I wanted to take my son to see some dinosaur fossils, since he’s studying all about them at school this month. But were? The new California Academy of sciences has a section devoted to dinosaurs and fossils, but I wasn’t ready to brave the crowds.
So I found the perfect alternative for our day trip: the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley. This museum is housed in the Life Sciences building on the university campus. It’s not a typical museum, as the exhibits are spread out in the halls of this building of research and study. We spent about half an hour and saw all of the displays.
These are some of the fossils we enjoyed viewing the most:
- There is a freestanding mount of T-rex in the atrium, and a Pteranodon hanging over his head. Next to the big guy, is a computer exhibit where kids can find out more about the life and times of the Tyrannosaurus.
- Climb the stairwell past the T-rex and head through the doors of the natural sciences library to find where the Triceratops hang out. There you can view the smallest Triceratops skull ever found, and plenty of studious college kids. My son was just as much in awe of the big kids at the library, as he was of the fossil displays.
- Among some of the other fossils you’ll find on the second floor, is the Archaeopteryx, the world’s earliest known feathered bird.
Useful tidbits: The UCMP website has details on what fossils you will find on display, as well as some cool links on other dino-related information. You can view the displays as long as the Natural Sciences building and library is open. The museum is free of charge.
The university has plenty of other museums and areas to explore after your visit. I would definitely add a visit to the Lawrence Hall of Science.