The Earth Forum is an exhibit focusing on developing a sense of wonder in the world around. With eleven interactive stations, visitors can look deeper into some of the Earth’s natural phenomena. These stations include the Seasons Interactive, Sand Dune Maker, Earthquake Table, Cloud Maker, Wave Machine, Spinning Currents Globe, Tornado Tube, Population Tubes, and the Tropical Terrarium that reproduces a rainforest ecosystem.
Hamman Hall of Texas Coastal Ecology
The large and engaging Hamman Hall of Texas Coastal Ecology pays homage to the coastal ecosystems which provide so much business, life and joy to the state. Divided into zones representing Texas’ two coasts, the hall highlights the coastal regions’ ecologic, as well as economic importance. Visitors will explore dioramas showcasing various habitats including oyster reefs, or learn about the recovery of species such as the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. This exhibit not only examines the importance of healthy coastlines, but also covers coastal restoration and conservation.
Vintage Texas Wildlife Dioramas
For those looking for even more dioramas than those found in Hamman Hall, visitors need only look to the next permanent exhibit, Vintage Texas Wildlife Dioramas. A part of the Museum for several decades, the oldest among the collection dates back to the 1940s. These dioramas have been painstakingly conserved, not only preserving the original educational intension of the scenes, but the style of the time in which it was created. Habitats represented in the collection include the Prairie, Big Thicket and the Gulf Coast, among other scenes showcasing the wildlife that call these habitats home.
Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife
As the early dioramas of the Museum’s past were restored and moved to the vintage diorama exhibit, new ones were created to take their place in Farish hall. These scenes represent Texas wildlife, including such habitats as the Wetlands, Coastal Prairie, South Texas Dry Forest, and more. Representing more some 250 species across 450 specimens, these displays emphasize rare or endangered creatures. These diorama exhibits help the HMNS to fulfill its mission of education, representing the habitats of these animals prior to human colonization.
Strake Hall of Malacology
The study of mollusks, known as malacology, takes center stage at the Strake Hall of Malacology. These diverse creatures range in size from minute snails to giant squid, captivating us in tide pools and seas stories alike. This exhibit educates visitors about these fascinating creatures through fossils, models and even living specimens.
Wortham Giant Screen Theatre
Since its opening in 1989, the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre has captivated millions of viewers. Now, with state of the art equipment, including an upgrade to the IMAX experience, this 394-seat auditorium continues to amaze and entertain. Showing such breathtaking films as National Parks Adventure 3D, Wild Africa and Extreme Weather 3D, audiences feel almost as if they are transported to these captivating locations.
Cockrell Butterfly Center
The Cockrell Butterfly Center and Brown Hall of Entomology welcome visitors into the fascinating world of insects. Highlights of the exhibit include the Rainforest Conservatory, complete with a 50-foot waterfall. In this glass structure, butterflies live among rainforest plants, fluttering past the visitors who walk through the exhibit. From the Conservatory, guests can venture into the Brown Hall of Entomology. The various levels of the hall showcase different creatures: arthropods on the upper level, insects on the lower level, and a special exhibit for kids on the main level. As Cockrell Butterfly Center also hosts seasonal events, such as the fall plant sale or the OktoberPest celebration, visitors will want to review the Center’s website prior to arrival to partake in any upcoming festivities. Photo: The Houston Museum of Natural Science
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