Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Big Sister Museum

When it's rainy and cold outside, visiting a museum is a great option.  

I, along with several Nature Center co-workers and my brother Jack, got a tour of University of Texas' Natural History Museum also known as Texas Memorial Museum.  The informative tour was lead by Dr. Pamela Owen (thank you, Dr. Owen.)

The Great Hall

Jack pointing to Big Thicket National Preserve
where he'll be working this spring.
This Austin museum focuses on Texas Natural History.  It has 4 floors covering Paleontology, Geology, Native Animals, and Evolution.  Amazing treasures are on display throughout the grand building.

The Paleontology Floor hosts fossils from each time period.  Here's a saber-toothed cat,
a giant armadillo relative, and a swimming reptile in the background.

The Cretaceous Period Display- Central TX was under a shallow sea.
The Mosasaur, large marine alligator like animal, was found in South Austin

Some beautiful minerals

I think of UT's museum as the grownup sister to the Austin Nature and Science Center.  We have the Dino Pit where you dig up fossils; they have the actual fossils on display.  We have live animals; they have taxidermied animals. We have a minerals, insects, and skulls...they have them, too.  We have the Naturalist Workshop and Trade Counter; they have the Paleo Lab.  The nature center is hands-on, outdoors, and informal, whereas the Museum is a treasure vault, classic, and formal.  The two places are complements with different takes on the same theme.  Another bonus is that both UT's Museum and the Nature Center are free to visit. 

What do you prefer Nature Centers or Museums, informal or classic?  I'd love to hear from you.

 A meteorite is one of the few things that you are allowed to touch.
But, what an amazing thing to touch!  It was in Space!

Quetzalcoatalus northropi, the largest flying animal ever found