My family and I are HUGE fans of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. They have a world class collection of artifacts, and the exhibits are interactive and engaging for just about every age group. We especially enjoy their temporary special exhibits. Recently, we saw the Mythbusters exhibit where the kids got to try their hand at some of the TV show’s most popular myths. We were really excited to return for the newest special exhibit, “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed”, and the museum definitely did not let us down. The Maya exhibit begins with a short film about the history and mythology of the Mayan people, which provided some background for the symbolism of their gods found in carvings, pottery, jewelry, painting, and textiles found throughout the exhibit hall.
As we entered, two giant replicas of carved stone pillars took our breath away. They are massive, yet so intricately carved. All throughout are hands-on activities and computers with more in-depth videos, and some fun keepsake printables. Be sure to give yourself a Mayan name (mine was “Radiant Flower”…ahem!) and create a birthday calendar! My kids found this fun challenge, where they had to reassemble a broken pot, the way an archaeologist might:
As we wandered through the huge exhibit (and it really is BIG, being the first special exhibit to occupy both the older Phipps gallery, and the brand new Anschutz gallery), we saw everything from a replica of a sacrificial altar, to pottery, burial sites, amulets and ceremonial objects, clothing, fun and games, temple paintings, huts, weavings, and lots more. The exhibit is thoughtfully laid out with hands-on stations every few yards, so it was very easy to let my kids play with the activities while I studied and read about the amazing relics.
After we got through the exhibit, we had to explore the gift shop, which is full of beautifully handcrafted weavings, beaded jewelry, and fun crafts and toys. There were also several fascinating book titles, on historical and religious aspects of Mayan life. We learned so much about this remarkable culture that has endured even to today! Our only qualm was that the exhibit really is very big, and by the time we got through it all, our tummies were empty and our bladders were full! So when you visit, be sure to have a snack and a potty break before entering!
Before heading home, we made our way to the brand new Morgridge Family Exploration Center, which adds 126,000 beautiful square feet of exhibition space. With panoramic views of City Park and the Denver Skyline, an outdoor nature and public art space coming this spring, and the new Discovery Zone play area opening in June, we are excited to come back for even more fun at the Museum!
Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed exhibit opened February 14th and runs through August 24th. For more information on it, and all the Museum has to offer including tickets and membership purchases, visit DMNS.org
disclaimer: We were provided free admission to the Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed exhibit, courtesy of Denver Museum of Nature and Science, in exchange for a review of the exhibit. The opinions and text are honest and are my own.