A Step-by-Step Guide to Exploring “The Power of Poison”

On May 26, you’ll have the opportunity to experience our newest and most ambitious special exhibition to date, The Power of Poison: From the Depths of the Sea to Your Own Backyard. You’ll discover poison and venom’s power as it seeps through the walls of our museum in a toxin takeover of the entire campus! From new exhibits and experiences, to dynamic new live shows and a digital scavenger hunt, it’ll be an experience you don’t want to miss.

Spanning the rooftop and the depths of the aquarium, this is our largest special exhibition to date. Throughout your exploration, look for the #ToxinTakeoverMiami stickers. They denote exhibits that are part of the takeover and will help identify which things are poisonous or venomous.


Because of the extensive nature of this exhibition, we’ve pulled together a user-friendly guide aimed at helping you navigate all the exhibits while making the most of your visit.

New Exhibits

1. The Power of Poison: From the Depths of the Sea to Your Own Backyard

Located in the Hsiao Family Special Exhibition Gallery on Level 1, The Power of Poison exhibition explores poison’s role in nature, literature, and culture, while taking a deeper look at the toxic species that reside in ecosystems both in Florida and around the world.

Take a peek at some our live poisonous and venomous species—including the dart frog and a tarantula—after walking through an immersive replica of Colombia’s Chocó Forest. Then, immerse yourself in the world of poisonous potions featured in fairy tales and literary works like Macbeth, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter, before joining us for “A Tale of Toxicology”—a thrilling live investigation into the science behind poison, its interaction with the human body and the experiments behind its detection.

You can also channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and solve a poison “Whodunit!” on one of the iPad-powered tableaus in the exhibition.

2. Aquarium: The Vista

Slither by venomous snake species and learn about their toxic attributes on the Vista.

3. Aquarium: Toxin Takeover on the Dive

Navigate your way through the Dive level of the Aquarium, where you’ll learn about the differences between poison and venom and discover the diverse array of toxins that have evolved in the marine environment. You’ll also explore the role that venom plays in the ecological strategies of these organisms and how these compounds have been used to develop novel medicines. Along the way, you’ll uncover fascinating facts about dart frogs, boxfish, pufferfish and more!

4. Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Scientific Illustrations

On the Dive level of the Aquarium, take a peek at eight illustrations featuring some of the poisonous and venomous creature that lurk beneath the ocean’s surface. These illustrations are from the American Museum of Natural History Library’s Rare Book collection and are part of our new Opulent Oceans exhibition.

*Bonus: You can explore more of Opulent Oceans throughout all five levels of the museum’s North Wing. The new exhibition explores the integral role illustration has played in undersea exploration and discovery through 55 exquisite, large-format reproductions from 33 rare and beautifully illustrated scientific works adapted from Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibition is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org).

5. Aquarium: The Deep

Dive into the Deep level of our Aquarium, where venomous moon jellies, spotted lagoon jellies and Japanese sea nettles float serenely through their watery habitat.

6. Butterfly Garden

Wing it on the rooftop terrace and observation deck with Monarch butterflies and their poisonous meal of choice: milkweed.

7. Inventors in Residence Lab

Stop by our Inventors in Residence Lab on Level 5 of the North Wing where scientists are using lasers to analyze samples for the presence of carcinogens and other toxins.

8. Toxic Treatments: Modern Medicine from Ancient Wisdom

While you’re in the Hsiao Family Special Exhibition Gallery exploring The Power of Poison exhibition, take a moment to study 12 framed scientific illustrations on display from professional botanical artist Donna Torres. Each piece of art has been hand-selected by Frost Science and features plant-based toxins that are used for medicinal purposes including mandrake, belladonna and the strychnine tree.

Also, keep an eye out for these new live shows and demonstrations:

A Tale of Toxicology

Located in The Power Poison, Hsiao Family Special Exhibition Gallery
Join us for a thrilling investigation into the science behind poison, its interaction with the human body and the experiments behind its detection.
Live show times: 11:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Video version, every 15 mins between live show times

Stomach-Turning Toxins

Located on the Level 3 Outdoor Terrace
We, as humans, need food to survive and thrive. But what happens when our food becomes contaminated? Bacteria, viruses, parasites and other toxic substances can make their way into what we eat. Thankfully, the human body rapidly springs into action to rid itself of these harmful toxins. This riveting 10-minute live show simulates what happens when contaminated food needs to come back up, and how the amazing human body reacts to protect itself.
*This demo will be rotated throughout various Spark of Science presentations which occur:
Monday – Friday: 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m.

And don’t forget to take part in our new digital scavenger hunt on the Frost Science app! You can earn the new Toxin Takeover badge by tracking down poisonous plants and venomous animals on each floor of the museum while learning about the differences between poison and venom.




The Power of Poison will be on view from Saturday, May 26, 2018 through Monday, September 3, 2018. Admission to The Power of Poison is included in all museum admission tickets. For more information on the exhibition, events and programming, visit frostscience.org/poison.

The exhibition is supported locally by Jackson Health System and Florida Poison Information Center-Miami. The Power of Poison is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org).