If you’re looking for a affordable and fun way to spend a family day, The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is the ticket! Just an hour drive from Santa Fe, with simple access from I-25, the museum is chock full of educational and intriguing exhibits-dinosaurs, science, New Mexico history, 3D movies, and more!
Alberta and Spike, an Albertosaurus and Pentaceratops respectively, greet you as you approach the main entrance – life-sized New Mexico bronze dinosaurs created by Albuquerque sculptor Dave Thomas. A full sized T-Rex skeleton awaits with a menacing grin as you enter the exhibit halls, and later a new genus of Tyrannosaurus, named Bistii, rounds out the T-Rex collection; “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” boasts the only Triassic hall in North America, featuring giant amphibians and other terrors of the Triassic Period, while “The Age of the Super Giants” shows off the Seismosauras’ and Sauraphaganax’ humbling sizes. Once you’ve seen the “A-listers,” the subtler permanent exhibits of “New Mexico’s Seacoast, “Age of Volcanoes,” “Evolving Grasslands,” “The Cave,” and “New Mexico’s Ice Age” provide rich information about the evolving landscape and seascape our state experienced over millions of years.
The wealth of information in these exhibits necessitates multiple trips to take it in, especially when the museum rotates ample temporary and traveling exhibits through its doors to feed your thirst for knowledge. Currently “It Came From Mars” educates you about Martian meteorites that have been collected around the state, and “Out of the Cabinet” shows curious specimens different collections around the state.
The naturalist Center caters to the curiosity of all ages with microscopes, native animals, touch specimens and much more. It also works to feature rescued animals such as a recently found juvenile yellow warbler.
Fossilworks exhibit publicly displays trained volunteers demonstrating how paleontologists prepare fossils in addition to providing text and illustrations about fossilization and Jurassic Period Dinosaurs.
If a 3-D movie experience appeals to you, the Museum boasts the Lockheed Martin Dynatheater featuring a digital surround sound theater experience on a five story white screen with 2D and 3D films. Currently the theater is playing National Geographic’s Robots in 3D, Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean in 3D, and Walking with Dinosaurs 3D.
The museum reaches beyond the building itself, working with educators, providing family fun days and field trips, summer programs, science camps, and a multitude of programs for children and adults alike.
For more information about the museum, visit nmnaturalhistory.org or call 505-841-2800. The museum is located at 1801 Mountain Road NW in Albuquerque. There is a café for dining and the NatureWorks Discover Store inside the museum.