A stunning renovation has been accomplished at the American Museum of Natural History in its Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, now open to the public. A visit has revealed a bright new atmosphere. The famous model of a blue whale that hovers at an angle over it all has been repainted and touched up to make it look better and more realistic than ever. The ceiling is now bright and helps create an inviting environment. But the most dynamic change lies in the dioramas with displays that advance understanding of the ecosystems.

Children as well as adults will find new interactive features exciting and fun. The various dioramas have been improved, and there are eight new ocean displays. In addition to being able to observe the displays of fish, coral and plant life, one can tap on the items of interest and presto, details crop up in the display window. Pressing further can give deeper details. One can spend lots of fascinating time in front of the displays and learn accordingly. There are models of more than 750 creatures of the sea, with about 600 newly built.

The effect is very realistic, and in addition, the Hall is replete with assorted videos that follow he course of ocean life, many of which were filmed for the Hall by photographer Norbert Wu. The design job has been awesome, and the results are impressive. The renovation has been made possible by the contributions of Irma and Paul Milstein, and there has also been critical public organizational and private support to bring about fulfillment of the ambitious project.

The newly unveiled set-up stands one of the most intriguing exhibits in town and makes for a worthy family outing. Of course, there is also so much else to see at the museum during a visit. At the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street. Phone: 212-769-5100.

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