Christmas Break Family Fun – Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Beaty Museum blue whale skeleton
This blue whale skeleton was buried for over a decade on Prince Edward Island before undergoing a big clean-up and a long journey to its new home

A recently-opened museum at UBC is also a great resource for anyone looking for new attractions to entertain children over the Christmas break.

The Beaty Biodiversity Museum is not only the home of the magnificent blue whale skeleton prominently suspended from its ceiling. Downstairs there are hundreds of specimens from every branch of flora and fauna for kids to check out. Taken from the university’s extensive collection, with specimens dating back as far as 1910, the museum’s displays are literally a walk through the animal kingdom. Skulls, skins, stuffed animals… they’re all there, plus fish and amphibians preserved in jars, plants and lichens, fossils, and a small theatre, currently showing a preview of a Discovery Channel documentary on the blue whale skeleton that now calls the museum home.

My daughter (8 yrs old) and I spent at least a couple of hours there on a rainy November day, without boredom setting in. If your kids are into animals (aren’t they all?) then this is a great place for them to explore. Plus, it’s easy to get to whether you’re driving or taking transit, and is likely to be a little less crowded than Science World or the Aquarium, especially during the holidays. Here’s some additional information from the museum’s website.

Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm
Monday-Tuesday closed for research
Holidays: The museum will be closed November 11 and closed December 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28.

The museum will be open December 29, 30, 31 and open January 1 and 2.

The museum will be closed as normal for January 3 and 4, then open Wednesdays-Sundays beginning January 5, 2011.

Admission: prices include applicable taxes
Adult $12
Senior, non-UBC student (with valid ID), and youth (13-17 years) $10
Child (5-12 years) $8
Child (under 4 years) free
Family $35
UBC Alumni (with Alumni card) 2 for 1
Current UBC faculty, staff, or student (with valid ID) free
Group rates: 10 or more people, self-guided, prices include applicable taxes
Adult $10 ea.
Senior, non-UBC student (with valid ID), and youth (13-17 years) $9 ea.
Child (5-12 years) $7 ea.

What to do:

Temporary Exhibit: The Flora of BC
Over 100 preserved specimens of plants and algae from the research collection of the Beaty Museum are currently on display. Learn the names of plants you may see every day, as well as a few rare ones. Find out which “wildflowers” are native to British Columbia and which are introduced—the answers may surprise you!

• explore over 20,000 square feet of collections exhibits right where the specimens are stored
• interact with the specimens in our teaching lab, find out how researchers use the collection
• watch films celebrating biodiversity in our auditorium
• view the largest blue whale skeleton on display in Canada and find out how it is one small part of a much larger whole

Story Time – 12:00
Museum Tours – 12:30 & 2:00

Family Hour – 11:30
Museum Tours – 12:30, 2:00 & 3:30

Family Hour
Get hands on with museum interpreters for specialized family programming in our Discovery Area. Daily programs will vary and may include story time, puppet work, crafts, kids activities & others.

Museum Tour
Biodiversity is about so much more than the number of species in nature! Join a museum interpreter for this 30 minute museum tour which highlights some of the museum’s amazing biodiversity specimens and stories.

*Program times are subject to change. Check daily schedule onsite at the museum.

Directions: UBC is easy to get to on transit (take any bus headed for UBC, these include the 43, 44, 84, 99, and 480) and we’re a short walk from the bus loops (see map at right and watch our video).

The Beaty Biodiversity Museum is located at:

2212 Main Mall, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

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