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by Judy Antell


Kermit sang ‘It’s not easy being green,” but visitors to the new exhibit, Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, at the American Museum of Natural History, can see that frogs have an amazing diversity of color. And size, habitat and parenting style. The frogs exhibit appeals to the little kid in all of us, the one who caught frogs in a pond, played leapfrog, or worshipped Kermit. Then there are adults still searching for a frog to turn into a prince. The first thing that sets this exhibit apart from others at the museum is that the frogs are alive. You can't touch them (though you can get plenty of plush or plastic replicas in the gift shop), but you can use little cameras to pan through the exhibit and zoom in on the amphibians. Other interactive components include buttons to hear different frog sounds, “lift the flap" quizzes (you may be surprised to learn that all toads are frogs), and a touch screen where you can virtually dissect a frog. Dart poison frogs have been getting a lot of press; the nine species of frogs on display are actually not poisonous because they've been getting a different diet. Even more interesting are the waxy monkey frogs from Argentina, the Mexican dumpy frogs that live in trees, and the Vietnamese mossy frogs, which are so well camouflaged that visitors are invited to try and find all 14. The exhibit is not too text heavy, and the display cases are low enough so that small children can see if it isn’t too packed. But older children — and adults — can learn a great deal, including the fact that frogs are an indicator of ecological changes. My 6-year-old, the youngest of three, was disturbed to learn that some frogs eat their younger siblings. A hint on the crowding in the small space set aside for the exhibit (between the 77th Street “canoe” entrance and the main gift shop): Don't go exactly when your timed ticket says. On the hour and half-hour, when you can get in, it is too crowded to see or do anything. So wait 15 minutes, and you can see all the frogs undisturbed. Info: Where: American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street When: Open daily, 10am-5:45pm. ‘Frogs: A Chorus of Colors’ is on display through October 3. How much: Timed tickets to the exhibit are $19 adults; $14 students and seniors; $11 children; this includes admission to the museum. For more info: (212) 769-5100; to reserve tickets, call (212) 769-5200; www.amnh.org Note: You can’t bring strollers into the exhibit.


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