Opened in June 2019, the Cook Museum of Natural Science is a state-of-the-art, 62,000-square-foot nonprofit museum that provides kids and adults alike with immersive, hands-on experiences with nature and opportunities to learn completely under the guise of fun and excitement. The educational museum offers these experiences through numerous interactive galleries, live animal exhibits, and a renowned 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium that serves as home to one of the museum’s favorite residents, a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. Rounding out the facility—which won the USA Today Best New Museum award—is a restaurant, retail shop, meeting and event rental space, and even high-tech labs for education classes.
The Oceans Gallery features a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium that’s home to all sorts of fish, coral reef, and even a rescue Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, the smallest sea turtle in the world. Also in the gallery you’ll find a 440-gallon aquarium with moon jellyfish.
Explore what feels like a real-life forest in the Forest Exhibit. The exhibit includes a replica of a massive tulip poplar tree—which kids can actually get in and crawl through and even check out a squirrel’s nest. Also in the forest is the Curiosity Cabin, a bird exhibit and all sorts of plants.
While learning about different conditions on Earth, visitors can get hands-on with the award-winning HoloSands interactive kinetic sand table. This advanced tech utilizes software with the sand, allowing visitors to feel like they are building snow-capped mountains, hills, flowing rivers, and even erupting volcanoes.