Monday, March 16, 2009

New Exhibits in Great Basin Visitor Center

In 2006, a new visitor center opened at Great Basin National Park, down in the town of Baker. The old visitor center, up at Lehman Caves, is still open, but focuses on caves, while the new one looks at the entire Great Basin region. It took time and money to get the exhibits, but they've finally arrived and are really neat.

The visitor center is the building on the right, and the resource center, which includes a classroom, lab, office space, and a small library, on the left. Jeff Davis Peak, part of Great Basin National Park, is in the background.

One of the first things you see when you enter the exhibit area is this life-like bristlecone pine tree. It looks very much like the old-growth bristlecone pines found up near the Wheeler cirque and rock glacier at over 10,000 feet high. These trees are known to live over 4,000 years, but only in harsh conditions. In addition, only a small part of the tree is alive, like the exhibit shows.

There's a wall with cultural exhibits, looking at how the Fremont and Shoshone cultures lived. There is also this sheep camp exhibit, complete with the border collie lying underneath it. Kids love looking at the dog.

Another wall has exhibits about the different life zones that are found from the valley floor all the way up to the mountain tops.

Desert Boy was fascinated with the stream exhibit, which was down at his level and had fish. He can say "fish," which probably was part of the reason he liked it so much. I have to admit, having a small child made me look at exhibits in a totally different way. 

This rattlesnake made a few people jump. It stayed put, though.

There were some cutaways that showed what lives in the ground, which in the desert is quite a lot. The sagebrush vole is one of the creatures that hides from the temperature extremes in a burrow.

Here are some gigantic ants that look a little creepy.

Each exhibit has birds included with it. There's so much more to see, but I figure if I show it all, then you won't have an excuse to go and see it for yourself! To find out when the Great Basin Visitor Center is open, call 775-234-7331.

And if you have a little one, ask where the toy drawer is. They have puppets of all different sizes that don't even mind someone riding them.


The Incredible Woody said...

It is hard to fathom a tree living that long. Great Basin is just another of the places that I have long wanted to visit. Man, I had better get moving!!

Sarah said...

Oo, exhibits! Geek out!

Peter said...

Finally! Exhibits! Much better than artistic paintings and photographs hanging on otherwise bare walls.

Germaine S said...

Did Desert Boy get a haircut?

Can't wait to see the exhibits.

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