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Forest Secrets at Melbourne Museum

Home > Melbourne > Family | Exhibitions | Environment | Fun for Children | Fun Things To Do | Misc | Museums | Nature
by Debbie Lustig (subscribe)
My work has been published in The Age, The Herald-Sun, The Australian, The Big Issue, Australian Birdlife, The Bark (USA), Eureka Street, Overland and The Australian Jewish News.
Published September 6th 2011
Female Satin Bowerbird at feeder

Forest Secrets gallery is a refreshing, innovative display in the heart of Melbourne Museum. Designed to represent a unique part of Victoria, it's the 'living core' of the building, and houses all manner of wildlife, from frogs to fish, insects and birds.

More zoo than museum, a stroll through the glass doors on the ground floor takes you into a stylised cool temperate rainforest, complete with fern gully, waterfall, rocks, flowers and trees.

Birds fly around freely, limited only by the mesh canopy that soars over 25 metres high.

Superb fairy wrens flit about, jewel-like blue. A tawny frogmouth sits motionless like a Buddha on a log, its bark-coloured feathers expertly blending in. Tiny red-browed finches hop around on the paths. Satin bowerbirds breed here; in spring, an attendant will show you the bower filled with blue knick-knacks designed to tempt lady bowerbirds.

Native galaxia fish swim in a working model billabong, while skinks bask in the sun and enclosed displays feature gorgeous green frogs and a copperhead snake.

In 2010, a bushfire display was added, featuring artifacts and photos from Black Saturday. It reminds us how our southern forests can so easily be devastated by fire.
Superb Fairy Wren

Museums and galleries are traditionally housed in buildings with little natural light, to protect the exhibits. But it's been documented that after two hours, a condition called 'museum fatigue' sets in. Forest Secrets was designed to invigorate visitors, giving them a burst of light and fresh air.

With its towering Mountain Ash trees, its birds and running water, this place is one of the most tranquil spots you'll find inside a building, in the heart of a city.

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Why? Discover Victoria's forest secrets in the heart of the city
When: Daily 10 am to 5 pm. Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Where: Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton
Cost: $10 adults, concessions and children 3-16 years free entry.
Wow - I had no idea the museum had this gallery. Like you say, the perfect antidote to museum fatigue. I must get down there and take a look.
By Sue Williams - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 7th of September @ 01:17 am
Interesting to hear about documented "museum fatigue" - is there a reference for it?
By mario46 - reader
Wednesday, 7th of September @ 01:24 am
Quoted by Discovery Centre staff member at the Museum.
By Debbie Lustig - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 7th of September @ 01:48 am
Wow, my kids would love this.
By Anna Bourozikas - senior reviewer
Thursday, 8th of September @ 04:33 am
Thanks for the photo of the female Bower Bird, Debbie. My kids always have a great time in the Forest Gallery looking at the blue gifts the male has left out to impress his mate, now we know what she looks like and we can have fun trying to spot her out too.
By Melody Clifford - senior reviewer
Friday, 16th of September @ 10:49 am
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