Grandparents on the Go

Arizona Museum of Natural History

Arizona Museum of Natural History

Grandparents on the Go
By Cathy Droz & Cathy Burford

Cathy droz and Cathy BurfordYour dinosaur-obsessed four-year-old grandchild may be the reason that you venture out to Mesa’s Arizona Natural History Museum, but prehistoric creatures are just one aspect of this multi-faceted museum!  The second you walk through the entrance and into the lobby you are greeted by a couple of  overwhelming mammoth skeletons – it makes quite an impression. That said, you will be faced with so many choices of collections that you may need to rely on the staff to help you plan your route. Plenty of staff/volunteers are on hand, and they were all both cheerful and helpful!

We began our visit with Origins, seemed a logical place to start.  Here you will find images from Hubble and NASA, meteorites, and all manner of gorgeous crystals, rocks and minerals.  Let me just say that it is nearly impossible to do this museum justice on a single visit, therefore I highly recommend a museum membership! In addition to the Origins exhibit, the remainder of the permanent exhibits are: Dinosaur Hall, Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona Through Time, Paleo Dig Pit, Arizona History, Exploration Station, Southwest Cultures, Mesoamerica, Rulers of the Prehistoric Skies, and Sculptures and Public Art! I just don’t have the space to detail all of the treasures in each of these exhibits, but I can assure you that your little ones will be in awe of these collections, especially Dinosaur Mountain with its flash flood and animated creatures – it is quite the spectacle! As of December 2012, there is also a NASA exhibit that is fascinating, even for your youngest grandchildren.

Another area that we devoted loads of time to is Arizona History; containing a stagecoach, a courtyard where visitors can pan for gold, a downstairs original location territorial jail (in use from the 1880’s to 1997), and a stroll through a re-created Arizona mine.  Due to the wealth and breadth of exhibits, I would allow a minimum of two hours for your first visit.  By the way, did I mention that there are in excess of 58,000 objects in this museum? All the more reason to invest in a membership!


If you go:

Arizona Museum of Natural History

53 N MacDonald

Mesa, AZ                                                              Admission:  Adults           $10.

480.644.2230                                                                                             Seniors 65+    $9.

Hours: Tues –Friday 10-5                                                               Children 3-12  $6.

Saturday 11-5                                                                                          Under 3            FREE

Sunday 1-5