Ontario Toronto

Go Batty at the ROM!

When I was a child, spending my summer vacations in rural Portugal, a distant relative of mine pointed to the bats flying around their house and told me to be careful. The story was that the bats were bloodsuckers, who would latch on to any warm-blooded animal, including myself, for a nightly snack.

 

Of course when I saw the creatures on their nocturnal flights, I was afraid. Well, it turns out someone was wrong or just trying to scare me because I found out recently that while there are bats that feed on blood, they are only found in Mexico, Central America and South America. Those vampire bats are no where near Western Europe!

That’s only one of many fascinating facts you’ll learn about bats when you visit the Royal Ontario Museum’s re-vamped Bat Cave Gallery. An already popular spot for kids and adults at the ROM, the new and improved area has much more to offer and will definitely leave visitors astonished as they uncover surprising information on these flying mammals (yes, they are mammals!)

Here’s what you will experience:

  • get personal with bats by seeing extreme closeups of their faces. Pretty spooky stuff especially when you get a nice look at the Ghost-faced Bat.
  • want to learn how bats navigate in the darkness? The whole echolocation process is on display.
  • find out what bats eat while looking at taxidermied specimens.
  • learn more about the history and the research done at the St. Clair Cave in Jamaica, home to thousands of bats. This is the cave the ROM’s bat cave is replicating.
  • be prepared to enter a world where bats rule. In the dim light you will see over 20 specimens and more than 800 models in the cave. There’s so much to see, it’s a good idea to spend some time exploring all the different recesses in the cave where the daily (and nightly) activities of the bats are on display.

As Batman would say: “Come on, Robin, to the Bat Cave! There’s not a moment to lose!”

Story: Anna Rodrigues
Images: Phil Raby

© 2007-2010 Trips with Kids – Unauthorized reproduction of this article, video and images is prohibited.