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Fun! Discovery! Wonder! Our galleries and exhibitions offer a new take on nature.

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The New Season

Mark W. Moffett/Minden Pictures


Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants
July 26, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Edward Burtynsky © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto / Howard Greenberg & Bryce Wolkowitz, New York


Edward Burtynsky: Oil
June 1 – September 2, 2013

Joe McDonald © Joe McDonald


Frogs – A Chorus of Colours
September 21, 2013 – May 11, 2014

A raging tornado speeding towards you, a limestone cave ready to be explored, larger-than-life images screaming about human dependence upon oil... these are but a few of the many remarkable elements found in the 2012–13 Exhibition Season of the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The season exploded into action on September 26 with the opening of Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters. Colourful and loaded with great information, this exhibition from The Field Museum in Chicago, U.S.A., reveals the power and fascinating science behind earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and volcanoes, with some real-life moving stories to tell from people who survived them.

On November 30, the museum reopens the doors to the entirely new (bigger and better) Earth Gallery. Displays of beautiful rocks and minerals, plus numerous hands-on activities and even a walk-through cave will occupy the full hall and wing of the gallery. Make granite from magma, grow a mineral, build a volcano... this much-anticipated signature gallery will rock!

The special summer exhibition in 2013 will be Edward Burtynsky: Oil. Over 50 large-scale colour images by this renowned photographer combine to present a glimpse into the lifecycle of an energy source that has shaped our modern world. Burtynsky's masterful prints show—in superb detail—scenes of oil fields, refineries, automobiles, aircraft, and other vehicles, high-speed motorway networks, and disposed and recycled materials.

"His is a visionary look at our relationship with a product that has, in equal measure, freed us and enslaved us as a species," wrote photographer Brett Meikle of Burtynsky's work.

Edward Burtynsky: Oil is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., and made possible with the generous support of Scotiabank.

The other summer exhibition highlight will focus on some diminutive but industrious characters. Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants opens on July 26. Ant expert and adventurer Mark W. Moffett has captured the complex lifestyle of ants—as they hunt, communicate, deal with disease, and tackle agriculture—in a collection of images that will captivate adults and kids alike. This exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

The museum comes alive in autumn with the arrival of some popular, live guests from Reptiland in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. True to its name, Frogs: A Chorus of Colours is colourful, both in terms of the amphibians and the beautiful mini habitats in which they're displayed. Want to see the tiny, endangered dart poison frog from South America? You'll find it here, along with numerous other ribbeting... er... riveting species in this delightful show opening September 21.

Flora, Fauna and Fury

A natural complement to Nature Unleashed is the special art exhibition Fury: Portraits of Turbulent Skies. This suite of eight large-scale paintings by Ottawa artist Stephen Hutchings amplifies the dark beauty and drama of extreme storm clouds. The show looks stunning in the tranquil space of the museum's apse.

Spring literally blooms at the museum at the end of March. The next edition of the annual Ikebana show, presented by Ikebana International's Ottawa Centennial Chapter 120, runs from March 21 to 23, 2013. This beautiful exhibition of unique floral arrangements depicts the ancient Japanese art through two distinct styles: Ohara and Sogetsu.

Completing the diverse 2013 line-up is the return of the charming Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition, now in its fifth edition. See more amazing close-up shots of mammals, birds, insects and more, all winners from the 2012 Canadian Geographic Wildlife Photography of the Year contest. On view from May 17 to July 7, it reveals nature's wonders as seen through the lens of Canadian amateur and seasoned photographers.

Join us for our 2012–13 Season—it's naturally inspiring!

(Schedule subject to change without notice; please consult our calendar of What's On before your visit).