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New Natural History

This week’s exploration badge requires a visit over to the NEW (and COOL) University of Michigan Natural History Museum. The address is Biological Sciences Building 1105 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 and their hours are Mon/Tues/Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun 9AM-5PM and Thursdays 9AM-8PM.  This badge was written by staff at the Museum!

This badge is 100% stroller and handicapped accessible. Plus it’s AIR CONDITIONED!

There is parking at the Palmer Parking Structure and Forest Parking Structure. Come to the main entrance which is by the pedestrian bridge that goes across Washtenaw Ave. The Puma’s are outside of the main doors of the museum. If you come from main campus or off of N. U note that it appears the entire sidewalk is closed, but it’s definitely open to get to the museum entrance. If you enter from a different door you can find your way to the front doors from inside too. 

To find your first game code locate the Puma sculptures out front and look at the plaque on the one to the LEFT of the doors. What is the year of dedication of our Puma sculptures?

From the Puma’s, enter the Museum through the main doors. The Mastodons will greet you as you enter. Using the large sign on the display labeled “Meet the mastodons”, in what state was the female mastodon discovered? This is your second game code.

From the mastodons, turn right and head down the hallway past the Museum Store. At the end of the hallway on the right-hand side is an observation space to observe the Bonaparte/Phytoplankton sculpture that overlooks the pedestrian bridge. To the left of the viewing platform is a sign with information about this piece. What is the last name of the artist that created this sculpture, that also organizes the FestiFools and FoolMoon events in Ann Arbor? This is your third game code.

From Bonaparte, turn around and enter the ‘Measuring Time and Space’ Gallery, whose hallways are painted dark blue (you will pass the Planetarium & Dome Theater schedule digital sign). Continue past the interactive “Scale of the Universe” display and turn the corner. Here you will find a large poster where you can compare your height against those of common plants and animals.  How many turtles are there total on this poster? This is your fourth game code.

Retrace your steps out of the ‘Measuring Time and Space’ Gallery back to the hallway that leads to the main entrance. As you exit the gallery, you will immediately see an elevator on the opposite side of the hallway (you passed it when you looked for the phytoplankton).  Take this up to the second floor (Be patient, it’s slow! Really slow!). Upon exiting the elevator, you will see our mineral display on the right, outside the museum offices. In the ‘Minerals and You’ section of the display cases, find the name of the mineral that can be used as an antacid. This is your fifth game code.

Continue down the hallway and take the corner to the left. Navigate through the next room that will be home to our ‘Under the Microscope’ interactive exhibit and ‘Micro Worlds’ Lab in November during our second grand opening. When you exit this room on the far side, look to your right to find the Tree of Life. Using the table, find the human and the ladybug (technically labeled Asian ladybeetle). Trace the line that connects them back, and find out how many million years ago we had a shared ancestor. This 3 digit number is your sixth game code.

From the Tree of Life, use the door to the left to enter the Evolution: Life Through Time Gallery. Moving through the gallery, notice the numbered Mass Extinction Pillars that crop up along the way and describe historical extinction events. Using these to navigate, go around Extinction Pillar #2 to find the Whale Observation Window (whale skeletons hanging from ceiling). Looking at basilosaurus (the larger whale that is tinted orange to show how the fossils absorbed the iron it was buried in), count how many ribs that are on one side of its body. This number is your seventh game code.

Advancing through the Evolution Gallery, continue until you pass Mass Extinction Pillar #4. As soon as you pass it, you will see Majungasaurus looming above on the left. The signage around the display will give you a lot of information about dinosaurs, and Majungasaurus has its own placard, #1. On what island country did Majungasaurus live? This is your eighth game code.

From Majungasaurus, continue through the Evolution gallery past Mass Extinction Pillar #6 (which is the one we’re currently experiencing!). As you exit the gallery, you will find the enormous Quetzalcoatlus soaring through the air above. On the bridge is a sign titled ‘Giant of the sky’. Using this, determine what group of animals the Quetzalcoatlus belonged to (hint: it’s not ‘dinosaurs’!) This word is your ninth game code.

From Quetzalcoatlus, continue around the walkway past the Biodiversity Lab. As you round the corner at the far end, you will see the entrance to the Dynamic Planet exhibit - enter the exhibit and locate the case marked ‘Mineral Evolution.’ What is the name of the bird that grows a small crystal of magnetite in its body to help them navigate? This your tenth and FINAL game code for this badge.

This was the END of this badge, but please keep exploring the galleries and be sure to check back in November when more exhibits open!


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The clues in their entirety are already listed up above in the description. On this one we're going to leave the repeats of the clues locked as then smartphone users get the next clue when they enter one. But you're not missing anything without a smartphone; all the clues are here in the badge description. Thanks for asking!

the clues with number answers, do we need to spell out the numbers or just enter the number itself as the codes?

The game codes for Arbor Explorer events always have you replicate EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAW on the sign. So #s should be digits and not spelled out. IF we wanted you to spell them out we would say so. Thanks for playing!


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