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Local Spotlight: The Houston Museum of Natural Science
A Science Education That Flies Out of the Textbooks -- Literally

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Mimicking its living, breathing butterfly center, The Houston Museum of Natural Science is constantly delighting crowds -- "accomplished though the cycle of new exhibits and updates to our permanent collection," Chris Arreaga of the museum said. Take on the 100-year-old institution with this deal:

• $11 ($23 value) for one ticket to the Cockrell Butterfly Center and one ticket to Exhibit Hall
• Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday
• Located in Hermann Park

Overwhelmed by this behemoth of a museum? Begin by getting to know the butterflies...
"People come from all around the world, it's really a huge international hub," Arreaga said. "England, Columbia, Saudia Arabia, Japan." Join the throngs at the The Cockrell Butterfly Center – an exhibit in motion.

Inside this three-floor tropical rainforest, you'll encounter a 50-foot waterfall, orchids, the Brown Hall of Entomology, a play area, and hundreds of preserved insects.

But the showstoppers here are the 3,000 dazzling emerald and radiantly purple butterflies flown in from South and Central America and South Asia. They're raised as caterpillars in their native land, and then sent to the museum in their chrysalis stage.

"We get them and then [staff] will hang them on a string and you can see them hatch -- every single day." After four to eight hours of allowing their wings to dry, the butterflies are released into the rainforest.

Dinos, diamonds, and drilling, oh my
With four floors making up the permanent exhibit edition of the museum -- Exhibit Hall -- "it takes most people a good two to three hours do everything," Arreaga said.

Start with the new Paleontology exhibit, "the biggest in North America" and which doubled the museum in size this summer by welcoming more than 450 dinosaur fossils. Walk beneath these towering ancient skeletons, linger in the Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault gazing at 273.46 carats of amethyst, and marvel at modern energy source generation in Wiess Energy Hall -- and Texas's role in it.

Challenge your knowledge of Texas wildlife as you gaze at a four-screen video wall that presents the state's biospheres, or get to know a 2,400-year-old mummy in the Egypt exhibit before it's remodeled -- in true HMNS form it's getting a makeover in 2013.




    5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030
    713-639-4629 | get directions

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