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“Birds of Paradise” Show at Acad. of Natural Sciences Includes Mating Dance Simulator

(Kids follow the movements of birds of paradise performing a mating dance on a huge video screen.  Photo by John McDevitt)

(Kids follow the movements of birds of paradise performing a mating dance on a huge video screen. Photo by John McDevitt)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences takes you on a journey to the rainforest of New Guinea and the land of the exotic “birds of paradise.”

A big component of the National Geographic’s “Birds of Paradise” exhibit is the bizarre mating rituals of these extremely rare birds.

(Photo by John McDevitt)

(Photo by John McDevitt)

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One interactive display allows two visitors to compete at mimicking a courtship dance, using a system similar to a home video gaming system’s motion detection feature.

“And we judge who is the best mate based on how good of a dancer they are,” says Jennifer Sontchi, the senior director of exhibits and public spaces at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.  “So this sort of illuminates, in a really fun and family friendly way, a very serious educational and scientific component of the show.”

The Birds of Paradise exhibit runs May 3rd through September 1st at the Academy, on Logan Circle at 19th Street.