GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As the Gators prepare to host the University of Hawaii Warriors Saturday, staff at the Florida Museum of Natural History are feverishly readying its popular Megalodon shark exhibit to ship to the Aloha State for the first stop on its national tour.
Museum employees will begin loading the “Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived” exhibit today for the trans-pacific journey to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, where it is scheduled to open Oct. 11.
“Its pure chance that the exhibit’s first stop is Honolulu and that we’re shipping it as the Gators prepare to play Hawaii,” said Darcie MacMahon, Florida Museum assistant director for exhibits. “We had the contract before we knew the Gators would be playing Hawaii, but we’re thrilled to be part of this cultural exchange.”
The Megalodon exhibit features a 60-foot-long walk-through sculpture of the massive shark that vanished nearly 2 million years ago, and highlights the evolution, biology and misconceptions regarding this marine predator.
The Florida Museum developed the exhibit with support from the National Science Foundation and displayed it June 16, 2007, through Jan. 6 to more than 115,000 visitors — a 22 percent increase in visitation from the same time period the previous year.
Some components, including millions-of-years-old shark teeth and other precious artifacts, will be flown to Hawaii, but the bulk of the exhibit will be shipped by sea.
“This has all really been a team effort,” said Florida Museum Megalodon project manager Kurt Auffenberg. “The employees working on the exhibit have really done a great job, and we can’t wait to get this thing on the road – or in this case, on the high seas.”
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