Children's Open Day at Zoology Museum in NUI Galway

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Zoology and Marine Biology Museum at NUI Galway will host an open day for children aged between 7 and 12 years to celebrate 'Wild Child Day' of National Heritage Week on 21 August from 10.30am-12.00pm. Since it officially opened in September 2009, the museum has been home to many fine exhibits from glass models of marine invertebrates to a stuffed capybara, the favourite food of the anaconda. Visitors can wander around the Museum exploring the different exhibits, be drawn in by the beady eyes, scaly crocodiles, the skull of a minke whale, or the tooth of an elephant that is much bigger than you would expect. There is also an extensive collection of glass models of marine life from the renowned Blaschka collection, dating from the 1880's. In addition to the exhibits in glass cases, there will be some live specimens of scorpions, tarantulas, spiders, centipedes and snakes on display for children to see. Currently, a project is underway to label all the exhibits to increase information and interaction with visitors. Many of the specimens are routinely used for teaching purposes with second and third year zoology students. During the open day there will be a member of staff on hand to explain exhibits to children. Eoin Mac Loughlin, Senior Technical Officer in Zoology, NUI Galway, says: "Our Zoology Museum is a great asset to Galway, the nearest thing to it is the National History Museum in Dublin. It is interesting to young and old alike. It offers inspiration for Art students and a place to explore for children. Looking at the stuffed animals and glass models, children become captivated and learn to engage with their natural environment and wildlife, which is what National Heritage Week is all about". The Zoology and Marine Biology museum at NUI Galway has in its possession four genuine Charles Darwin specimens that have just recently been restored and put on display in the museum. They include a grison, an Azara's fox, a Patagonian cavy and a guira cuckoo originally given by Darwin to the Zoological Society of London in 1837. National Heritage Week is coordinated by the Heritage Council, the statutory body charged with identifying, protecting, preserving and enhancing Ireland's national heritage. National heritage includes monuments, archaeological objects, heritage objects, architectural heritage, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology, heritage gardens and parks, and inland waterways. For further information on the open day contact the Galway Civic Trust 091-564946. For more information on National Heritage Week visit http://www.heritageweek.ie.
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