Go Monster Fish at the National Geographic Museum


The National Geographic Museum just debuted its newest exhibit, and true to what I consider their signature style when it comes to these showcases, it’s fascinating and educational and fun all at once.

Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants takes visitors on a journey around the globe to discover some of the behemoth creatures that lurk beneath the world’s rivers. Based on the Nat Geo WILD series Monster Fish, the exhibit highlights nearly 20 fish that show host Dr. Zeb Hogan has found and featured in various episodes.



Owen and I got a sneak preview before it opened to the public, including a chance to tour part of it with Zeb himself, and we both found it interesting and fun to view and experience. The displays are presented by regions of the world with background on different kinds of fish, supplemented with video from the series, photography, and some other interesting visuals, like actual scales from some species. But the centerpieces of it all are magnificent sculptures of several fish, commissioned for the exhibit and intricately designed to convey just how massive and unique the river dwellers are. Even better, a couple of them are actually accessible to visitors — you can touch the scales of a giant barb and climb upon a sawfish.



The interactive elements don’t stop there — there are games for all to enjoy — and they all relay some kind of lesson in sustainability and conservation. You can maneuver a ball through an ecosystem (a game table that you tilt) to areas designated to protect habitats and avoid ones that are threatening. There’s a giant scale that multiple people can stand on to compare your collective weight to different monster fish. Little ones will love “going fishing” for rubber balls then release them through a plastic chute. Another game has players determine if you keep a fish or throw it back depending on the species and size. You can view footage form the Monster Fish show in a mini-theatre made to look like an air boat. An interesting — and eye-opening — installation shows the “water cost” of our everyday habits.





If you want to see fish, you don’t just have to view the models. There are a few aquariums filled with fish, though aside from one alligator gar, they are all little fishies. But that just illuminates the magnitude of the monsters.


Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants will be at the National Geographic Museum through October 11, 2015. Hours are 9am – 6pm. Admission is $11/adult, $7/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under. FYI: Goldstar has a deal on tickets for select dates.


Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Museums, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

6 Responses to Go Monster Fish at the National Geographic Museum

  1. Melva Medina

    I would like to join your mailing list for weekend events. Thanks.

  2. Kelli Edwards

    i would like to join your mailing list of possible. I enjoyed this article.

  3. Darla

    I took my 4 yr old daughter and 8 year old son over spring break and they loved this! There is lots of interactive games encouraging conservation and the baby gar was lots of fun to see. Had been expecting the Spinosaurus exhibit that is closing on April 12th to be the highlight but it was completely overshadowed by the Monster Fish side!!! Would highly recommend it for preschool and elementary age (although I had a blast with it too – so rare to have an outing that mom can learn lots from and be just as entertained as the kids) Worth the money
    PS – they have free National Geographic movies in their theater on Tuesday at noon. We happened to hit it and my kids loved the one that was showing.

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      Darla, so glad you guys enjoyed the exhibit! I agree that it’s great for kids and adults – I learned a lot, too. πŸ™‚

  4. Matt


    I’d love to sign up for the email so I can keep up with everything. We have a one month old, so he’s still really young for a lot of events, but I’d like to keep an eye open for things as they pop up! A lot of our friends are still pre-children, so we’re having a hard time finding ways to have a good, kid-friendly, time.

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