The Museum of the Earth has been open for ten years in Ithaca NY, and for ten years I have been telling my family that we should go see it.Â This summer we finally made the short drive and visited, and we had a blast.
The museum is run by the Paleontological Research Institution and is dedicated to being about fossils, earth science and the history of the earth.Â My family and I really liked the way it was laid out, since it basically had you travel through time.Â It started with early life in Pre-Cambrian period and worked up to the present day.Â As you walk through the exhibits you walk through the process of time, and see fossils ranging from ancient trilobites to dinosaurs and mammals.
Another thing that worked well was that each room or exhibit area you went into had a TV with a short overview video.Â This was much more engaging than just having to read all the information, and made sure that we didnâ€™t miss anything important.Â There were hundreds of fossils on the walls and in cases, and many were actual fossils, not just casts.Â It took us just over two hours to go through the museum, which was perfect, since it wasnâ€™t so long that it got boring.
One of the prizes of the collection is the Hyde Park Mastodon, which was dug up in Hyde Park New York.
It is huge, and it is impressive to think that animals this size were around less than 12,000 years ago.
Now that I have been to the museum I realize my kids would not have enjoyed it nearly as much 10 years ago, because it really is not meant for young children.Â There is one hands one area, where you can search through bins of rock that contains fossils, and find your own fossil to take home.
Here is one of the fossils my kids found while searching through the rocks.
It is great that they let you take a fossil home, and of course my kids had to take their time and find the best possible one!
So if you are in Ithaca this makes a great short educational excursion.Â The museum is affiliated with the Cayuga Nature Center, which is right next door, but we didnâ€™t have time for a visit to that.Â But the two together would make an excellent full day excursion.Â Check out their website for hours and directions!
What great local attractions have you visited this summer?