Utah Museum of Natural History

Utah Museum of Natural History patrons will have the chance to learn all about the natural side of the general Utah region on their visit. Found on the University of Utah campus, this excellent museum covers a range of scientific disciplines as they relate to the state and the area, including anthropology, geology, and paleontology. There are dinosaur skeletons, an impressive collection of minerals to check out, curious biological specimens to examine, and any other number of things that make this such a great place to explore. A good hour should allow enough time to make the rounds in the main exhibit halls, though you might plan on spending at least a few hours if you really want to take it all in.

All of the permanent Utah Museum of Natural History exhibits are housed in halls that focus on the various disciplines. The Anthropology Hall focuses on the ethnography and archaeology of the New World, while the Discovery Hall offers a behind-the-scenes look at a working paleontology lab. In the Geology Hall, thousands of minerals, rocks, and fossils are on display, and should you venture into the Mineral Hall, you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about the creation of precious stones, crystals, and gems. Dinosaur enthusiasts won't want to miss the impressive dinosaur fossil collection in the Paleontology Hall, and animal enthusiasts could even complement a trip to the Hogle Zoo by learning all about the kinds of animals that live in the region at the museum's Vertebrate Hall.

There is a lot to see at this inviting Salt Lake City Natural History Museum, and from time to time, temporary exhibits add to the options. In addition to the permanent and temporary Utah Museum of Natural History exhibits, locals and tourists alike might interest themselves in the museum programs that are designed for families, kids, and adults. In the summer alone, there are more than 40 week-long summer camps for kids to enjoy. It is worth noting that in addition to serving as a museum, the Utah Museum of Natural History also serves a research facility for students.

The Salt Lake City Natural History Museum has been a fixture on the University of Utah campus since 1963. It moved into the old library building in 1969, and by the end of 2011, it will occupy a new, state-of-the-art building that aims to keep in line with the mission to "inspire, excite and educate the community and its visitors about the natural world." The attractive architectural design of the new museum building blends in well with the surrounding mountains and the overall setting will secure the museum's place as one of the top tourist attractions in the state.

Regardless of when you visit the Utah Museum of Natural History and which building it will be housed in, you can expect to get a comprehensive understanding of how the state of Utah came to be what it is today. Before or after your visit, you might also check out the Red Butte Gardens to get a better understanding of the state's native vegetation. The Red Butte Gardens is also affiliated with the University and can be found near the Natural History Museum.

Should you be planning on enjoying the Utah Museum of Natural History exhibits on a trip to Salt Lake City, the complex is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Sundays, it opens at noon and closes at 5 p.m. Worth noting is the fact that on the first Monday of every month, the closing time is extended to 8 p.m. and admission is free! This Salt Lake City Natural History Museum is worth the general admission fee, though it's nice to get in for free on the first Mondays of the month if you happen to be in town on those dates.

Image: brettneilson (flickr)
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