As my young nephews and I walked down Poeta Lugones Avenue, skirting the lush Sarmiento Park, their excitement mounted. The boys, aged 5 and 7, live in a medium-sized town, so taking the bus sans parents to the big city to see a glyptodon for the first time was a great adventure.
Our final destination was the Natural History Museum of Córdoba (Argentina.) The current building was opened in 2007 and is located in the tony neighbourhood of Nueva Córdoba. The circular interior was designed in the shape of a spiral in which three levels are joined by a continuous ramp. The handrail is quite wide and even has backlit displays along the top.
The collections include rocks and minerals from around the world, which alas failed to create excitement among our party. However, the local flora and fauna displays did. The absolute stars were the fossil reproductions of local Pleistocene megafauna: sabre tooth tigers, smilodons, mastodons, glyptodonts, and the like. Actually, one glyptodon shell is the real McCoy and was discovered during the construction of a dam.
On the third floor is the newest exhibition, called ‘The Rebirth of the Giants” (El renacer de los gigantes). It consists of displays of fossils found in the area and studied by the Museum’s paleontologists, as well as photos and videos of the paleontological site and the scientists’ fieldwork. The boys and I watched the videos; then they asked questions which I tried to answer to the best of my scant knowledge and made comments about what they saw. It was lovely to see them engaged.
I love taking my nieces and nephews to museums. My mother says it is my signature outing! I firmly believe that it is never too early to acquire all kinds of knowledge. Besides, creating lasting memories is so much fun.
Museo Provincial de Ciencias Naturales Dr. Arturo Umberto Illia
Av. Poeta Lugones 395, Barrio Nueva Córdoba, Argentina
Tuesdays through Sundays 10:00 to 5:30. Summer opening hours vary
Admission AR$15. Free for pensioners, students, and children under 18.