The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill invites budding explorers to step out of their comfort zone and embark on an expedition to some of the earth’s most hostile environments at Extremes, its new family friendly exhibition for 2014.

Opening on Saturday 15 February 2014, Extremes centres round five main environments – extreme heat, cold, aridity, permanent darkness and lack of oxygen – and the animals and plants that live there. It mixes hands-on experiences including games and experiments with films, photographs and taxidermy animal specimens to show how super specialists from the plant and animal kingdoms have adapted to, and survive in, the most extreme conditions on earth.

Through exhibits and activities visitors can experience elements of the five environments featured in the exhibition, from leaving a handprint on an ice wall, to walking on hot sand.

A polar bear, camel, ostrich, scimitar oryx and pipistrelle bat are among the taxidermy specimens on display, offering visitors the opportunity to get up close, learn about and compare themselves to some of the planet’s most remarkable animals.

A special programme of events and activities linked to Extremes will also take place at the Horniman throughout the year.

Paolo Viscardi, the Horniman’s Deputy Keeper of Natural History says: ‘The world holds some really challenging environments and life has some incredible ways of adapting to them. Extremes gives visitors a rare opportunity to look, listen, feel and discover just how some amazing plants and animals survive and even thrive in extreme conditions.’

This exhibition is in three languages – English, Spanish and French.