Heraklion Natural History Museum

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Location: Town
Don't miss: Museums guide (free admission dates and other useful info)

The Natural History Museum of Crete is dedicated to the evolution of Earth’s history beyond the confines of human activity. Established in 1980 by the University of Crete, it has a vast collection of exhibits spread across five floors.
The ground floor features introductory digital and physical displays of the Mediterranean Sea’s biodiversity, as well as reconstructions of a typical maquis shrubland ecosystem and the deciduous forests of the northern limits of the Mediterranean’s mountainous areas.

Book an unforgettable Tour in Heraklion or get there with your own car rental.

As one walks up to the first floor, the reconstructed ecosystems also move up in altitude with the conifer forests of Bulgaria, southern Turkey, and Lebanon being represented here, as well as the mountaintops of Olympus, the Alps, and the peaks of Cyprus. Also on this floor is an exhibit dedicated to the intricacies of light, with optical illusions as well as visual experiments. Then, on the second floor, one can find a set of interactive displays dedicated to the Natura 2000 zones found on the island of Crete, including the endemic species living there.

The first basement holds the “living museum”, with live specimens of reptiles and amphibians on display, and further reconstructions of ecosystems: deserts, wetlands, and northern oceanic coasts. This level includes a botanical garden and the “Discovery Centre”, a 250 m2 area with interactive games, intended to immerse children up to age 15 in the learning experience.

Finally, the second basement is home to the Centre of Environmental Training, as well as some of the museum’s most popular exhibits: reconstructions of dinosaurs and the enormous Deinotherium, one of the largest land mammals to ever live; an important specimen of this animal was located at Sitia, on the eastern edge of Crete, and it serves as the template for this life-size reconstruction, which is taller than 4 meters!
Also in the second basement is the museum’s earthquake simulator, which seats visitors in a replica school classroom, before simulating shakes up to 7.6 degrees on the Richter scale! Following these artificial tremors, visitors are given a briefing on earthquake safety.

The museum also often hosts conferences, as well as educational programs, and temporary exhibits, usually held on the third floor.

Opening hours
Summer Season (01/05-31/10): Monday - Friday, 09:00-17:00; Saturday-Sunday, 10:00-18:00
Winter Season (01/11-30/04): Monday - Friday, 09:00-15:00; Saturday-Sunday, 10:00-18:00



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