Located in Salt Lake City, the Rio Tinto Center is home to the Natural History Museum of Utah. From learning about the state’s fascinating biological diversity to hearing stories about the prehistoric peoples of the Great Basin, this is a museum that not only tells the tale of Utah’s natural history, but also that of the planet as a whole.
There are a number of permanent exhibitions to explore at the Natural History Museum of Utah, beginning with the exhibition on the sky, which is housed in a gallery that has an adjacent rooftop terrace, so you can learn about the sun, climate and astronomy first hand. Another must-see exhibit is the one on Life, which features a series of displays that explore the complexity of the web of life, focussing on everything from ecosystems within Utah to human DNA. Of course, the Great Salt Lake exhibit is not to be missed, as this really brings the lake to life, while the Past Worlds exhibit spans hundreds of millions of years, taking a look at how Utah’s ancient environments have changed over time. The early residents of Utah are not forgotten at the museum, and can be learned about at the First Peoples exhibit, as well as at the Native Voices exhibit, which tells of the traditions of the eight federally recognized tribes in Utah.
The Natural History Museum of Utah has an action-packed calender of special events that are designed to bring the community together. The Extreme Plants Travelling Sideshow is a theatrical performance that focuses on various species of plants, and is guaranteed to entertain visitors of every age group. For those who want to get involved in helping to preserve Utah’s incredible landscape, the museum hosts a regular event called the Urban Habitat Weed Pull, while the Foothill Wildflower Walk will take you into Salt Lake City’s foothills and teach you all about the importance of the wildflowers that grow here.
NHMU After Dark
In addition to all of their special events held during the day, the museum also hosts an evening series of events titled NHMU After Dark. The next one is being held on the 10th of May, and is a Craft Night Workshop, where you will be able to learn how to mix your own custom essential oils. August’s Craft Night is a Summer Floral Arranging class, while September is all about how to build your very own mini ecosystem in a terrarium.
Shop and Café
Once you have explored all of the exhibits at the museum, be sure to stop off at the shop, which not only sells museum merchandise, but also one-of-a-kind Utah-themed gifts. If you are feeling peckish, the Museum Café can be found on the main level of the Rio Tinto Center, and serves up a selection of fresh salads, sandwiches and bakery items, featuring some of the finest local bakeries within Utah.
For those visiting Salt Lake City, a visit to the Natural History Museum is definitely a must, as this is one of the best ways to learn more about the region and its past. From the diverse ecosystems that can be found here to ways in which you can contribute to the conservation of nature, this museum will no doubt have you seeing Utah in a completely different light.
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