Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Texas Memorial Museum, located in the Texas Natural Science Center on the UT campus, is a favorite summertime haunt of ours because it is indoors. But last summer the Museum was closed for renovations, so it had been awhile since we'd toured the four floors of free exhibits. In fact, my 5-year-old claimed he had never been to the Museum. How quickly they forget! We headed there for a reminder visit yesterday, along with all of the school children of Austin. Or maybe it just felt that way. Tuesday is a very popular day for field trips.
Starting outside, we briefly visited the outdoor exhibits, which include dinosaur tracks found in Glen Rose, Texas. But the boys wanted to see the dinosaur bones, so it was straight to the Hall of Geology and Paleontology for us!
This hall on the first floor of the Museum features over 500 dinosaur and fossil specimens, many of which were found in Texas. We saw the bones of prehistoric mammals, prehistoric reptiles and amphibians, prehistoric marine life, and more. The boys liked this floor so much, we visited it first and last.
The second and third floors in the Museum showcase gems and minerals, and Texas wildlife (taxidermy) including fishes, nocturnal animals, lizards and snakes. The fourth floor, the Hall of Biodiversity, has a small exhibit on cave life and a large hall focused on exploring evolution. For detailed information on the exhibits, you can visit the Museum website. You may also be interested in the free curriculum guides, scavenger hunts, lessons, activities and coloring sheets offered by the Museum. My son filled out the book My Visit to the Museum—Pre–K/K (pdf) during our visit.
If you'd like to visit the Museum on a calm day, the word on the street is that there are rarely field trip visitors on Mondays. Weekends also tend to be less crowded. For more information, including hours of operation, visit the Texas Memorial Museum website. Please note that the Museum will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012.
Parking is a bit tricky because the Museum is on the UT campus and most street parking requires a permit. I recommend parking in the San Jacinto Garage, adjacent to the museum. There are automated machines located near the garage exit that will accept your payment (yesterday they were only accepting cash). The cost was $6 for 1 - 2 hours or $9 for 2 - 3 hours. For more information on parking, go here.
Texas Natural Science Center
The University of Texas at Austin
2400 Trinity Street
Austin, Texas 78705
Austin, Texas 78705