Did you know that there is a museum in Yucatán that explains the extinction of the dinosaurs? Not far from Mérida, only 30 minutes on the Sierra Papacal-Chuburná highway, is the Museo de Ciencias del Cráter de Chicxulub (Chicxulub crater science museum). Located since 2014 on the second and third floors of the library in the Parque Científico Tecnológico de Yucatán, there you can learn, in a didactic and clear way, about the enormous change experienced on our planet 65 million years ago because of the impact of a huge asteroid. It caused catastrophic environmental change that killed off many species, including the dinosaurs.
Movies have been inspired by this event, but there is nothing like being in the region where the asteroid fell, Chicxulub, and learn about some of its effects including the “ring of cenotes” which was formed in the Yucatán peninsula. Children, young people, and adults experience fun and learning about these subjects which seem to fascinate everyone. You can even take a photo with a “dinosaur” (scale model).
There are four exhibition rooms: in “El Universo y el Sistema Solar” (universe and solar system) you can touch a reproduction of the Apollo 11 capsule and also learn about the constellations. In the second room, “Chicxulub, craters de impacto” (impact craters), with images, timelines, and an animation, the impact of the collision is described, and you can observe fossils of mammals and dinosaur footprints.
On the upper level you can find the room dedicated to “Biodiversidad, evolución, extinciones masivas” (biodiversity, evolution, massive extinctions), where you can find out about species that inhabit other latitudes of our planet. There are representations of tundra, jungle, forest, savannah, desert, rivers, mangroves and oceans with models of animals of those zones in real size. The penguins, monkeys, and lions are the favorites for the public to take “selfies”.
The fourth room, “Yucatán, entorno natural” (natural environment), presents the explanation of the cenotes as well as the flora and fauna of the región. There are also images of reefs, and the re-creation of a cave and a cenote from the Yucatán Peninsula.
The museum has free entry, open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am – 4 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 10 am – 3 pm. Guided visits for students can be arranged.
The Parque Científico was conceived as a center for the promotion of science and the development of coastal technologies, fossil and alternative energies, technologies for sustainability, alternative and solar energies, water sustainability, recycling of various products produced by a city, and tropical diseases.
It currently houses renowned academisc institutions including the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM), businesses related to renewable energies, and high level institutions and laboratories. Yucatán is on the verge of becoming, as well as a center of cultural and natural tourism, a place of scientific formation with technology at the forefront, involving both children and adults in a way that is interesting and fun.
By Violeta H. Cantarell
Carretera Sierra Papacal-Chuburna Puerto Km. 5
Sierra Papacal, Yucatán
Tel. (999) 688 3760
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