Apart from wonderful beaches on the coastline, Zakynthos also hides a valuable natural environment in the inland: wild animals, rare flowers, fossils and mines. Dedicated to present to the wide public elements of the rich natural environment of Zakynthos, Mr Panagiotis Helmis created a Museum of Natural History in the heart of the island.
"The Museum is housed in a small building in Agia Marina", told us Mrs Mavra Vythoulka, secretary of the museum. "Agia Marina is a mountainous village about 15 minutes drive from Zakynthos Town and from Laganas, so it is actually in the centre of the island. At first, in 2002, a small part of the collection was housed in the Primary School of the village, but in 2006 the museum got its own space, in this building of 600 sq.m. Around the museum, there is forest and a nice garden."
What do the collections include?
The founder of the museum, Panagiotis Helmis, started to collect shells from the beaches of Zakynthos at the age of 10. As he was growing up, he would also collect fossils, rocks, insects, birds and anything depicting the special natural environment of Zakynthos. In 2000, the Helmis Museum of Natural History was inaugurated to host this large collection that, in the meanwhile, had been enriched with interesting exhibits from all over the world. In fact, this is the only museum of natural history in Zakynthos. Today, apart from the exhibition rooms, the museum has a gift shop, a library with books related to ecological matters, a room with audiovisual tools and an educational corner for students.
The museum is open all year round. November-April 9 am-2 pm and May-October 9 am-6 pm