From hands-on activities to new work by local artist James Havens, there’s plenty to experience at the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature this month.
The parking lot — closed for construction throughout most of the summer — is now reopened. And once you make your way through the rebuilt entryway, there are several new attractions and more than a few old favorites.
1) A 26-foot pterosaur sculpture: Hanging from the museum’s ceiling, the giant flying dinosaur is one of Havens’ latest works. It soars over other exhibits; wings spread, jaws open. The details are so fine you can look up and see the wrinkled pink skin of the dinosaur’s neck.
2) A 12-foot-tall Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum painting: Another Havens creation, the canvas stands 13 feet wide and overlooks the museum’s main lobby area. Andi Havens, James’ wife and co-owner of The Havens Studio & Gallery, said all of his paintings are carefully researched and feature Alaskan dinosaurs. The horned Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum was discovered on the North Slope in 2006.
3) Schmidt Mine Geology Room: The museum’s rocks room is chock full of colorful and fascinating stones. The mirrored cases and carefully placed lights make this one of the most eye-catching exhibits in the building, but it’s not all enclosed displays. There’s also plenty to touch, and information on how many of the rocks are made.