Whale skeletons hang from the ceiling. Butterflies flutter past your shoulder. Emerald tree boas make you shiver. And be warned: if you arrive after 10am on a school day, swarms of elementary-school children rampage all over the place. Skywalks lead to a glossy extension, the Nature Research Center, where you can watch scientists at work on their projects (and displays make it clear they’re in no doubt as to the reality of climate change).
Don’t miss the exhibit on the Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur, a 3-ton carnivore nicknamed the Terror of the South. Its toothy skull is the stuff of nightmares.