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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Losing Paradise exhibit illustration by Kim Silene

Schedule a guided, inquiry-centered program to enhance your students’ field trip experience. These programs offer hands-on access to objects from the museum’s collection with a guided, inquiry-centered program. Programs expand themes from the Museum’s exhibitions and engage students in the kinds of research activities that Museum scientists conduct every day.

Hands-on programs take place in the exhibit halls and in Museum labs and classrooms. Many programs require advance reservations. Please see the details for each program for further information about reservations.

On the mall

Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion

Location: Second Floor, Tickets Required

Partners in Evolution—a free-admission exploration into how insects and other animals have co-evolved with plants. The Butterfly Pavilion—a fee-based, live butterfly experience.

Q?rius logo

Q?rius, unlock your world

Location: Ground Floor near Constitution Avenue Entrance Lobby

Q?rius is a new way to connect science with everyday experience. A hands-on, interactive, inquiry-based environment allows visitors to explore real-world questions with scientists and interact with thousands of authentic objects.

Discovery Room

Q?rius jr, a discovery room

Location: Second Floor

In the Q?rius jr room, students interact with each other, Museum staff and volunteers around objects from the Museum’s collections to hone their scientific inquiry skills. Programs are developed from exhibition themes and emphasize comparing and contrasting objects, closely examining specimens such as fossils, skulls, and shells, and using evidence to draw conclusions. Families can enjoy the room during open hours.

Discover Stations

Discover Stations

Location: Around the Museum

Discover Stations are mobile carts positioned in selected exhibits, where groups of eight to twelve students come face-to-face with object-based, problem-solving opportunities and experiences.

Johnson Imax Theater

Johnson IMAX Theater

Location: First Floor, Tickets Required

An immersive 3D experience in the Johnson IMAX Theater will excite your students about new scientific research. During school visit hours, the theater shows curriculum-relevant films connected to the Museum’s collections and exhibitions and reviewed by Museum scientists and educators.

Insect Zoo

O. Orkin Insect Zoo

Location: Second Floor

O. Orkin Insect Zoo is a special exhibit hall on the 2nd Floor of the Museum where visitors can observe live insects and their many-legged relatives. Volunteers conduct tarantula feeding demonstrations, work with live insects that visitors may touch and hold, and answer questions about the many-legged creatures that live in the O. Orkin Insect Zoo.

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