And in every room, there were children from Bountiful’s Tolman Elementary School, who descended on the new Natural History Museum of Utah for a day-long field-trip last month.
“It’s awesome,” said one in a group of enthusiastic third graders. “It’s the best museum I’ve ever been to,” said another. “Usually museums are kind of lame, but this one is kind of fun,” said another. “I love the glass bridge,” said one, and another added: “I love that you can smell stuff.”
Karen Burbidge, PTA president for Tolman, said the museum, together with the Utah Office of Education, provides grants for some 30,000 Utah school children to visit every year.
Rather than apply for one grade or another to receive the grant, she applied for the entire school and her application was accepted in what is likely the first time an entire school attended together, she said.
First graders walked through the large re-creations of dinosaur skeletons, oohing and ahhing over the gigantic creatures. Others ran their fingers through the water and sand that illustrated how water sculpts rocks.
Fifth graders dug for bones in a representative excavation site. Others took in the sunshine on the deck overlooking the valley.
The PTA paid for transportation on the six buses necessary to get the almost 400 students to the Salt Lake museum, and 42 parents stepped forward to chaperone the groups of eight, according to Burbidge.
“Everything came together,” she said. “Nothing was broken and no one was hurt,” she added with a smile. “We got many positive comments. The staff was really helpful.”
“The feedback from the kids, parents and teachers was very positive,” said David Pendergast, principal at Tolman. “The state has created a wonderful treasure in their new natural history museum. The school children and citizens of Utah will enjoy the Natural History Museum for the decades to come.”