**I had the opportunity to visit the museum for free as well as receive free lunch, goodies, and tickets for the giveaway. My thoughts are 100% my own and others may have a different opinion.**
I had the opportunity to visit The Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center in Salt Lake City, Utah for a blogger event and tour. My husband and kids (ages 7, 3, and 1) got to come with me and we had such a great time! We joined up with other bloggers and had a great time exploring the museum and our tour guide was such a sweet lady and very knowledgeable. The museum moved to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in 2011. It has more than 1.5 million artifacts and specimens in it’s collections. They are the state’s Museum of Natural History and the primary scientific research center for scientists and students at the University of Utah studying anthropology botany, entomology, malacology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology. I had not been to the museum since it’s move, so I was very excited to see the new building. The architecture itself is amazing! They wanted it to look like Utah and it’s amazing arches and canyons. They did such a great job!
There are 10 permanent galleries and at least two special exhibits each year. Right now their special exhibit is Live Geckos, and is running now through May 1, 2016. My kids loved this exhibit! It was so amazing to see all the different kinds of geckos that there are. Visitors will see about 55 different species included with their regular Museum admission, and special handlers are often available to answer questions, provide more information and give visitors an up-close and personal view. We had the opportunity to see one of the biggest geckos and even touch it. This was definitely the highlight for my kids. We had a little booklet that helped encourage us to discover and learn different geckos and if we found them all, we could take our booklet to the museum gift shop and get a special little prize.
In the Great Salt Lake gallery, visitors learn that the Museum actually sits along the eastern shore of what was once Lake Bonneville. Kids and adults love to crank rainwater into a circular model of the valley to catch a glimpse of how much of the region was once underwater. Today, the Great Salt Lake is all that remains of the ancient lake and scientists’ estimate it’s about 3 times saltier than the oceans. It is also one of the most important avian breeding and migratory staging areas in the United states due to about 7 million birds who spend time there. Most come to gorge themselves on the plentiful supply of brine shrimp and brine flies that live in and around the lake.
In Past Worlds, bones and the fossils of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures come alive, revealing what a “hot spot” Utah really is in the scientific world of dinosaur discoveries. Most of the recent finds have emerged from the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument region, not far from Lake Powell. Scientists believe so many discoveries happen in Utah because there is so much exposed rock, ranging from a few thousand years to over a billion years old. Most fossils in other parts of the world are buried much deeper. My kids loved seeing the dinosaur fossils and it was really neat to learn about them. Knowing that some of them were found in Utah made it even more exciting.
In Our Backyard, the youngest visitors can explore and play at the water table, try on costumes, crawl into and through tight spaces and gaze at live animals up close. My daughter loved this gallery! It was the perfect place to let her out of her stroller and let her get all her wiggles out. She loved the water table and my boys liked looking at the live animals up close.
We had so much fun looking at all the different galleries and even though we were there for several hours, we still didn’t see everything. My oldest loves science and he enjoyed looking at all the different exhibits and galleries. We even got to see a paleontologist at work and that was really cool! We also discovered that they do birthday parties there and we are definitely thinking about hosting our son’s birthday party there. We look forward to going back soon and doing a lot more exploring.
Thank you so much to those who put together this fun blogger event and we really appreciated the fun goody bag along with free tickets to come back and visit again. Thank you!
These brief highlights are just a few of the interesting facts available for visitors who come to the Natural History Museum of Utah. The museum is open 7 days a week from 10am – 5pm and until 9pm on Wednesdays. Prices range from $9 – $13, except for museum members, U of U students, faculty, staff, and children under 2, who get in FREE! Learn more about becoming a member at https://nhmu.utah.edu/join. Visitors are also welcome to come and browse the Museum store, eat at the café, or just spend time in the Canyon area without paying the Museum’s regular admission fee. If you or someone you know is a curious explorer or natural history lover who wants to learn more about amazing discoveries or the stories behind some of the Museum’s most fascinating objects, then treat yourself or them to a Highlights Tour. Check out all the details here: https://nhmu.utah.edu/programs/highlight-tours.