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Nano Zoo zooms in on creepy crawlies

Published: 8 December 2022

National Aquarium of New Zealand Nano

Visitors will be able to zoom in and take a closer look at species that can’t be seen with the naked eye at the National Aquarium of New Zealand’s holiday activity ‘Nano Lab’.

Nano Lab runs at the National Aquarium from 17 December – 29 January with four sessions a day. It forms part of the National Aquarium’s ‘Nano Zoo’ project where visitors look at the ‘zoo inside the aquarium’, connecting the less seen ‘nano-world’ to the various species they find there, including humans.  There will be a range of exciting hands-on activities, videos and fun facts.

Amy Stevens, Education Manager at the National Aquarium, has worked closely with NIWA, University of Otago and Florida State University gathering material, videos and imagery. She is excited to be able to share her research and uncover the world of ‘nano’ with visitors.

“Eighty-five percent of the planet is made up of microscopic species, it’s a whole world we don’t see,” says Amy. “Even though we can’t see these species, they play an important part in our ecosystem.  It is a fascinating world and sometimes a bit icky but an absolutely essential part of biodiversity.”

Nano Lab gives visitors the opportunity to delve into this world by becoming a scientist in the nano-themed lab. 

Led by the National Aquarium’s team of educators, budding scientists will stare down the barrel of a microscope to view astonishing slides of species such as parasites, ticks, plankton, tapeworms and dragonfish.  They’ll also make their own slides and examine local pond water to uncover who makes it their home.

Nano Zoo is open 10 December – 7 February as part of general admission. Its off-shoot Nano Lab costs $10 entry fee and is open from 17 Dec to 29 Jan.

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