Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence

In a dark room a child uses a touchscreen monitor while looking up at a fluorescent glowing model of a coral reef and sea turtle
Creatures of Light: Nature's Bioluminescence introduces the extraordinary diversity of organisms that produce light, from flickering fireflies to mysterious deep-sea fishes.

Scientists are just beginning to uncover the secrets of bioluminescence—the generation of light by living things. Travel through summer meadows and the deep sea to explore this incredible natural phenomenon. 


Visitors will encounter other-worldly environments complete with customized soundscapes, including a digitally interactive dinoflagellate “blue lagoon” and an extraordinary fluorescent coral reef where visitors can navigate the habitat through touchscreens.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors can delve deeper into the science of bioluminescence at interactive iPad stations.

Key Questions

  • What is bioluminescence?
  • How does bioluminescence work?
  • What organisms are bioluminescent?
  • Where are bioluminescent organisms found?
  • How do organisms use bioluminescence to survive in their environment?


“I felt as if I was in a dream and was curious to touch, see, learn and explore the many interactive stations, cool displays, and dimly lit spaces glowing with bioluminescence.”
– National Geographic

“A thoroughly engrossing exhibition…teaches us quite a bit about the phenomenon. Yet it still manages to preserve that otherworldly mystery, even cherishing it.”
– The New York Times

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Creatures of Light: Nature's Bioluminescence is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York ( in collaboration with The Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada, and The Field Museum, Chicago.