes when they arrive at the Museum.

Badlands to Bradenton

After 35 Million Years, New Special Exhibition Brings the Nebraska Badlands to Bradenton’s Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Opening Jan. 28, Badlands to Bradenton focuses on the fossil finds from summer paleontology digs and the benefits to Manatee County teachers and their students

Since 2011, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature has partnered with the Toomey Foundation for the Natural Sciences to lead more than 50 Manatee County teachers on paleontology expeditions to the Nebraska Badlands, allowing them to gain hands-on experience they can bring back to their classrooms.

Starting Jan. 28, The Bishop will share these expeditions with guests through its newest special exhibition, Badlands to Bradenton: Lessons from the Field, which showcases some of the most fascinating fossil finds and tells the story of these summer paleontology digs and how they can support learning.

  • Badlands to Bradenton: Lessons from the Field will be open through June 6 and visiting is included in the price of admission.

Badlands to Bradenton features fossils of:

  • Brontotheres, a group of extinct mammals that may be related to today’s horses and rhinos.
  • Poebrotherium, early camels that grazed North America’s grassland for about 32 million years. Although today we associate camels with Africa and Asia, they originated in North America.
  • Oreodonts, a larger group of herbivores that ranged from rabbit-sized to sheep-sized. These are the fossils teachers find most often. Oreodont fossils have also been found in Florida: A larger species was discovered in Columbia County in 2003.
  • Predators such as Hyaenadon and the false saber cat Hoplophoneus.

A fossil of a Brontothere, also known as a Titanothere, found on a dig. This group of extinct mammals may be related to today’s horses and rhinos.

“Thanks to the Museum’s partnership with the Toomey Foundation, we’re able to lead expeditions to the White River Formation in Nebraska where we can offer teachers the experience of being on a real dig — finding and excavating fossils — so they can share their knowledge with their students,” said Matthew D. Woodside, The Bishop’s Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions. “This new special exhibition brings the wonder of those discoveries home to Bradenton.”

Badlands to Bradenton also includes interactive features for smartphones and tablets, including 3D models of fossils and paleoart commissioned especially for the exhibition.

Why Nebraska? Millions of years ago, Nebraska looked like today’s Everglades: Shallow rivers and mucky floodplains supported a variety of mammals. But as Nebraska dried up, many of the mammals became extinct and their remains captured in the rock, creating the fossil-rich Badlands we know today.

“Florida was once home to species similar to those that roamed in the Badlands, but Florida’s geology has developed differently over the past 30 million years, including a relatively recent period where much of the land mass that holds the fossil record was covered with water,” said Tish Sacks, The Bishop’s Director of Education. “Fortunately, the Badlands digs offer an opportunity for teachers to explore this period of natural history. We bring the teachers out of their comfort zone and inspire them to learn new skills in an environment they’ve never encountered before. That challenge to explore something new sparks discussion, energy and ideas for the classroom.”

  • Badlands to Bradenton: Lessons from the Field is generously sponsored by the Toomey Family.

Bradenton entrepreneur Jim Toomey started fossil hunting when he was a boy growing up on Sanibel. He frequented the Apac mine in Sarasota — today better known as Benderson Park — where he discovered a walrus tusk segment that is now on display at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The former Museum board member worked closely with staff from The Bishop to develop the Badlands expeditions to help encourage a love of science in local students. Each year, teachers apply to take part in the expeditions. They provide their own transportation to Nebraska, but once they arrive, their expenses are covered by the expedition.

“I wanted to make these digs available to teachers because I felt they would have the greatest impact on helping kids learn about science today,” Toomey said. “It also teaches kids that no matter what background you are from, anyone can have the opportunity to make a discovery!”

After a fossil is uncovered, it must be jacketed so it can be removed from the ground without falling apart. In jacketing, a plaster covering is molded over and around a fossil to hold it together, then it is removed from the ground. Once back at the Museum, it can be uncovered. In the image on the left, teachers learn about jacketing a fossil. In the image on the right, the team jackets a fossil so it can be removed from the ground.

Doscal the Manatee Returned to the Wild

Manatee Awareness Month certainly brought The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature something to celebrate as we returned Doscal to the wild on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, from Horton Park in Cape Coral.

Doscal was a young orphaned, emaciated calf weighing just under 400 pounds when he was rescued from the Orange River in Fort Myers and taken to SeaWorld for initial treatment in April 2019. He came to The Bishop’s Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat in December 2019 and, by the time of his release, he weighed 656 pounds!

