Denver Museum of Natural History

It would certainly be a mistake to think of the Denver Museum of Natural History as being a place that would only appeal to children.  The collection of permanent and temporary exhibits will entertain and fascinate anyone with a sense of curiosity.  Known now as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, visitors will discover exhibitions covering a wide range of natural wonders of the world as well as temporary displays.  The Denver Museum of Natural History is meant to awaken people to the world around them, and help them glimpse into the past and future as well.

No museum of natural history would be worth the name if it did not contain skeletons of prehistoric animals.  The Denver Museum of Natural History has an excellent collection of dinosaur fossils and a stegosaurus and allosaurus have been positioned as if they were just joining battle. I can remember visiting a natural history museum as a small child and the absolute awe I felt when viewing the remains of these giants; it formed a mental image that remains with me to this day.

Realistic and beautifully prepared dioramas are found on Levels 1, 2, and 3 of the museum.  This will be a chance for both adults and children to get close to walruses, moose, and many other creatures great and small.   All who visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science should keep an eye out for elves – the very talented artist who painted the backgrounds for the dioramas has hidden 8 elves in his paintings.  It takes a sharp eye to find them, and a cheat sheet is available online for those who despair of winkling the elves out by themselves.

The Gates Planetarium has been totally updated and revolutionized with 3-D sound, comfortable seating, and a metal dome. Gone now is the old dome, allowing for a much more realistic and interactive environment.  The planetarium seats 125 people and presents shows such as the Wildest Weather in the Solar System or Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity.  The state-of-the-art technology employed at the Gates Planetarium is a far cry from the first orreries, which were mechanical devices to show the movements of the planets and satellites around the sun.

Part of human history is art, and the Denver Natural History Museum has several collections that span several diverse areas of the globe.  The more amusing side of people can often been seen in the sculptural work of Vasily Konovalenko.  Carved from gemstones, this is the largest collection of this artist’s work outside of Russia.

There is also a very nice exhibit of Native American artifacts, which demonstrates the grace and skill put into the creation of items that would be used every day.

The temporary exhibits provide another reason (if you actually needed one) to stop at the museum every time you visit Denver.   Temporary exhibits have and will include Lizards & Snakes, A Day in Pompeii, and Arctic Sanctuary.  The IMAX theatre at the museum also offers exciting films covering a variety of subjects such as Flying Monsters, To The Arctic 3D, and Tornado Alley.

Show times can change so be sure to check beforehand.  The Denver Museum of Natural History is open every day of the year, with the exception of Christmas Day, from 9 to 5.  The T-Rex Café offers a luncheon menu (open from 11 AM to 2 PM) and the Grab & Go Snack Bar observes the same hours are the museum itself.  Souvenirs are available at the Museum Shop.

 

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