Today we’ll take a brief tour of the Natural History portion of the Cincinnati Museum complex. This section of the museum does a nice job of appealing to children with lots hands-on and experiential displays, as well as being thoughtful and enjoyable for adults too. Of course there is the prerequisite collection of dinosaur and prehistoric bones.
This one is a cast of a mastodon found nearby. There’s an extensive walk-through exhibit of “prehistoric history” – doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron? It’s quite engaging, with lovely dioramas and life-size animals and lots to see. At the end of the exhibit is a section on weather and geography – how it has changed through time and the methods used to study it. Another exhibit I thought was very interesting was a series of dioramas that interactively explained the scientific method and how researchers studied the natural world and archeological digs.
One of the most unique sections of the museum was a “Trading Post” area where visitors could see natural history specimens up close. There were bins and bins of rocks, minerals, fossils – all labeled and carefully sorted. There were biological cabinets of bird specimens and feather collections. There was a nice library of sorts for children to enjoy. And there was a counter where kids could bring in items they’d found and exchange them for other natural treasures. As they did so, the employee would talk to them about what they found, how it was collected, and so on. No animals were allowed, but they could bring in feathers, bones, sticks, leaves, spider webs.. all sorts of goodies. That sounded like lots of fun. The picture of the curiosity cabinet above was in this area.
Then there were rocks… lots and lots of rocks… including a moon rock brought back by Neil Armstrong. His space suit was there too. I’m enjoying a resurgence in my love of rocks and especially enjoyed those exhibits. They have a nice selection of rocks in their store for purchase and I bought a beautiful geode.
I didn’t get any pictures of this, but the last highlight to tell you about is a live bat demonstration that they offer at the museum. This was really fun – a trainer released 6 bats in a netted enclosure and we got to watch the bats move about while hearing a lecture about the different types of bats (in the Midwest and worldwide). The bats were really cute! They scurried about on the nets and one in particular kept making a beeline for a dark corner, but the trainer kept thwarting his desire. It was fun to watch him.
I hope you enjoyed the overview of the natural history museum. If you ever find yourself in the area, it’s a great way to spend the day.
Blessings to you,