1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence Kansas 66045United States
A favorite school field trip, the free Natural History Museum features dinosaur bones, Kansas prairie animals, a buzzing bee colony, live bugs and snakes.
A quick tour through the free Natural History Museum on the Kansas University campus takes you back to your elementary school field trip days of dinosaur bones and wildlife dioramas. But for today's young students there are also hands-on, interactive biology-based exhibits, such as "Explore Evolution," explaining how scientists study life's diversity through DNA discovered in fossils. There's a buzzing bee colony, live snakes exhibit and insects marching about "Bugtown." At the time of this writing, new exhibits are under construction on the top floor. Kids love to spot native Sunflower State animals in the prairiescape called Panorama of North American. The lifelike grasslands setting of wolves, bison, mountain goats, prairie dogs and other Plains mammals was first displayed in the Kansas Pavilion of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Check out the now stuffed, famous horse Comanche tucked away by the bathrooms. In the museum's entrance, look down at the intricate marble mosaic floor depicting animals and sea life intertwined in a Gordian knotlike design. The skeleton of a writhing 45-foot mosasaur, a fish from the Cretaceous Period 85 million years ago, seems to swim in the air above the artful lobby floor. Free admission.