The Moscow University Zoological MuseumRussian: Zoologicheskiy muzey Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta or Зоологический музей Московского государственного университета, located in the centre of Moscow, is a great place to take the family, as well as for everyone who is fond of rare animals from Russia and abroad.
The Moscow University Zoological Museum is Russia’s second largest museum in terms of the number of exhibits and ranks among the top 10 largest zoological museums in Europe. It is also the workplace of Russian biologists, with research facilities containing 8 million items, including some over 100 years old. All of the items on display, with few exceptions, are representative of modern fauna. If you are interested in ancient animals, it is the incredible collection of the Palaeonthological MuseumRussian: Paleontologicheskiy muzey or Палеонтологический музей that you should go and see.
A visit to the museum leaves a profound impression on kids who are most excited to explore this whole new world and delve into the atmosphere of new discoveries. The museum offers an ideal setting for this, including its comfortable arrangement of exhibits, informative plaques, guides who are passionate about their job and a multitude of various activities. Adults on a visit to this museum will also rediscover the joy of childhood exploration. Most importantly, prices are are reasonable here, and you can take as many pictures as you want.
Located in an old building which impresses with its monumental elegance, the Moscow University Zoological Museum has changed little in the past decades. You can feel the Soviet spirit in the museum’s setup and in the exhibits’ condition. Room attendants, guides and other employees serve the museum without fear or favour, and this old-fashioned style lends a special charm to the museum.
The Moscow University Zoological Museum, originally known as the Natural History CabinetRussian: Kabinet naturalnoy istorii or Кабинет натуральной истории, was founded in 1791 in affiliation with the Imperial Moscow UniversityRussian: Imperatorskiy Moskovskiy universitet or Императорский Московский университет. During the Patriotic war of 1812the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France on the territory of Russia in 1812, it burned down almost to ashes – later, it was scrupulously restored. Initially, it was planned as a large-scale study resource for biology students, whose faculty was located in the same building until 1955. The museum was accessible to the public almost from the very beginning.
Its permanent exhibition includes specimens, mounted figures and skeletons representing all groups of animals from single-celled organisms to birds and mammals. Exhibits are organized so as to show the genetic kinship between different species and evolutionary history. The museum’s first floor focuses on the animal kingdom, from single-celled animals to reptiles. The exhibition is divided into parts, each of them corresponding to specific groups of living creatures. The wall on the left contains the collection of invertebrate species. Another area concentrates only on insects. Showcases in the central and right-hand rows display the lower chordates, fish, amphibians and reptiles.
The museum also contains some real rarities. Near the staircase leading to the rooms on the second floor stands the authentic skeleton of a woolly mammoth, one of the few exhibits of the Zoological Museum which does not showmodern animals.
The museum’s second floor presents a vast collection of birds and mammals, with some of the items on display presented as original bio groups. There are some themed displays also, including ‘A bird colonyRussian: Ptichiy bazar or Птичий базар’, ‘Hunting with birds of preyRussian: Okhota s lovchimi ptitsami or Охота с ловчими птицами’ and ‘Birds of the Moscow RegionRussian: Ptitsy Podmoskovya or Птицы Подмосковья’.
The museum offers its little visitors skills contests, classes, games and quizzes that are educational, challenging and entertaining in both form and content. Every kid wishing to satisfy his or her curiosity chooses the learning museum tours, learns to do puzzles and builds magnets representing animals, answers questions and has the opportunity to interact with exotic animals in a petting zoo. In the local conference hall, you can even celebrate your birthday together with your friends over a cup of tea.
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