Museum Reviews new Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Albuquerque Nm

From the moment of passing between the two life-sized bronze dinosaurs flanking the front entrance, a visit to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is like taking a step back through time, back to the beginnings of the earth and even back to the dawn of the universe. Where else can you enjoy a walk through a living volcano, ride the ‘evoulator’ back through time, and pet a turtle, all within a single day?

The museum is divided into three separate venues: the museum exhibits, the planetarium, and the Dynatheater. Affiliated with the main museum is the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center (SMNHC), an ecology and sustainable living educational center located on a 128-acre piece of pinon-juniper forest adjacent to the Cibola Natural Forest. In addition to teaching facilities and 7 miles of trails, the SMNHC also includes the hands-on Explorers’ Center and Eco-Casa, a full-size model of an environmentally friendly house.

The eight permanent exhibit halls are set up to create a journey through time, from the birth of the universe to the most recent ice age, and then to astronomy and space exploration. A highlight of the Jurassic Super Giants hall is Stan, the complete skeleton of the second largest Tyrannosaurus rex ever to have been found. Another permanent display is “STARTUP: Albuquerque and the Personal Computer Revolution,” which has won MUSE awards from the American Association of Museums. Most of the displays are geared toward a family level, so the same displays that keep children engaged for hours may take adults without children only a couple of hours.

The museum also offers tours of its collections, as well as a wide assortment of general interest lectures. Tours are free with paid admission, while special events may have an extra charge. First Saturdays at the SMNHC are public events which cover a wide range of ecological topics.

Each of the three venues is charged separately. Admission is $7 for adults and children aged 13+, $6 for seniors, and $4 for children aged 4 to 12. Children 3 and under are free. Multivenue combos discount $1 for two venues, $2 for three venues, and $3 for four venues (includes an extra show). New Mexico seniors receive free museum admission every Wednesday morning. Under the Free County Month program, each New Mexico county is assigned a month during which its residents are given free museum admission. Individual and family memberships are available, which also includes free admission to over 200 partner museums worldwide.

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science can be found at 1801 Mountain Road NW in historic Old Town, next to Explora! and just across from the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. Hours of operation are 9-5 everyday, closed holidays and Mondays in September and January. The SMNHC is also closed to the public during school hours.