Hi! My name is Rana
I live in the Naturalia Room at the Montréal Biodôme.
Let me introduce myself. I'm Rana. It's a pretty name, don't you think? I'm a girl, in case you couldn't tell. Would you like to sit down with me and croak for a minute?
I'll tell you a secret. One day, I hopped away from the Laurentian Forest, because I wanted to explore the other ecosystems.
I finally ended up here in the Naturalia room, and I loved it so much that I decided to stay. For someone who's as curious as I am, Naturalia is a dream come true! You can hop around and touch things, feel them, try them out... It's great! All the kids who come here with their parents and teachers just love it.
You can find out more about how plants and animals adapt to their surroundings
Naturalia is a fan-tas-tic place. You can have fun and learn something at the same time! It's divided up into five sections where you can find out how plants and animals adjust to their environments:
- how they adapt to their habitat,
- the weather,
- how they travel,
- about their senses,
- how they defend themselves
- and what they eat...
What's that you say? What does "adapt" mean? Oh, sorry. Well, it's... uh... like certain animals can do special things. Take snakes for example, although I usually don't like to talk about snakes. I never really believed what people said about how much those nasty creatures could eat at once, until I took a close look at a snake's mouth and skull one day. And do you know what?
They can actually swallow a meal bigger than they are, even bigger than a frog! It made me even more determined to stay away from them, let me tell you.
Touching is allowed in the Naturalia Room
That's how you learn ...
The great thing about the Naturalia room is that you learn things "first hand," you might say. Kids can stroke an otter pelt, pick up a bone from a bird to see how light it is, smell different spices and try to tell them apart, inspect a backbone from a real whale (it's huge!), compare birds' beaks, look at a feather under a microscope, count the feet on an insect, a spider and a centipede ... There's all kinds of things you can do. You're supposed to touch things!
But it's not just kids who find out about nature here. Even I learn some things. I've learned about humans, and how many of your inventions were actually inspired by nature. And the children teach me things, too. Why just yesterday, I heard Matthew telling his dad that the biggest penguins live near the South Pole, while the smaller ones - though they aren't really penguins - live near the North Pole. I'd never thought about it before, but when I got out a measuring stick and checked some of the mounted specimens here in the Naturalia room, I found he was right! Matthew told me that the bigger birds produce more heat, and so they're better adapted (there's that word again) to the intense cold at the South Pole.
And there are games and all kinds of things to play with!
Nature interpreters in the Naturalia Discovery Room
I hardly even notice them any more, because they're always there, to answer your questions, play games and give demonstrations for little kids and big kids, too. Nathalie, who comes to see me down here all the time, told me the other day that one of the interpreters dropped some water on a wing the other day so that she could see how birds make their feathers waterproof.
The interpreters also work with school groups. Every weekday morning, this place is full of elementary school students who come to join in some great educational programs. We have lots of fun. The best part is when the interpreters take volunteers from the class and turn them into beavers and cacti and fireflies. It's quite a trick. Thank goodness they never turn them into snakes...