“We’ve been feeding Doscal hydrilla and other native vegetation to get him ready for the food he’ll be eating in the wild,” said Virginia Edmonds, Director of Animal Care. “Feeding wild foods like this is one way we help prepare our manatees for their return to the wild. Not only does it get them accustomed to the foods they’ll find in the wild, it also helps maintain gut bacteria that will aid in digesting a wild diet. ”

The Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat at The Bishop is a Stage 2 rehabilitation facility — the place where manatees come after their critical health needs have been taken care of. Its main tasks are bringing rehabilitating manatees, rescued as orphans, up to the right size and weight for release or, if the animals were sick or injured, allowing them to finish the healing process. Typically, animals remain at The Bishop anywhere from a few months to more than a year.

Staff and volunteers from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute assisted with the release. Before he was returned to the wild, Doscal was outfitted with a special tracking tag by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute. The tag will allow us to continue to monitor him in the wild. The public can also watch his movements at www.ManateeRescue.org.

“We’re very happy to see Doscal return to the wild,” Edmonds said. “The tag will allow us to monitor his progress and we feel like he will do great!”

The Bishop has been doing manatee rehabilitation since 1998 and was a founding partner of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, a cooperative group of nonprofit, private, state and federal organizations that participate in manatee population management or manatee rescue and rehabilitation.

In all, The Bishop has cared for more than 40 manatees, including Viva and Felicia, who remain in our care. You can visit Viva and Felicia at The Bishop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. every Sunday.

Given her mother’s injuries and subsequent death, Felicia could be a poster child for Manatee Awareness Month, which was designated by the state of Florida to help remind boaters that manatees are beginning to move from summer feeding grounds to warmer water for the winter, and that to be manatee friendly they should follow safe boating guidelines and manatee speed zone designations.

“There are a few things you can watch out for when you’re boating,” Edmonds said. “First of all, wearing polarized sunglasses help cut through the water’s glare and give you a better chance of seeing manatees in the water. You can also watch out for manatee snouts, as they come to the surface to breathe, along with the ‘footprint’ manatees make with their tails as they swim.”

You Can Help Manatees!

  • Boat Safe: Follow all posted speed limits and place a spotter on your boat to watch out for marine life.

  • Call: If you see a sick or injured manatee, you can help by calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.

  • Donate: You can help support manatee rehabilitation at The Bishop by making a donation to our annual fund online at www.BishopScience.org/donate

Celebrate Manatees with The Bishop in November

Did you know that manatees can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes while they rest? Or that they have a never-ending supply of teeth — called marching molars — that move forward from the back of their jaw as their old molars wear down and fall out?

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is celebrating these fun manatee traits and more as we host special activities for Manatee Awareness Month throughout November. Manatee Awareness Month was designated by the state to help remind boaters that manatees are beginning to move from summer feeding grounds to warm water for the winter, and that to be manatee friendly they should follow safe boating guidelines and manatee speed zone designations.

The Bishop is planning special activities in November to highlight these gentle giants that call our coastal waterways home, and our work to help return sick and injured manatees to the wild.

As a Stage 2 Manatee Rehabilitation Facility, The Bishop has been doing manatee rehabilitation since 1998 and was a founding partner of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, a cooperative group of nonprofit, private, state and federal organizations that participate in manatee population management or manatee rescue and rehabilitation.

In all, The Bishop has helped care for 42 manatees, including the three in our care in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat right now:

  • Felicia could be a poster child for Manatee Awareness Month. She’s a female manatee that was rescued from Ruskin Inlet April 22, 2019, with her mother after her mother suffered a watercraft injury. Felicia’s mother did not survive and we’ve been helping Felicia grow and receive pre-release conditioning for her release to the wild.
  • Doscal is a male manatee that is also about 7 feet long and weighed 347 pounds upon arrival. He was an orphan who was found emaciated when he was rescued from the Orange River in Lee County on April 3, 2019.
  • Viva is a female manatee about 6.5 feet long, weighing about 332 pounds. She was rescued on Nov. 11, 2019, from Pine Island Sound near Captiva Island in Lee County suffering from the effects of red tide.

You can meet Felicia, Doscal and Viva when you come for a Museum visit. Our Animal Care team is in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat at The Bishop most of the time to talk with you about these unique marine mammals. And be sure not to miss these upcoming activities!

