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“Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants”, a new exhibition based on the popular Nat Geo WILD series, will open at the National Geographic Museum on March 26. The interactive exhibit includes life-size fish sculptures, clips from the series, live fish, and several family-friendly activities designed to educate visitors about these massive fish. The exhibit also features Dr. Zeb Hogan, aquatic ecologist, National Geographic Fellow and host of “Monster Fish,”  who has spent nearly two decades searching for and studying these rare, large freshwater fish species.

National Geographic Museum visitors will dive beneath the surface of the world’s rivers in the new exhibition “Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants,” opening Thursday, March 26. Enormous in size and rapidly dwindling in number, these ancient fish play critical roles in their freshwater habitats. Dr. Zeb Hogan, aquatic ecologist, National Geographic Fellow and host of the Nat Geo WILD series “Monster Fish,” has spent nearly two decades searching for and studying the rare, large freshwater fish species profiled in the exhibition. The interactive exhibition will include five extraordinary, life-size sculptures of monster fish as well as videos and hands-on interactive activities for audiences of all ages. “Monster Fish” will remain open at the National Geographic Museum until Monday, Oct. 12, 2015.

“Monster Fish” takes visitors on a journey to river basins around the world to learn about colossal fish and the people that depend on them. Through detailed maps, sculptures and custom illustrations, the exhibition showcases close to 20 fish species and their diverse freshwater ecosystems. In addition to highlighting the biology of each species, the exhibit depicts the cultural ties between the fish and local people. From mythical tales and storied traditions to threats and conservation efforts, visitors will leave with a greater understanding of the connection between humans and fish.

“This fascinating exhibition is a trip around the world with one of Nat Geo’s favorite explorers in search of bizarre and extraordinary species of freshwater fish,” said National Geographic’s vice president of Exhibitions, Kathryn Keane. “Zeb Hogan shows us that despite their size, these fish are an increasingly fragile link in some of the most important freshwater ecosystems on Earth.”

In addition to life-size models and live fish (not monster varieties) in aquariums representing various habitats, “Monster Fish” features several interactive elements and games designed to provide visitors with opportunities to learn about how monster fish grow; how scientists study them; and how anglers and others can help these fish survive. In “Monster Size Me,” users maneuver a marble through a circular obstacle course, avoiding threats like invasive species and dams and seeking ways to grow areas like protected habitats. In “Minnow or Monster,” groups can step onto a large scale to see their equivalent weight in monster fish. The “Go Fish” game invites children to use magnetic fishing poles to catch fish and then place them into a chute for release back into the river. A model boat serves as a theater, which guests can climb aboard to view five video shorts featuring Hogan talking about what it is like to search the world for monster fish.

Hogan will conduct a student program and will share behind-the-scenes adventures and real “fish stories” from scientists and locals with National Geographic Live audiences on March 26. The National Geographic Museum will stay open late that evening to give Nat Geo Liveticketholders the opportunity to visit the exhibit before the event. Tickets start at $24 and can be purchased at www.nglive.org/dc.

Hogan’s Nat Geo WILD series “Monster Fish,” now in its fifth season, is produced by National Geographic Television. In each episode, Hogan immerses himself in a local culture, where fishing is often more than a sport or even a profession — it’s a way of life. He tastes the regional cuisine, mingles at fish markets, listens to the harrowing stories of native fishermen and sleeps where his local guides do. For more information on the series, visit www.natgeowild.com.

University of Nevada, Reno, where Hogan is a researcher, is the educational partner for the “Monster Fish” exhibition. University of Nevada, Reno will create educational offerings and support Hogan’s participation in the project and in special events related to the exhibition.

National Geographic Learning is also publishing an educational companion volume to the exhibition as a part of its “Explore” series. The book will be available at the National Geographic Museum Store.

The National Geographic Museum’s family-friendly offerings will also include alternate screenings of the films “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure 3D” and “Meerkats 3D” on Saturdays and Sundays at 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. during the duration of the “Monster Fish” exhibition. Additionally, the popular exhibition “Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of the Cretaceous” will be open until April 12. A free photo exhibition, “Photo Camp: A Decade of Storytelling,” is on display in the museum’s M Street gallery now through May 31.

The National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., is open every day (except Dec. 25) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Though the photography exhibitions in the museum’s M Street gallery and outdoors are free, the exhibitions in the 17th Street galleries are ticketed. Admission is $11 for adults; $9 for National Geographic members, military, students, seniors and groups of 25 or more; $7 for children 5-12; and free for local school, student and youth groups (18 and under; advance reservation required). Tickets may be purchased online at www.ngmuseum.org; via telephone at (202) 857-7700; or in person at the National Geographic ticket booth, 1145 17th Street, N.W., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information on group sales, call (202) 857-7281 or email [email protected].

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