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Web of wonder: Fernbank Museum’s spider exhibit features 250 spiders

Are spiders a source of fear or fascination for you? Curious about the notorious black widow? Do you know what spiders you’ll find here in Georgia?

The latest exhibit at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History promises to unravel these mysteries and more with its latest offering, “Spiders – From Fear to Fascination.”

Dr. Linda S. Rayor, a prominent spider biologist from Cornell University, spearheads this enlightening exhibit. Reflecting on her own journey into the world of science, Dr. Rayor shares her passion for arachnids.

“Spiders are just fantastic,” Dr. Rayor told WSB-TV’s Nelson Hicks. “Spiders are totally awesome animals and what I think is that this exhibit actually catches that and shares for people who might be nervous or people are already enthusiastic.”

Raylor decided to become a scientist in fifth grade after several visits to a museum similar to Fernbank.

Spanning the exhibit are over 250 live and preserved specimens, most of which originate from Dr. Rayor’s laboratory. From the imposing tarantula to the elusive wolf spider, visitors can marvel at a diverse array of arachnids.

“We’ve got three different species of tarantulas,” Rayor noted. “We’ve got a Huntsman spider, born in my lab. We’ve got bromeliad spiders. We’ve got a Georgia fishing spider. We’ve got wolf spiders. We’ve got black widows, brown recluses and golden orb weavers.”

Among the highlights are interactive experiences, including an augmented reality encounter placing a spider directly in one’s hand. Additionally, visitors can witness captivating scenes from nature showcasing spiders in their element.

Noteworthy displays include a captivating depiction of the spider wasp’s predatory behavior, as well as a comparison between male and female spiders.

Fernbank Museum will host the “Spiders – From Fear to Fascination” exhibit until early May, providing ample opportunity for arachnid enthusiasts and those who would rather run the other way to explore the intricate world of spiders.

Whether you harbor a fear of spiders or hold a fascination, this exhibit promises to challenge perceptions and leave visitors with a newfound appreciation for these often misunderstood creatures.

“What I hope that people take away from this exhibit is some of the interest and passion for spiders,” Rayor said. “Spiders are really, really interesting. Lots of people are scared of spiders but to a large extent, they don’t need to be.”

“Spiders – From Fear to Fascination” is included with regular admission to Fernbank Museum.

This story is sponsored by Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

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