Friday, May 8, 2015

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Part Two

Continuing our visit from the last post, we left Ancient Egypt and began to explore the skeletons of various water creatures. The museum has a large collection of everything from turtles to sharks!

Leatherback turtle

Turtles and alligators

Lizards!

Sea cow

Prehistoric shark's mouth

The museum has an extensive rock collection, which isn't as boring as it sounds. They start the display with the most impressive stuff and work their way down to lava. First is the jem room. The top attraction is the Hope Diamond, a 45.52-carat diamond famous for its flawlessness and amazing blue color. It also has an exotic history.

Hope Diamond

Another impressive bit of jewelry is the Hazen Diamond Necklace. It has 325 diamonds weighing a combined total of 131.4 carats.

Hazen Diamond Necklace

More exotic but less shiny are these meteor fragments discovered in the late 1700s in Arizona. The local blacksmith used the bottom one as an anvil (since he thought it was just another big, hard rock). In 1852 a visiting scientist realized it was a meteorite fragment and it wound up in the Smithsonian collection.

Space rocks!

The collection continues with a wide variety of stones from various places and in various natural shapes.

Rocks

Nice colors on the rocks

Golden copycats

Some of the rocks had unnatural shapes, like these stone that were pressed when molten rock came out of Mt. Vesuvius.

Rocks with human shapes!

Making the rock souvenirs

Rocks taken from the earth's interior look suspiciously like the space rocks earlier on.

Molten lava looks the same on any rocky celestial object, I suppose

More displays show the history of the earth, going back to the time when there was only one continent that broke up into the seven we have now.

Pan-tastic

We wandered back downstairs and saw some birds on display as well as the iconic elephant in the main lobby of the museum.

Predators on the rocks

Lobby seen from above

Down by the elephant

The visit was fun and there's still more to see so I'm sure we'll go back.

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