Beaty Biodiversity Museum


in Kitsilano & University of British Columbia

Beaty Biodiveristy Museum exterior

©John Lee/Lonely Planet

A family-friendly museum showcasing a two-million-item natural-history collection including birds, fossils and herbarium displays. The highlight is the 25m blue-whale skeleton, artfully displayed in the two-story entranceway. Don't miss the first display case, which is crammed with a beady-eyed menagerie of tooth-and-claw taxidermy. Consider visiting on the third Thursday of the month when entry is by donation after 5pm and the museum stays open until 8:30pm; there's often a special theme or live performance for these monthly Nocturnal events.

Many of the exhibits are in pullout drawers, so you can spend hours poking around. There's also a surprisingly well-stocked gift shop with some excellent nature-themed books and cool wildlife-themed knickknacks (bird-species stuffies recommended). And if you're curious about that humongous whale, start your visit by viewing Raising Big Blue; the free movie that tells its story is screened in the museum's auditorium throughout the day.