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Get Freaky and Fanciful at the DMNS Mythic Creatures Exhibit

From sea, sky, and land, they’ve come!

Mythic Creatures have invaded the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. From now until September 7th, your family can encounter some of the most legendary beasts concocted by the human imagination. Some are really scary. (Chupacabra, I’m looking at you.) Some are majestic, like the Unicorn or Griffon. Others are comical, colorful, creepy or all of the above.

dmnsmythiccreatures_2The newest exhibit at the DMNS brings together history, geography, oral tradition, mythology, and the fossil record in one of the most innovative collections I’ve ever seen. Massive life-sized creatures rise from the floor, swoop from the rafters, and pose as if they are about to kick off the best fantasy epic this side of Lord of the Rings.

Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids shows that science and the fanciful can coexist beautifully. Each creature is explained with wonderful clarity, using art, fossils, literature, and even today’s pop culture to complete a picture of a world that has faded away. It’s easy for our 21st century mindset to dismiss our ancestors as wide-eyed children who believed in elephant-sized birds and fire-breathing dragons, but this exhibit doesn’t insult or disrespect those cultural differences.

Along with the huge models of the most famous mythic creatures, the exhibit offers families opportunities to create their own mythic creatures. A large art station invites kids of all ages to create their own Mythic Creature to hang up on a wall for all to admire. Little ones can play with whimsical puppets. You can design your own dragon on a touch screen and release it to fly. Story tellers share exciting legends. We stopped at a booth dedicated to Colorado’s own mythic creatures. Have you seen a jackalope? A furry trout? Bigfoot? All live in our great state. Maybe. Probably not. But it’s fun to think about.

When you visit Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids, there are a few things to keep in mind.

~ Younger kids could be scared by some of the larger, more detailed creatures. My older kids thought they were fantastic and beautiful, but my toddler flipped out when he saw the chupacabra. It’s small, but he noticed.

~ Strollers and photography are allowed (no flash, though!).

~ Admission into the exhibit is included in the price of museum admission.

~ Make sure you get a green screen photo on your way out. Hilarious!

~ The exhibit is a great size for families. It’s long enough to leave you feeling like you learned a lot, but short enough to accommodate the attention spans of kids.

~ It is open every day until September 7th.

~ For more information, visit Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids

Jerusalem 3D: Don’t Miss this IMAX Event at DMNS

One city. Five thousand years. Three young women as tour guides and one incredible experience. These are some of the numbers that figure into the must-see film by National Geographic, Jerusalem 3D, now playing at the IMAX Theater at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Museums where kids dig the past in Colorado

During road trips, nothing beats a museum for prompting a child’s eyes to glaze over. History? To kids, that means last year. But a handful of Colorado museums will pique the interest of otherwise jaded youth. Here are some of them:

Giant Steam Shovel

Colorado 119 at Colorado 72, outside the Nederland Mining Museum, Nederland

Dig in.

This behemoth, officially known as the Bucyrus 50-B steam shovel, was built in 1923 and labored at the Lump Gulch Placer mine near Rollinsville. When the mine closed in 1973, the steam shovel was left to itself for 35 years. In 2005, it was donated to the Nederland Area Historical Society as the last functional steam shovel of its kind in the world.

It did not actually dig the Panama Canal, which was completed in 1914, long before the Bucyrus 50-B was a gleam in a welder’s eye. Instead, the Bucyrus 50-B is the last survivor of a fleet of 24 steam shovels that disposed of dirt and rocks excavated from the canal, and helped construct dams, bridges and roads in the wake of the canal’s nominal completion.

Bonus: Nederland is also the home of the Tuff Shed Cryogenics Mausoleum, which houses the celebrated Grandpa Bredo Morstoel. He inspired the town’s annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival.

The mausoleum, which really is a Tuff Shed, is located on private land and no longer is open to the public.

Grampa Jerry’s Clown Museum