What Is the Denver Museum of Nature and Science?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
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  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2019
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The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is located on Colorado Boulevard in Denver, Colorado. It houses a collection of artifacts related to the natural world and human history. The museum includes a number of permanent exhibits but it also hosts touring exhibitions and special events. Aside from the exhibits the Denver Museum of Nature and Science also includes an IMAX theater and a planetarium.

Originally known as the the Colorado Museum of Natural History, the museum first opened in 1900. It was originally designed to hold a wide variety of exhibits that had been gathered by a naturalist named Edwin Carter. He began exploring Colorado in 1868 and collected animal specimens that he stored in his Breckenridge home. As his collection grew, his home become known as the Carter Museum.

For practical purposes, he decided to move his collection to Denver, where funds were raised to pay for the establishment of the museum. Other scientists including John F. Campion and John T. Mason donated mineral and animal exhibits to the fledgling museum. In 1908, the museum moved to a custom built location in the Coloradoan capital.


The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is well known for its extensive collection of prehistoric relics. Archaeologists have discovered the skeletal remains often large numbers of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures throughout Colorado and many of these bones and other artifacts are now on permanent display in the museum. Among the permanent prehistoric exhibits are the skeletons of a Diplodocus and a Stegosaurus.

Visitors to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science can visit the Egyptian exhibition, a permanent exhibit featuring two mummies and other relics from the North African nation. Other human artifacts on permanent display include a North American Indian exhibit that includes artwork, pottery and other traditional items that were crafted by tribes from Colorado and other parts of the nation. Expedition Health includes information and interactive displays related to human biology.

The Museum includes a large collection of rocks and minerals, and replica of a mine that includes tools and equipment that prospectors used during the pioneering days. Also housed in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a large collection of stuffed mammals and life size models of other animals from different regions of the world. Sections of the permanent wildlife exhibit can be found on three of the museum's four floors.

The Gates Planetarium began operations in 1968, and it has a regularly changing line up of shows related to space or to the planet Earth. In 1983, an IMAX screen was added to the museum. Like the planetarium, the IMAX theater shows a variety of different films, and its line up of movies changes on a frequent basis. Visitors to the museum are required to buy separate tickets to watch shows in the planetarium and the IMAX theater.


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