Curious about Cuba, but not ready to splurge on flights? You're in luck. ¡Cuba!, a vibrant celebration of the island nation, recently opened for a nine-month run at the American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Although the exhibit's debut seems perfectly timed to coincide with the passing of Fidel Castro, and the recent softening of relations between the United States and Cuba, museum officials said it has been in the works for a century, with AMNH researchers delving in to the country's rich biodiversity for decades, working hand-in-hand with local scientists even while the countries' leadership feuded. It's the largest island (actually an archipelago of 4,000 islands and keys) in the Caribbean, and while it is well known for its cigars, vintage automobiles, politics, and vibrant music, it also boasts a unique natural history, hundreds of plant and animals species you can't find anywhere else, and is one of the most biologically diverse islands on the planet.
The new exhibit honors Cuba's rich history, changing culture, famous Salsa music, cuisine, and incredible biodiversity in an immersive, unexpected way and is presented in both English and Spanish. Kids will enjoy the many hands-on interactives, recreated habitats, and live reptiles and amphibians on display.
It joins several ongoing exhibits at the Natural History museum that are expected to close in January 2017, including Dinosaurs Among Us and Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World. Don't worry, though, that titanosaur is still hanging out on the fourth floor with the rest of the dinos! And don't forget that the seasonal butterfly atrium opens soon, too.