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"The Power of Poison" Opens May 21 at the Witte Museum

Does poison harm or heal? Families will love discovering “The Power of Poison” this summer at the Witte.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (May 12, 2022) –  Step into the mist and vines of Colombia’s Chocó Forest and explore poison’s role in nature, legend and human health with “The Power of Poison,” the Witte Museum’s latest special exhibition opening to the public on May 21, 2022. Tickets, with discounts for children (ages 0 – 11), seniors, military and Witte members, are available at or in person at the Witte Museum.

Organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, “The Power of Poison” is an elaborate, theatrical exhibition that highlights the many ways toxic plants and animals have adapted to survive and thrive in their environments. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the interactive exhibits while exploring how poison can both harm and heal in immersive galleries.

Exhibition Highlights Include:

  • Poison in Nature: Discover how poison helps shape an environment while walking through a re-creation of a remote Columbian rainforest.
  • Witte Tales: Explore ways Texas plants and animals, such as rattlesnakes, poison ivy and even the monarch butterfly, have developed toxic adaptations.
  • Poison in Myth & Legend: Turn the pages of an enchanted book and explore the role of poison in familiar stories such as Snow White, Macbeth and Alice in Wonderland.
  • Detecting Poison: Play detective by finding clues about various toxins and poisonous creatures to help solve puzzling cases of accidental poisoning.
  • Victims and Villains: Get a glimpse of some of history’s most notorious and puzzling poison cases—from Emperor Nero to artist Francisco Goya—in an age before scientists developed reliable forensic tools.
  • Poison for Good: Learn how plant and animal toxins are being studied as sources for life-saving new drugs and see live animals whose toxins have been studied for medical applications

The exhibition features several live animals—including Poison Dart Frogs, toxic caterpillars and several marine animals.

“Texans likely encounter toxic plants and animals every day, and this exhibition  gives them the opportunity to explore the complexity of poison,” shared Helen Holdsworth, Witte Museum’s Chief of Engagement and Curator of the McLean Family Texas Wild Gallery. “We hope that through this experience, people leave inspired to be more curious about the world around them and consider how they can help shape its future in positive ways.”

 “The Power of Poison” is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York ( and will be open at the Witte Museum through September 5, 2022.

Related Events

“Cocktails & Culture: Pick Your Poison,” May 26, 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $35 ($30 for members), admission to “The Power of Poison” included
Journey through the temperate forest with our Host Queen Kristi Waters while sipping on a spirit of choice provided by our community sponsors. Also, enjoy delicious food for purchase from Mi Taquito food truck. This adventure is for guests 21 and over.

“STEAM Sunday – The Power of Poison”
Add to your Witte experience with hands-on explorations of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
Tickets: $5 ($4 for members), admission to “The Power of Poison” not included

  • June 5, 1:30 p.m.: Fun with Fangs—Learn how different species of snakes strike as you create models of different fangs.
  • July 10, 1:30 p.m.: Foliage Folios—Create your own pressed plant art, as well as a press you can use for future art, while examining the helpful and harmful properties of different plants
  • August 7, 1:30 p.m.: Dose Detection—Features a chemistry technique called titration what you’ll use to detect the amount of vitamin C in different liquids.
  • September 4, 1:30 p.m.: Kickin’ Kidneys—Work with a team to dissect a kidney and discover the role the kidney plays in your body’s build-in detoxifying system.

“Pick Your Poison—Witte Museum Summer Camp”
June 13th – 17th (Ages 9-12)
June 27th – July 1st (Ages 6-8)
Cost: $290 per week for Members, $315 per week for Non-Members
Campers will explore all the ways poison can be a natural defense or even a miraculous medicine in our deadly fun camp. Each day is themed in conjunction with the Witte Museum’s summer exhibition, the Power of Poison.

New Podcast –Wonder with the Witte

In conjunction with the opening of “The Power of Poison,” the Witte Museum releases the first series of episodes for its new podcast, “Wonder with the Witte.” Listeners will learn how to avoid the wrath of toxic plants on their nature walks, how insects contribute to the vast Texas landscape and interesting facts about poisonous and venomous critters that lurk beneath the waters.  Visit or search for “Wonder with the Witte” in popular podcast platforms to subscribe.