The Arizona Museum of Natural History

The Arizona Museum of Natural History exhibit looks at Arizona 75 million years ago. 

Three Mesa museums have rolled out new exhibits this month.

Visitors can travel back in time to ancient Arizona to walk with dinosaurs and then go behind the scenes to develop a deeper understanding of their past at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. 

Or they can explore the world of robotics through art and hands-on activities at the i.d.e.a. Museum. 

And if that’s not enough, they also can stop by the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum and check out Angel Cabrales’ reimagined parallel universe in “The Uncolonized: A Vision in the Parallel” exhibition.

“Families throughout the Valley are seeking fun ways to engage and inspire their children this summer, and our museums offer a great, indoor adventure for children of all ages, and a special respite from the sizzling Arizona heat,” said Cindy Ornstein, director of Arts and Culture for the City of Mesa.

“The visually stunning and educational exhibitions at our city museums will provide the community another reason to get out of the house and escape the heat through our cool experiences.”

The Arizona Museum of Natural History exhibit re-imagines southern Arizona and northern Sonora 75 million years ago as it teaches visitors about the giant volcanoes that shaped the state and the dinosaurs that lived in their shadow. 

Additionally, “Ologies!: The Science of Anthropology and Paleontology” is the museum’s first bilingual exhibition. 

Visitors will learn more about the museum’s anthropology and paleontology research departments to discover the kinds of objects in each collection, how objects become part of the collection, and how objects help scientists study the past.

The i.d.e.a. Museum’s Robo Art exhibitions let kids of all ages explore the design, engineering and technology of robots.

They can build a 3-D bot, play coding games and learn about a variety of robots, the history of robotics and more. 

Several hands-on activities and experiences have returned, including the jungle-themed Black Light Room, cozy Zen Den and the Magnetic Wall, featuring balls and chutes. 

Plus, the HUB Gallery has added a Puppet Theater, storybook floor game and new art activity, featuring fairytale characters.

Both museums also are extending business hours this summer.

Beginning July 1, the Museum of Natural History, 53 N. Macdonald, will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. 

Besides the new exhibit, visitors also can visit a village of the ancestral Sonoran Desert People and try gold panning.

The i.d.e.a. Museum, 150 W. Pepper Place, will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. 

Its creative experiences support early learning, nurture creative thinking and are meant to “engage families in quality time together throughout the museum,” a spokeswoman noted..

The museum includes ArtVille, a colorful town featuring imaginative play activities aimed at ages 4 and younger. Socks are required.

The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 E. Main St., is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. 

It is featuring works by sculptor and mixed media artist Angel Cabrales, known for his provocative social commentaries on the Latin-American experience. 

Also on exhibition are: “Passage,” a collaborative site-specific installation of 7,000+ unfired clay beads symbolizing lives lost on the US-Mexico border; “The Myth of the Incomplete Self” (El mito del yo incompleto); and “Docents Select: Indigenous Americas.”

Find timed entries on each museum’s website. Reservations are strongly recommended during busy summer months. Tickets are also sold at the door. 

Admission to Arizona Museum of Natural History is $7 for children ages 3-12 and $13 for ages 13 and up; museum members are free. At the i.d.e.a. Museum, admission is $9 for ages 1 and up. Members and babies 11 months and younger are free. Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is free, but reservations are recommended.

Museum activities, tickets and more at arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org, ideaMuseum.org and mesaartscenter.com/museum.

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