A woman holds up a little boy as they look into a taxidermy case filled with snakes, squirrels, and another small mammal.

What Is an Animal? & Animal Biology

Category: Exhibition

Exhibition Summary


Included with Basic admission

Targeted age groups

All ages


Anchor: #wander-through-the-beautiful-and-bizarre-world-of-animals

Wander through the beautiful and bizarre world of animals.

Pass under the shadows of giant sea creatures and explore the colors, shapes, and sounds that make up the animal kingdom. Meet mollusks hiding two skeletons and a frog that looks more foliage. From the funny to the fantastical, discover the animal world and learn what makes each creature—including you!—an animal.

Getting a close-up look at some distinctive animals.

Discover some of the amazing connections between species in the animal kingdom.

Exhibition highlights:

  • Life-sized models of a giant squid, whale shark, octopus, and more
  • Interactive quizzes full of animal facts
  • Giant barnacle colony wall
  • Animal science mini-documentaries

Making connections

Scientists identify animals by a few distinct characteristics: how they’re born, what they eat, and how they move. What Is an Animal? shows how some species continue to amaze us with creative behaviors that evolved over several million years. Did you know that flamingos are filter-feeders just like whales? And, despite their different homes, Arctic birds and spiny lobsters both use magnetic fields to get around. By exploring how animals move, eat, survive, and reproduce, get a glimpse of the interconnected web of animal life.

Wander through a mesmerizing maze of dioramas in Animal Biology to learn about groups of animals that are related or share habitats.

Animal Biology

Take what you learn in What Is an Animal? and put it to the test in Animal Biology. Think about how animals are related. How does a bighorn sheep use its horns, compared to an elk and its antlers? As you walk through a herd of large mammals and examine a flock of bird specimens, learn about variation and domestication.

Through specimens, models, and games, this journey through the animal kingdom showcases the vibrant diversity of life on Earth.

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