Family Travel: Hands on Science and Nature in Denver, Flickr: makelessnoise

With roots dating back to the late 1860s, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science was founded by naturalist Edwin Carter and his impressive collection of Colorado animal specimens.  With need for a large fireproof building to display Carter’s and other collections, the museum was officially built in 1908.   Numerous expansions throughout the 20th and 21st century have grown the museum into a world-class science center full of exhibits, active scientific research, numerous collections, and interactive programs. Here’s a brief overview to help you plan your fun filled learning day:

Exhibits throughout the museum focus on a variety of natural and scientific fields of study.  Keeping in line with the origins of the museum, kids can still explore amazing dioramas featuring both small and large animals in the various Wildlife Exhibits.   Some of the other earliest contributions to the collection are also on hand in the Gems and Minerals exhibit where you can visit a re-created mine full of minerals, rocks, and crystals.

If your little ones are fans of ancient civilizations, they can visit two real Egyptian Mummies and observe how scientists use the remains to help understand the everyday lives of ancient Egyptians.  North American Indian Cultures are also explored, including a focus on their shelter, food, clothing, and tools.   You can even head way back in time at the Prehistoric Journey exhibit which attempts to trace life from its earliest forms all the way to today.  Spanning 3.5 million years of history, this incredible exhibit takes visitors through water, air, and through the famous dinosaur age, where kids can explore fossils.

Looking for something more hands on?  Visit the Discovery Zone.  Children can make crafts; do science experiments, dance to music, and much more.  Activities for the youngest of visitors including blocks and space to play are offered in the Discovery Zone and at various locations throughout the museum.  For a personal touch, be sure to visit Expedition Health.  Not only does this exhibit teach about the human body, it focuses on your own body.  Kids can check out their own cells; monitor their body’s functions, and much more.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, rotating exhibits change out regularly.  The museum features both an IMAX theater and planetarium, both boasting daily shows on a variety of interesting and interactive topics.

Tickets start at $13 for adults and $8 for kids.

Get your Denver family vacation started off on the right and stop at this musuem!

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photo: makelessnoise

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