My nephew put his hand on one of the shark teeth in the museum exhibit.


My nephew put his hand on one of the shark teeth in the museum exhibit.

“This one is as big as my hand,” he said, stretching his 5-year-old fingers to their maximum extension.

I set my hand on the largest of the shark teeth — a tooth from an estimated 60-foot long megalodon, terror of the sea.

“I think this one is bigger than my hand,” I said.

As I tried to explain to my nephew, Philip, about how big 60 feet is, the exhibit at Exploration Place gave me some assistance.

We were standing inside a frame that outlined the size and shape of a megalodon shark.

I pointed to a replica of a great white shark hanging from the ceiling, its jaws extended to strike.

“That is a shark that lives today,” I said, pointing to the great white.

“This is how big the Megalodon, which doesn’t live any more, was,” I said as I pointed to the monster’s jaws at one end of the room and the tail at the other.

Philip’s eyes widened as he looked at the great white replica then at the framework we were standing in.

“Really?!” he said, amazed and puzzled at the same time.

“Megalodon: Largest Shark That Ever Lived” is a traveling exhibit on display at Exploration Place in Wichita.

I think Philip was a little bit overcome by the idea of a 60-foot shark, but I was fascinated. I have been eternally frightened and intrigued by sharks ever since viewing “Jaws” for the first time when I was 11.

Megalodon reigned over prehistoric waters about 17 million to 2 million years ago, and it’s believed to be related to today’s predators, the great white and mako.

Megalodons satisfied their immense appetites by feeding on whales. To exhibit the amount of food a megladon might eat in a day, the exhibit displays tuna cans stacked almost to the ceiling.

This exhibit is included in general museum admission and is free for Exploration Place members. Megalodon is open at Exploration Place through May 1.

After the sharks, we moved on to an exhibit that was a little more a 5-year-old’s speed — “K’NEX Building Thrill Rides.”

For those of you who do not know what K’NEX are, image a modern-day plastic Erector Set.

Plastic rods and joints can be used to make models of thrill rides, motorcycles, pinwheels, creatures and about anything else you could think of.

Small motors brought large K’NEX creations to life in the exhibit, including roller coasters and a Ferris wheel that was taller than I am.

“Awesome!”

“Awesome! Awesome!” was Philip’s general response to the K’NEX creations on exhibit.

After viewing what the professional can do, Philip and I sat down and created our own operational pinwheel from a bank of K’NEX pieces available for patron use.

And if you want to take your K’NEX masterpiece home, you can “weigh and pay,” buy your creation based on the weight of total parts used at a predetermined price.

“K’NEX: Building Thrill Rides” will be at Exploration Place through April 24. It also is included in general museum admission and is free for Exploration Place members.