In the Aquamarine Fukushima, an aquarium and nature center in Japan, visitors will be able to see some very unique creatures.
From a distance, they might look like regular orchids, maybe even a little drab with their brownish coloring and small blooms, but up close? They’re delightful!
That’s because these orchids, known as Dracula simia, or Monkey Orchid, look just like monkeys when you take a closer look at them. They appear to look right back at you, and some even look like they’re smiling!
So why all this monkey appreciation? In the Chinese lunar calendar, February 8, 2016, begins the Year of the Monkey, and so the aquarium decided to celebrate our wild cousins with this floral exhibit. It’s not a traditional way to ring in the New Year, but it’s certainly a cute one!
It will also be a rare treat for the local population to see these unusual flowers, as their natural habitat is in parts of Central and South America.
Take a look at these cute and totally unusual orchids below, and be amazed at how much they really look like monkeys!
(H/T: My Modern Met)
The Dracula simia flowers grow in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and parts of Costa Rica. The genus name, Dracula, means “little dragon,” and simia means “monkey.”
But the general consensus is that they look way more like little monkeys than little dragons!
There are also many different varieties. At Aquamarine Fukushima, it’s like a whole zoo of monkeys!
Thanks to the fact that many of them have brownish- or golden-colored petals, the resemblance is even stronger.
Some even have a furry appearance on their petals, making them even more monkeyish!
And although they might not be the brightest in terms of color, they can still get very dramatic.
Of course, they’re a bit silly, too.
But it’s almost hard to remember that you’re looking at a flower, not an animal!
2016 is the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese lunar zodiac, hence the monkey-themed celebration.
This year, people born under the sign of the monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, and 2004) are advisedto stay disciplined when it comes to work and school, in order to achieve great things!
There’s also a prediction of unexpected wealth! But watch out for health risks — especially traffic accidents!
But no matter what year you were born in, you can always appreciate monkey orchids!
Some are happy…
…and some are gloomy.
But they’re all amazing, and they show just how crazy nature can be!
In case you’re wondering, orchids can look like other animals, too.
This impossibly delicate orchid looks like a white egret, and is native to China, Japan, Korea, and Russia.
The dove orchid, or holy ghost orchid, looks strikingly like a little dove in a nest.
Sadly, people love this flower so much that it’s been over-collected in its native Panama, and it’s now endangered.
The flying duck orchid has a pretty apt name. It really looks like a duck taking off!
And they’re not all birds, either. This orchid looks like a bee!
The exhibit at Aquamarine Fukushima aims to celebrate the New Year, but also strives year-round to educate people about nature, the oceans, and the environment, and to inspire people to protect and cherish the Earth.
And, of course, to help them marvel at how wonderfully weird our planet really is!
SHARE these little monkeys for some New Year’s festivity, and to brighten someone’s 2016!