Your health and safety, and that of our staff and volunteers, is our first priority and it’s important to us that you feel safe and comfortable as you enjoy your time with us. Please visit our website to learn more about the changes we’ve implemented — from requiring masks to a new one-way route through the Museum — as you plan your next visit to The Bishop, https://bishopscience.org/welcome-back/.

Manatee Awareness Month Activities

Noon Monday, Nov. 2: Facebook Live stream with The Bishop’s Animal Care staff

We kick off our month-long celebration of Manatee Awareness Month with a Facebook Live all about these fascinating animals — the official marine mammal of Florida! Ask our Animal Care expert anything you’d like to know about the wild manatees in our care, or about manatees in general.

Noon on Mondays: Manatee Mondays Minute of Zen

We all need a little extra zen on Mondays! Check out our Facebook page on Mondays for new videos of the manatees in our care doing what they do best — eating and swimming! (Note: The live stream on Facebook will take place at noon on Nov. 2 instead of the Minute of Zen.)

7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11: think + drink / science

During think + drink / science, the day’s expert begins the evening with a presentation then we open the floor for discussion. Join us on Zoom as we host Dr. James “Buddy” Powell, Executive Director of Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, who has spent 40 years studying and conserving manatees for “Manatees and Mermaids: A Perspective from 40 Years in the Field Studying Florida’s Beloved Marine Mammal.”

He’ll share myths and legends surrounding manatees, current threats to their survival, and a brief history of manatee research and conservation, along with some of his field experiences with manatees in several countries.

  • Where: On Zoom
  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Registration

think + drink/science is sponsored by WUSF, a corporate partner of The Bishop.

2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21: “Manatee Mythbusters”

Join us for a deep dive into manatees! How do they get so big by eating only sea grasses? How do they sleep? Do they live in herds? Join a member of our Animal Care team to sort fact from fiction.

  • Where: On Zoom
  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Registration

3 p.m. every Saturday in November: Tales Under the Tree

During our children’s story time on our Facebook page, every book we feature will be about manatees. Some will even be read by special guests — members of our Animal Care staff!

Water’s Extreme Journey Opens Wednesday

Become a Water Drop and Take an Extreme Journey through The Bishop’s Newest Special Exhibition

Water’s Extreme Journey, opening this Wednesday, Sept. 23, transforms visitors into rain droplets and sends them on a quest for clean water as the Museum celebrates Our Blue Planet

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is continuing its year-long celebration of Our Blue Planet with the Wednesday, Sept. 23, opening of its newest special exhibition: the Wyland-inspired Water’s Extreme Journey.

The exhibition, which includes sections in Spanish, is in the Museum’s East Gallery. It transforms visitors into raindrops and sends them through a maze depicted as our watershed — a journey that takes them through mountains, streams, wetlands and even their own backyards — all while trying to steer clear of pollution and ultimately reach a healthy ocean.

This a-mazing experience engages visitors through play, scientific inquiry, art and action, illuminating human impacts great and small while teaching how to contribute to healthy, safe water in their community and beyond.

The Bishop is a natural science and history museum on Florida’s Gulf coast, so clean water and healthy watersheds are fundamental topics for us,” said Matthew D. Woodside, the Museum’s  Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions. “But water is also so abundant here that we may not always ‘see’ it. This exhibition helps to showcase its role in our lives and how our simple daily activities can have lasting impacts.

“The maze is a fun way to illustrate the science of water and our stewardship of it. Where does pollution come from? How do we contribute? These are especially important questions in a community so close to the water’s edge.”

Water’s Extreme Journey was developed by Minotaur Mazes in partnership with renowned artist Wyland, best known for the marine life murals he painted around the world between 1981 and 2008. “With a little luck, and a few attempts, visitors learn how to make cleaner choices and discover the rewards of a healthy ocean,” says Wyland.

Visitors can continue the celebration of Our Blue Planet as they explore the rest of the Museum, learning about the role water played in the lives of Florida’s earliest inhabitants — from animals to humans — in the Great Hall, Land of Change, Fabulous Florida Seas and Archaic Peoples galleries and exhibitions on the Museum’s first floor. In the second floor galleries, the River Heritage Hall examines the economics, government, culture, and geography of the community with a focus of local maritime history, and the Environmental Hall allows guests to discover riverine, pine uplands, estuary and Gulf ecosystems.

Visitors can also have a “(Virtual) Water Adventure” through Pathways, the Museum’s free tour app. This special guide helps guests learn fun and fascinating connections among history, science and nature. Simply download the free app on your smartphone or tablet and bring it with you — or use it at home.

