On View: Spiders Invade the American Museum of Natural History

Spiders — plenty of them — are in New York City to help celebrate summer at the American Museum of Natural History in Spiders Alive!  From Charlotte’s Web and Spider-Man to Arachnophobia and Tarantula spiders have inspired the good, the bad and the ugly.

Spiders Alive! at the American Museum of Natural History

Spiders Alive! at the American Museum of Natural History

Now it’s your chance to get up close and personal with 20 species of live arachnids including tarantulas, black widows and the goliath bird eater — one of the largest spiders in the world.

Spiders Alive! explores the diversity, history, anatomy and behavior of arachnids including their finely-tuned defense mechanisms. Spiders evolved more than 300 million years ago and pre-date the dinosaurs. Scientists have identified more than 44,500 different species which inhabit every continent except Antarctica. They have adapted to survive in ecosystems that range from deserts and rain forests to urban dwellings. Their role in their ecosystems and how they are studied by scientists are part of the exhibition’s many educational displays.

In addition to live spiders, which brave museum will handle so you can get a good look, Spiders Alive! includes “larger-than-life” models, videos and fossils.

Spiders Alive! is on view at the American Museum of Natural History from July 4, 2014 through November 2, 2014.