OK, so this is another one of those museums that I have heard about for some time, but
kept thinking that "natural history" (animals) museums are not my thing. And again, let
me say, "Boy was I wrong", again. This is a fantastic place to visit.
The Anniston Museum of Natural History is a museum in Lagarde Park, Anniston, Alabama, exhibiting more than 2,000 natural history items on permanent display, including minerals, fossils, and rare animals in open dioramas.
In addition to exploring Alabama's natural heritage, the museum features diorama-style exhibits that begin in pre-history and extend to the North American wilderness and the African savannah. Each of the museum's seven exhibit halls explores a different natural history theme. The Environments of Africa Hall contains more than 100 African animals displayed in simulated natural settings. Other highlights include 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummies from the Ptolemaic period, a cave-dwelling creature exhibit and a children's discovery room. The Dynamic Earth depicts the planet's formation and includes minerals, fossils, gemstones and dinosaurs. Nature Space offers a large learning area with hands-on activities. On the grounds are a wildlife garden, open-air animal exhibits, nature trails and the Berman Museum of World History.
The museum's history dates from 1930, when H. Severn Regar offered his personal collection of historical objects and biological specimens to the city of Anniston. Included were extinct and endangered species collected by 19th-century naturalist William Werner. This gift formed the cornerstone of the museum's Birds of the Americas exhibit hall, which features more than 400 specimens of North American birds in their habitats. The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
This recently redesigned exhibit hall explores the world of dinosaurs, fossils and minerals, as well as geological processes, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and plate tectonics, that formed - and continue to form - the Earth.
A life-sized stegosaurus skeleton model, a diorama featuring life-size Pteranodon and Albertosaurus models and a realistic walk-through construction of an Alabama cave environment add to this hall's dynamic atmosphere.
Also featured are rocks and mineral specimens from the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, fossils - including the tooth of a 75-foot-long pre-historic shark, and a hurricane ball.
Alabama: Sand to Cedars
Take a hike from Alabama's mountains to its seashore in this fascinating exhibit hall. Wind your way through limestone ridges, cool forests, wide rivers and steamy swamps.
End your journey at the coast where life clings to wind-swept dunes. See the plants and animals that make Alabama the fourth most biologically diverse state in the country. This hall features a 250-gallon aquarium of indigenous fish and a 12-foot American alligator.
Discover the natural mysteries of an Alabama backyard and forest in this hands-on discovery room.
Interactive exhibit stations - including recycling bins, dig box and microscopes - explore plants, animals, geology, archaeology, and the environment.
Dig for fossils, explore a cave, hear a toad and get a shake from an earthquake!
(Please note: Nature Space closes at 4 pm daily)
Attack and Defense
Discover the life and death relationship of predator and prey in this exhibit hall of North American wildlife.
Live snakes and a black widow spider illustrate the unique abilities of animal survival.
Color-coded slashes on exhibit panels define the animals' chemical, behavioral, or physical response to danger.
Birds of the Americas
The Regar-Werner Ornithology Collection forms the nucleus of this exhibit.
Many of the birds are mounted in natural habitat groupings with painted background dioramas. More than 400 species are represented.
The collection dates from 1860 to the early 1900s making it one of the oldest diorama collections in the United States. Extinct and endangered species, including a passenger pigeon and ivory-billed woodpecker are a focal point of this exhibit.
Environments of Africa
This open-air exhibit hall explores the concept that every animal plays an important role in maintaining the stability of the Earth by adding to or taking from the environment only what it needs to survive.
This hall illustrates how animals adapt and survive in one of nature's most extreme environments: the African savannah. This hall features an African elephant, a life-sized recreation of a Baobab Tree, and a 9-foot-tall termite mound.
See the latest addition to the Environments of Africa Exhibit Hall, just behind the Baobab tree: a special habitat enclosure housing a living exhibit of African Rainforest tree frogs.
Under the Canopy: Frogs of Africa includes beautiful, tiny specimens of exotic tree frogs from halfway around the planet. Peer inside for a glimpse of the Golden mantella or the African Big-eyed tree frog. Push a button to hear the sounds of these amazing creatures, plus their habitat-mates, the Beautiful mantella and the Green and black mantella.
Baboons warm themselves in the rising sun, birds gather on a muddy riverbank, and a tiny beetle pushes a ball of dung across the sand.
These natural rhythms of life led ancient Egyptians to create a belief system that lasted more than 3,000 years.
Discover why these animals were deified, explore 2,300-year-old Ptolemaic Period mummies, and sniff the aromas of mummification in this exhibit hall.
See the results of 2010's CT scan of the Museum's smaller mummy, Tasherytpamenekh! View a short, looping documentary film of the process, including some incredible 3-D imagery from beneath the wrappings! Plays daily on the wall mounted monitor in the Ancient Egypt Hall.
Changing Exhibits Gallery
The Museum fosters a visual arts program in various forms. With the completion of the Changing Exhibits Gallery in 1982, the Museum embarked on a formalized program of temporary exhibitions each year.
The visual arts allow the expressive statements of a human's relationship to the natural environment. A unique interrelationship exists between natural history and the arts. The Museum strives to explore this connection through a changing exhibit program that supports and complements the central natural history theme of the Museum.
Winter schedule through Memorial Day
Tuesday - Saturday, 10am–5pm
Sunday 1 - 5pm
The Museum is closed New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Anniston Museum of Natural History
800 Museum Drive
Anniston, AL 36206