AAA/Photo submitted by Maria White
AAA/Greg Weekes
AAA/Greg Weekes
AAA Editor Notes
National Museum of Natural History is at 1000 Constitution Ave. N.W. (at 10th St.). Devoted to the natural world, this Smithsonian museum features such notable exhibits as the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, a collection that includes the legendary Hope Diamond. The David H. Koch Hall of Fossils—explores the 3.7 billion year history of life on earth and features a host of dinosaurs, including the centerpiece, the Nation's T. rex. Also featured are more than 700 other fossil specimens, including mammals, reptiles, plants and insects—some never before displayed at the museum. The hall is a curving chronicle of the entire history of life on Earth that shows the origin and evolution of plants and animals, re-creates their ancient worlds and highlights past examples of climate change and extinction.

The Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals features more than 270 mammals in lifelike poses that tell the 225 million-year story of evolution and adaptation of mammals from polar regions to the Sahara Desert. Exhibitions in Sant Ocean Hall demonstrate how the ocean is intrinsically connected to other global systems and our daily lives; highlights include preserved male and female giant squid specimens and a replica of a North Atlantic right whale. Changing exhibitions are also presented.

The Butterfly + Plants: Partners in Evolution explores the ways butterflies and other animals have evolved, adapted and diversified together with their plant partners. The Live Butterfly Pavilion is a tubular walk-through space, with high-strength artificial lighting and flowering plants creating an environment where visitors are surrounded by free-flying butterflies from around the world. At the O. Orkin Insect Zoo you can get eye-to-eye with live insects and arthropods and learn about the adaptations that make them so successful at survival.

Q?rius offers ways for tweens, teens and their families to connect science with everyday experiences. .

The West Court features two dining facilities—the Atrium Cafe and the Ocean Terrace Cafe. Above them hangs a 52-foot model of the largest shark that ever lived—Carcharodon megalodon.

Food is available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.

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