Visitors enjoy monsoon rain at museum

The crowds may not have always been teeming at the Otago Museum's tropical forest, but the forest's recent artificial "monsoons" did prove successful and might be repeated.

A total of 628 people attended 10 recent "Let It Rain" sessions at the forest.

Since the tropical forest opened in late 2007, it has been equipped with a facility to generate "rain" but although this system has been switched on briefly for testing, the resulting burst of "rain" had not previously been open to the public.

The forest's plants are watered by hand.

Overall annual attendance at the forest peaked about 155,000 in 2008, but the facility has since remained popular, attracting about 86,000 people last year.

Museum visitors had been particularly interested in what happened to the butterflies when it rained: many seek shelter, and some continue to fly.

The event was staged as a school holiday programme.

The museum is considering "letting it rain" again in the future, but no firm dates have been set.


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