A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Natural History Museum of Utah - Dinos and Native Americans

Okay, I'll admit it.  I went a little crazy with pictures on this day of vacation.  So I'll break this down into a couple of posts so it's more than just a giant photo dump.

We went to the Natural History Museum of Utah, which is affiliated with University of Utah.  Even from the outside, it's a neat building.  If we lived nearby, we'd totally have a family membership.  I could see myself spending a lot of time here.

There were fish fossils,

And leaf fossils,

And a glass floor exhibit, like the one we have at our local history museum.

But unlike our local museum, this one has DINOSAURS!

Great big dinosaurs,

and an array of dino skulls.

Can you imagine being responsible for putting in order all these almost identical vertebra...

...to make this long, long tail?

This little guy down in front?

Weirdest looking bones I've ever seen.

In addition to the large, majestic dinosaurs, there were some little ones, too.

Even a few flying dinos!

Okay, so the big guy with the long tusks is a mammoth.  Look down.  To the left in front of him, you can see a baby mammoth.

That's this guy.  I was reminded of Manny the Mammoth from the movie Ice Age.

Remember how I said I loved the building?  The views!  Omigosh, it was amazing.  You can see the capitol.

And there it is.  We saw it closer up when we were out driving around, but I didn't get a picture of it then.

You might want to read this sign.  In a couple of days, I'll be talking about the drive from Utah to Nevada, where we pass by the Bonneville Salt Flats, and get to see this area.

More awe inspiring views.

And then we were in Native American exhibits.  Baskets and pottery and petroglyphs and all sorts of interesting things.

My boys would have liked seeing the weapons, of course.

This was pretty cool.  The museum had a lot of hands on areas.  For instance, you could try your hand at assembling a rubber version of a dino skull, or piece together some faux pottery shards.  This was an area where you could go down into the excavation pit and poke around and get a feel for what it's like on a real dig.

One thing that struck me about the shoes is how small they all seemed.  I'm sure some of it was shrinkage with the age of the leathers, but it also seems like folks were smaller back then.  I didn't see any moccasins that would fit my size 9 feet.

When I was a kid, there was a little Native American museum that I used to walk past sometimes.  I remember seeing obsidian arrowheads and woven baskets there.  Seems arrowheads can be made out of lots of other materials, too.

We stepped out onto a couple of the terraces to take in the view.  There are critters in the area, so I stayed on the patios.

But it's very pretty, if you can get past the lack of flowers.

Paul took lots of pictures, too.

This guy reminded me of Mr. Beaver in the Narnia movie.

Another terrace had mirror like windows.  We didn't get many pictures of us together on the trip, so I snapped this dorky one to prove that we were in the same place at the same time.

I enjoyed the Native American exhibits.  The stories about the disappearing culture and languages were compelling.

And the craftsmanship in the beadwork and other handiworks was beautiful.

I have to admit being a little disappointed when I got my Ancestry.com genetic testing results back, and I discovered I have no Native American ancestry.  My grandmother (who was an equal opportunity racist--she distrusted everybody) used to call my grandfather a "dirty old Indian" when I was a kid, so I always assumed there was some trace from him.  There's not.  Although I discovered that his grandfather was a Freemason, which was also kind of interesting.  I hope to do some more family tree research after the kids start school.  I have this fantasy that I'm going to have all sorts of free time then.  We'll see how realistic that ends up being, given that I've been getting involved with various volunteer organizations.

Coming next:  the Viking Experience at the Natural History Museum.  Which does have ancestral relevance for me.  I felt like the Viking exhibits deserved their own post.

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