“And, of course, the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat allows guests to meet one of our local species that also depends on clean water: manatees,” Woodside said. “In Southwest Florida, water really is everywhere we look and it impacts our lives in big and small ways every day. What’s not to celebrate?”

Water’s Extreme Journey is open to the public Sept. 23 through Jan. 3, 2021. Visiting the exhibition is included in the price of admission. Please note that visitors older than age 2 are required to wear masks. Plan your visit at www.BishopScience.org/welcome-back.

Celebrate “Mars Month” at The Bishop

Mars Takes Center Stage During Month-Long Celebration of the Red Planet at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Jupiter and Saturn also make special appearances during “Mars Month”

Humans have long been fascinated by Mars — for its proximity in our solar system, its similar features to Earth, the possibility that it once may have held life and even for the possibility that it could be a destination for the survival of humankind.

We got our first good look at Mars when Mariner 4 took pictures as it made its closest approach to the planet in July 1965. We made our first landing there in 1976 and, in February 2021, we’re scheduled to land Perseverance, which will undertake the most technologically advanced exploration of the Red Planet yet.

Here on Earth, Mars is growing ever closer to us as it nears opposition (on the opposite side of the sun from the Earth) on Oct. 13, presenting the best opportunity for viewing the planet in nearly two decades — an event ripe for celebration. And The Bishop is doing just that for “Mars Month,” a series of special Mars-centric online and in-person programs throughout September and October.

“Mars has fascinated backyard astronomers, scientists, and people around the world for thousands of years,” said Howard Hochhalter, Manager of The Planetarium at The Bishop. “Authors have been writing about it since Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli first described the shading on its surface. In our collective imagination, we’re either being invaded by it like in War of the Worlds or we’re conquering it like in The Martian. But whether it’s fear or fascination, the Red Planet certainly holds our attention. So why not use opposition as an opportunity to celebrate it?”

“Mars Month” programs at The Bishop will explore everything from how we launch the rockets that will get us to Mars to myths about Mars, and even opportunities for in-person viewing.

“September and October offer the best opportunities for viewing Mars,” Hochhalter said. “But that’s not the only cool thing happening in our night skies this fall. Jupiter and Saturn are also working up to a spectacular action of their own as they move toward the Great Conjunction, which will take place in December. That means they’re getting closer and closer to each other — it’s like starting the countdown for the ball to drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Except the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter happens only once every 20 years.”

Mars Month Programs & Registration

BONUS: Download this FREE star chart to see where to find Mars when it’s at opposition on October 13!

We’re celebrating “Mars Month” with both online and in-person programs. For events at the Museum, we will follow social distancing measures and limit capacity. Masks are required for all staff and visitors over the age of 2.

7pm Sept. 9: think + drink / science: “Is it Rocket Science?”

During think + drink / science, the day’s expert begins the evening with a presentation then we open the floor for discussion. On Sept. 9, Propulsion Engineer Amy Besio will join us for a rocket-focused virtual program on Zoom. How are rockets designed? What do we need to escape Earth’s gravity? You’ll get an insider’s look at current space vehicles and Besio’s unique perspective on what it will take to get us to Mars. The presentation will be followed by Q&A.

  • Cost: $3 for members of The Bishop’s Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Where: On Zoom
  • Register now

10:30am Sept. 12: KidSpace

We unleash the awesome power of the universe during this virtual program on Zoom as we talk about our solar system, our galaxy and our universe. We’ll have a special focus on Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. KidSpace is designed for grades 1-5 and their grown-ups, but everyone is welcome!

4pm Sept. 19: Intro to Mars

Join The Bishop’s Planetarium Manager Howard Hochhalter for this virtual program on Zoom as members of the local astronomy club, the Local Group of Deep Sky Observers, join us for a beginners’ discussion about Mars.

  • Cost: $3 for members of The Bishop’s Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Where: On Zoom
  • Register now

7pm Sept. 23: Stelliferous

Planetarium Manager Howard Hochhalter takes you on a live guided tour of the night skies. His focus will include Mars, of course, along with Jupiter, Saturn and what’s happening with the constellations. Then, he’ll open the floor for an always-fun question and answer session. Stelliferous is great for curious adults and inquisitive kids alike.

  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Where: On Zoom
  • Register now

10:30am Sept. 26: KidSpace

We unleash the awesome power of the universe during this virtual program on Zoom as we talk about our solar system, our galaxy and our universe. We’ll have a special focus on Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. KidSpace is designed for grades 1-5 and their grown-ups, but everyone is welcome!

