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Discover Utah’s Natural History – Natural History Museum of Utah


If you haven’t noticed already, Salt Lake City, Utah is an amazing place.  With such an amazing place, comes fascinating history.  If you are looking to learn about the history of Salt Lake City, or the history of Utah, look no further than the beautiful Natural History Museum of Utah.  Whether you’re interested in dinosaur bones, gems and minerals, or information about indigenous Utah cultures, the NHMU has historical exhibits for the whole family.   To visit the museum, hop off on stop number 11 of the Us Bus Tour!

When you first show up to Rio Tinto Center, the new home to the Natural History Museum,  you’ll notice its wonderful architecture and location.  The NHMU is a unique, copper-plated building located along the foothills of Salt Lake City.  The building offers beautiful views of the entire Salt Lake Valley from their cafe and sky terraces (pictured above), but the real beauty awaits inside the doors of the museum.


The History Museum consists of an admissions office, a museum store, a cafe, and four massive levels of Utah exhibits.  Visitors are able to cruise through the interesting exhibits with ease thanks to the building’s guiding architecture and signage.


The first major exhibit is the Past Worlds exhibit on level 2.  This archaeological exhibit is where you can find the dinosaur bones!  Actually, the Past Worlds exhibit has much more than just dinosaurs.  It also holds historical all types of animal remains and fossils from a 500 million year window of Utah’s history.  This exhibit highlights Utah’s ancient environment and the life forms that inhabited it over time.  Once you walk through the Past Worlds Exhibit, you enter the First Peoples Exhibit.  This exhibits highlights the lifestyles of the first human inhabitants of indigenous Utah.  It includes showcases of the Native Utah art, tools, clothing, and other cultural artifacts that have been discovered over time. Next, visitors enter the Land and Life combined exhibits that span levels 3 and 4.  These exhibits highlight the symbiotic relationships between biological and geological diversity of Utah.  Here, visitors learn about the diverse Utah geography and the species that live within it.  Did you know that the Salt Lake Valley used to be submerged under a giant Lake Bonnevile? Check out the Salt Lake section of the Utah Land and Life exhibit to learn more about this ancient lake.  Lastly,  visitors are guided to level four, which hosts the Sky exhibit.  The Sky exhibit teaches visitors all about Utah’s weather and climate, and the even the stars and planets in the Utah sky in the astronomy section.  After wrapping up this exhibit, visitors are Utah experts!

But wait, there’s more!  As visitors wind through the guiding halls, they usually don’t realize that they have passed the Special Exhibits Gallery on level 2.  The Special Exhibits Gallery is a showroom that houses traveling exhibits from around the world.  Past exhibits have included extreme mammals, birds of paradise, and natural utah photography shows to name a few.  This Summer’s exhibit is called, Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, and it explores the complexity of DNA and what scientists have discovered about it.  It is truly interesting stuff!  Below is a link to Salt Lake Tribune’s article on the museum‘s newest exhibit:

Here at Us Bus, we hope this article has you feeling interested in the Natural History of our beautiful state.  If you’d like to hop off on stop number 11, please visit the museum’s website link provided below in advance to answer any further questions you may have.

Happy bussing!