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The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' new special exhibit on chocolate, which opens Saturday, is probably best for kids ages 5 and up. It traces the history of the sweet treat and draws connections between that chocolate Easter Bunny that might still be lingering in the basket and the rainforest where chocolate originates.

But the staff at the natural sciences museum has created a whole slew of hands-on activities as part of the exhibit in a space next door where even younger kids can find something geared to them.

"We wanted to be a little more friendly for younger kids," says Albert Ervin, special exhibits coordinator for the natural sciences museum.

"We try to trick them into learning," Ervin says. "That's our job."

The room sits inside the special exhibit gallery and is hard to distinguish from the rest of the exhibit.

For the youngest kids, there's a collection of rainforest- and chocolate-themed books and a couple of puzzles with pieces big enough for small hands.

A large-screen television will show mostly documentaries on the rainforest. And large plush animals decorate the walls (Warning: the cute parrot and other animals are for sale in the gift shop). And there is a collection of mounted birds that live both in North Carolina and the rainforest.

The space also includes "Eco Memory Match," a kind of memory game where players match up cards with different rainforest animals and plants that are part of the life cycle of the chocolate tree.

Visitors can learn about the web of life in the rainforest by connecting animals and plants that live around the chocolate tree in "Cacao Connections." Another section reinforces the relationship between the rainforest and chocolate.

"We want kids to understand that no organism, including a chocolate tree, lives in a vacuum," Ervin says. "If for no other reason to save the rainforest, we need to save them so we can have chocolate."

Every visitor to the exhibit gets a chocolate sample. And the museum is offering something even sweeter this weekend for Mother's Day: free admission to moms on Mother's Day (that's Sunday everybody) with the purchase of another ticket for an adult or child.