background img

“Creatures of Light” at the DMNS

posted by:

They light up our lives, but have you ever wondered how? Delve into the world of living things that blink, glow, flash and flicker in the new exhibition “Creatures of Light,” opening at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on Feb. 23. This family favorite explores the mysterious world of bioluminescence and biofluorescence, from tiny fireflies to strange creatures in the ocean depths.

This enlightening experience features larger-than-life models, engaging immersive environments, fun activities, and fungi, minerals and live animals that get their glow on. The exhibition is free with general admission.

“Creatures of Light” reveals some of the most magical, wondrous and truly extraordinary creatures and phenomena found in the natural world. The ability to generate light is rare among organisms that live on land. It is much more common in the ocean, where up to 90 percent of animals at depths below 700 meters are bioluminescent. Many of these animals have become particularly compelling to scientists because they may hold important clues to essential questions related to biological research.

In “Creatures of Light,” guests move through a series of re-created environments, from the familiar to the extreme, to explore the variety of ways in which light is used to reproduce, lure unsuspecting prey or defend against predators.

  • Peek into the darkness of a New Zealand cave and look up to see twinkling over your head—not from stars but from simulated glowworms.
  • Stroll across an interactive Puerto Rican lagoon as you light up a trail of flashes from tiny “pyrotechnic” plankton.
  • Explore a North American meadow filled with flashing fireflies and try your hand at re-creating their dazzling mating signals.
  • Marvel at gigantic models of bioluminescent mushrooms, fireflies and jellyfish.
  • Try a digital coral reef activity that shows how corals fluoresce in shades of pink, orange and green.
  • Peer into a tank of live GloFish and discover how fluorescence helps detect pollution and contributes to medical research. 
  • Put minerals and scorpions from the Museum collections, along with everyday objects, to the test in the new “Does It Glow?” activity.
  • Throughout the gallery, you will deepen your experience with videos, animations, photographs and iPads with additional in-depth content.

“Anyone who has seen an animal or a mushroom glow cannot help but assume it is something magical. However, science will eventually explain all of it,” said Dr. Frank Krell, the Museum’s entomologist and curatorial advisor for the exhibition. “The science behind bioluminescence does not explain its enchantment away, rather it makes these phenomena even more fascinating.”

“Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence” is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (, in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada; and The Field Museum, Chicago.

The exhibition will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. February 23 – June 10. For more information, visit

You may also like

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *