Tuesday, October 16, 2012

nature, history

This past Saturday was the first rainy-ish day, pretty much since July.  (I'm sure that's not actually true but we really haven't had very many precipitous days this year.)  Since hiking and MTBing didn't seem like that much fun in the mud and rain sprinkles, we checked out our city options: we haven't been to the Hogle Zoo since they installed the new Rocky Shores exhibit and we also hadn't been to the new Natural History Museum of Utah.  When we did a drive-by at the zoo, it was completely packed even with the threat of rain - so off to the Museum we went, where we got a parking space right in the front row.

The last time we went to the Natural History Museum (almost two years ago to the day), it was in its old space.  The spectacular new museum, nestled in the foothills near the U, at 301 Wakara Way, opened last November.  Built out of local Utah stone and copper, the building is both gorgeous and efficient, utilizing solar panels to feed a portion of its electricity needs, rooftop plantings, water-runoff systems to supply water for the grounds and low light pollution fixtures.  The building was designed to blend into its foothills surroundings and although we didn't see it on a sunny day, it's truly beautiful.

This would have been stunning with a blue sky

Inside, the collections have plenty of room to spread out and be explored: the utterly impressive paleontology  exhibit (I didn't recognize hardly any of the dinosaur names what with all the new discoveries), native anthropology, geology, entomology and vertebrate animals, minerals and gems and botany.  It's all quite impressive.  I did wish for something about Utah's water issues - where it comes from, how it's used, where it goes - I would think that since we're the second driest state in the country, it would be something to talk about.

There's a cafe and a museum shop that are open to the public without an entrance fee; and outside, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail runs right across the museum's walkway.  There's a lot going on up there at the Museum, plenty to learn and do in a beautiful setting - everyone should be sure to check it out, rainy Saturday or whenever.

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