Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Jeremy
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When it comes to learning about the history of the natural world around us, there is certainly a lot to take in.
For those who are interested in the animal kingdom especially, Pittsburgh has no better place to visit than the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Oakland- home to a wonderful selection of exhibits featuring dinosaurs all the way to modern day animals, and everything in between.
Toss in a few more unique exhibits from the natural world, and you have the makings of an incredible day out in the city.
A Unique Assortment at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is home to a large assortment of different themed halls from the world around us. These include halls dedicated to dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, the Arctic, the Cenozoic area (think saber-toothed cats and mammoths), and an incredible assortment of modern wildlife and ecology (including a bird collection that is quite vast).
I wouldn't personally categorize ancient Egypt or the Arctic as natural history, as the bulk majority of the features are focused around the history of man in these regions (and not nature itself). But considering they are both very interesting in their own respects, I'll give it a pass.
As the natural history aspect of the museum is primarily focused on animals ranging from dinosaurs to modern-day species, those that are interested in this aspect of the world we live in will find a treasure trove of knowledge in the exhibits that are on display. Even if you don't, I can't think of anyone who isn't interested in seeing dinosaur collections out on display, and the massive T-Rex skeletons are more than enough to make anyone's inner child happy.
Our Favorite Exhibit – The Hall of Gems
We'd be doing a disservice to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History if we only focused on the exhibits from the animal kingdom, as the museum does have several wings focused on other natural history topics.
Our favorite exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is, without a doubt, the Hall of Gems, and is one of the few natural history exhibits that we visited that does not focus on wildlife. Instead, this exhibit hall has one of the most impressive collections in the entire museum.
This collection goes well beyond just showing the different types of rocks and gems you learned about in elementary school and has just about every rock you've ever heard of on display- and then some. This means there are not only volcanic rocks, but also radioactive rocks (we're assured they're safe), rocks that change color under polarization, rocks that glow under ultraviolet light, and so many others that even we haven't heard of before.
It is a bit overwhelming trying to appreciate the hundreds upon hundreds of rocks and minerals that are on display at the Hall of Gems, but that only adds to the allure because complaining that a wing in a museum is too large is something you don't get the opportunity to say all that often, especially in Pittsburgh.
Overall, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a great museum outing in the city, especially for those who have children who are looking to visit exhibits to expand on topics they may be learning about in school and others who just want to visit a world-class museum in our city. As this museum is connected to the Carnegie Museum of Art, and admission includes access to both, you will have to plan for a long day if you even want to attempt to see it all.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in Oakland and is closed Tuesday. Admission gives you access to the sister museum, The Carnegie Museum of Art, which is located in the same building. For our review of the Carnegie Museum of Art, please click the previous link.
We'd like to thank the Carnegie Museums for inviting us to visit these great museums. As always, all opinions are our own.
For more museums in Pittsburgh, check out the Heinz History Center, Mattress Factory, the Bayernhof, or the Carrie Furnace tour!
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