Museum of Natural History, Iowa City

4.3
#5 of 13 in Things to do in Iowa City
The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, founded in 1858, is a museum on the University of Iowa campus at Iowa City, Iowa. The museum is known for its extensive collection of birds, mammals, and Native American artifacts. Major research collections include the Kallam Collection of prehistoric stone tools, the Talbot and Jones Bird Collections, the Frank Russell Collection of Inuit and Native Arctic artifacts, and a large collection from the Philippines from the 1904 World's Fair.The museum houses several galleries and exhibits. Iowa Hall covers 500 million years of Iowa's geological, cultural, and ecological history. Mammal Hall exhibits the adaptation and diversity of nearly every mammalian order, from the aardvark to the zebra. The Hageboeck Hall of Birds displays more than 1,000 specimens, including the historic Laysan Island Cyclorama. The Diversity of Life exhibits describe major plant and animal groups, and the art of taxidermy. The newest gallery, the Biosphere Discovery Hub, investigates the complex relationships between culture and the environment.Tarkio Valley slothsFrom 2002 until 2010 the museum coordinated excavations of at least three Jefferson's ground sloths, Megalonyx jeffersonii, along the West Tarkio Creek near Shenandoah, Iowa. Most recently, a fourth giant sloth of a different species, Paramylodon harlani, has been identified from the excavation site. This is the first confirmed specimen of Paramylodon to be discovered in Iowa.
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Museum of Natural History Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
85 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Was shocked to find this in a Iowa City. This is a great museum to visit on a rainy day. The place is maintained very well and is clean. If you're interested in checking this place out I would go for ...  more »
  • Worth a visit...Very detailed history of the mid-west...Impressive exhibits...Interactive presentations  more »
  • I took my friend's children (6, 8, 10 & 12 years old) to visit the museum before summer ended. We were all surprised at the variety of animals, birds and history on display! What a nice (and free) mus...  more »
Google
  • I didn't make a trip to the natural history Museum until after we had moved it actually came back to visit friends. I'm super bummed that I didn't know about this place sooner! My wife and kiddos have gone here a couple of times previously and after hearing about a whale skeleton, I figured it was something that was worth seeing . I wish we were coming here once a month! The museum wanders through one of the Pentacrest buildings and spends three floors on both sides of the building. The exhibits range from glass cases with fossils and taxidermy animals, all the way up to large auditorium sized rooms with giant exhibits of all kinds of birds and I'll kinds of animals. The animal exhibit is quite impressive with tons of different types of animals ranging from whales to rhinoceroses, to Arctic wolves and small rodents. My favorite new animal and perhaps the most hilariously named one, is the least weasel. All in all, it's quite the menagerie! A great spot to see tons of animal statues and mannequins as well as a chance to learn about the history of the area. A wonderful way to spend a few hours on a Saturday!
  • Absolutely incredible bird collection. A must see for any fan of ornithology.
  • Lots of great information about the past cultures and the geology of Iowa. Much of the other displays and animal mounts seem dated by today's museum standards. Still a fun place to visit and the staff is very helpful.
  • Small but nice and very informative. Displays are mostly about Iowa's native species.
  • Unique place to visit and take kids! Free!
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