Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Hello again, friends!  Here's another post by me, Owen.

We've posted before on going to the Van Gogh Museum, but Leiden itself has a lot of museums we can visit for free with our Museumkaarten.  Last weekend, Clara and I went to the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, whose exhibits on the variety of life are astonishing.

More pictures below!

We spent most of our time in the "Nature Theater," where vast arrays of lifelike taxidermy are displayed with the animals in natural poses:

I like the sloth's position especially.  And the shark's.
The information about each animal is thoughtfully arranged on a card that is either unambiguously nearby, or else with a clear silhouette of the animal.  I appreciated not needing to hunt for an ID number, or search for a listing and find it not to be what I was looking for.  Elsewhere in the Nature Theater are also sections for insects, minerals, and even preserved plants:

The displays go up and over your head, like a tunnel.
Other sections of the museum included an exhibit on the history of the Earth (at each stage pointing out where the Netherlands was in its development), a wing on the senses creatures have and how they vary (a favorite of the children, it seemed, and for good reason), and a room containing a giant model of Earth that rotates on its axis at 100x normal speed (we measured): the Mega Globe.  Here are some pictures from an exhibit on animals in motion:

This zebra is frozen in the act of fleeing. 
The course of a pigeon in flight.
We went just before closing, so we'll have to go again and bring back more pictures.  What's your favorite museum you've ever been to, and why?  Tell us in the comments!

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