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Today: History (and science) for free

Published January 9, 2012 8:45 am

Utah museums • Natural History Museum of Utah inaugurates "Free Day."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If you've yet to grace the doors of the Natural History Museum of Utah in the exquisite Rio Tinto Center, Monday, Jan. 9, is your day to do so, and snag free admission into the bargain.

Kicking off the first in its annual series of four "Free Days," the museum will offer free tickets to visitors throughout the day. That said, it's wise to secure your reserve free admission tickets, online at http://www.nhmu.utah.edu.

As for the museum itself, you won't find a more all-encompassing panorama of exhibits of all stripes that tell a better, more cohesive story of our natural world and the science behind it. Chief among the museum's new exhibits is an observatory that displays all the unique features of Utah's desert landscapes. But there's so much more, from dioramas incorporating sound and smell, to interactive exhibits that mimic an actual excavation site to a cafe space filled with butterflies. Genetics, plate tectonics and Utah's first civilizations of native tribes all get their due. Which means you'll want to clear at least half a day off your schedule to take it all in.

Located on 17 acres south of Red Butte Garden, this $102 million facility has been more than two years in the waiting. Now's your chance to grab it, for free. —

The Rio Tinto Center, home of the University of Utah's Natural History Museum of Utah, offers free admission Jan. 9. Visit http://www.nhmu.utah.edu for reserve tickets, while they last.

Where » North end of Colorow Drive, next to Red Butte Garden on the east side of Research Park in Salt Lake City.

Hours » 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily except Wednesday when it closes at 9 p.m. The cafe opens at 7:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8:30 a.m. on Sundays. Museum admission isn't required to visit the cafe.

Admission » Free on "Free Days" Jan. 9, April 9, July 9 and Sept. 22 while supplies last online at http://www.nhmu.utah.edu. Otherwise $9 adults; $7 for seniors over 65 and visitors 13-24; $6 for children 3 to 12; and free for kids 2 and under. Admission is free on opening day, but tickets will be required for timed entry. Learn more at http://www.umnh.utah.edu.