4:30 & 6pm Oct. 6: Members’ Night Exclusive

Members of The Bishop’s Discovery Society are invited to join us in-person at the Museum for a fascinating Mars-focused show in The Planetarium and other exclusive access.

8pm Oct. 9: Mars Viewing Opportunity

Join us for an evening outdoor observing program in The Bishop’s North Plaza to view Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn through telescopes. Experience the awe-inspiring wonder of backyard astronomy for yourself! (Please note: Rain date is Oct. 10.)

  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Where: At The Bishop
  • Register now

10:30am Oct. 10: KidSpace

We unleash the awesome power of the universe during this virtual program on Zoom as we talk about our solar system, our galaxy and our universe. We’ll have a special focus on Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. KidSpace is designed for grades 1-5 and their grown-ups, but everyone is welcome!

4pm Oct. 10: IQuest “Mission to Mars”

IQuest is a monthly drop-off program for smart, curious middle school students in grades 6 through 8. On Oct. 10, we’ll focus on Mars: When will we go there? What would it be like to live there? Kids will explore the challenges and imagine the future of this next great adventure for humankind!

  • Cost: $8 (includes pizza and a drink); paid reservations required before 11 a.m. Oct. 10
  • Where: At The Bishop
  • Register now

Noon Oct. 13: Star Talk Tuesday

It’s the big day! Join us on Facebook as we focus our Star Talk Tuesday weekly program on Mars at opposition!

  • Cost: Free
  • Where: On The Bishop’s Facebook page
  • No registration required

10:30am Oct. 17: Ask Howard Anything: Mars Edition

Have a question about Mars? Now’s your opportunity to Ask Howard Anything during this virtual program on Zoom. Planetarium manager Howard Hochhalter will be joined by members from the Local Group of Deep Sky Observers, who will share their knowledge as well.

  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Where: On Zoom
  • Register now

7pm Oct. 21: Mars Myths

Mars has inspired the mythologies of cultures around the world for thousands of years. Join The Bishop Curator Tiffany Birakis as she explores some of the enduring myths surrounding the Red Planet, and how these ancient myths have influenced our current cultural beliefs.

  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Where: On Zoom
  • Register now

Small Wonders Exhibition Expanded

The Bishop Expands Special Exhibition of Small Wonders: Insects in Focus with New Photos

Plus: Our newest Pathways tour investigates the world of insects

Several new images are on view for the first time at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature as part of its special exhibition, Small Wonders: Insects in Focus. In addition to the photos that have been on display in the Museum’s second-floor galleries since Small Wonders opened in June, the expansion includes eight new images now on display in the West Hall, located on the Museum’s first floor just north of the Planetarium lobby.

In the exhibition’s series of images, photographer and artist Bob Sober used cutting-edge technology and custom methods to put tiny insects on a human scale, allowing visitors to see the patterns, textures, colors and details that have always been present in these animals, but often-times too small for us to appreciate.

Sober uses extreme macro photography and focus stacking to allow us to see insects in new ways. Focus stacking is a digital image processing technique that combines multiple images of a subject taken at different focus distances to give the resulting image a greater depth of field than would be possible in just a single image. The interpretive panels for each picture quantify the number of photographs that Sober used to create the final images — from 450 to more than 1,000!

The expansion of the special exhibition also includes a new digital experience called Insects Investigated. Available via a QR code at the Museum or through The Bishop’s own free Pathways digital app, guests can learn more about insects and the roles they play in our daily lives. Pathways is a digital tour guide tailored to The Bishop’s collections that helps guests learn about the fun and fascinating connections among history, science and nature. The app is free in Google Play and Apple’s App Store. (Search for Bishop Pathways.)

“We’re offering these new images for people who enjoy visiting The Bishop in person, and the Insects Investigated digital experience can enhance the Small Wonders special exhibition for our visitors. For those who are not yet comfortable leaving their homes for anything except necessities, Insects Investigated can also stand as its own exploration of the fascinating world of insects,” said Matthew D. Woodside, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions at The Bishop. “We are striving to meet the educational and entertainment needs of everyone — whether they’re able to visit us at The Bishop in person or not.”

Small Wonders: Insects in Focus is sponsored at the Museum by Dr. Chet and Elena Baran and will be open through Oct. 18. Visiting is included in the price of admission. Small Wonders: Insects in Focus is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.