Time of year
Vincent M wrote a review Mar 2020
New Orleans, Louisiana2,195 contributions885 helpful votes
If you’re a first-timer to Buenos Aires, you’ll be revelling in Recoleta, partying in Palermo, and feasting like a financier. Museums? BA’s full of them: Beaux Artes, Decorative Arts, you name it. But if you’re interested in natural science, you might want to spend some time at the Rivadavia Museum, even though it’s way down at #16 on TA reviewers’ museum list. The Rivadavia is particularly good for old timers. Very, very, very old timers. Half a billion years ago, Earth had a supercontinent we now call Gondwana. Pedants say Gondwana wasn’t a 100% super-continent because it did not include what is now Murmansk, Manchester, and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. I’ve been to both Manchester and Moose Jaw, and frankly, I think not containing either would have made Gondwana even more super; I doubt Murmansk would have leant anything to Gondwana’s charm. Gondwana’s Antarctic heartland is still at the South Pole, but the other bits and pieces broke off and headed toward the tropics where they became India, Africa, Australia and, yes, Argentina. Pertinent to the Rivadavia museum, several decades ago, Argentine palaeontologists began discovering a wide range of wonderful ancient animals, some of the earliest ever found, in places like Patagonia. This museum houses some of their most fabulous finds. More recent Argentine animal-life is interesting as well: armadillos the size of Volkswagens, elephantine ground-sloths, a llama as big as a rhinoceros, and that caveman favourite: sabre-toothed tigers. Because the Rivadavia Museum encompasses all the natural sciences, they’ve got halls full of sea-shells, rocks and minerals, a meteor that’s 93% iron / 7% nickel, and even an aquarium with live South American catfish. A more impressive fish, thankfully extinct, is the giant megalodon shark “as big as seven elephants,” whose three-meter jaws are a prime photo-op. (See Exhibition Hall, Iron Meteor, Old Suckermouth, and Super-Jaws photos). But the museum’s strong suit is ancient life going back to, and beyond, the Age of Dinosaurs : the revolutionary finds in Argentina. If you’re pressed for time, go to the Dinosaur Hall first; then hustle through the other halls with whatever time you have left over (see Dinosaur Hall photo). The curatorship of the Dinosaur Hall is head and shoulders over anything else in the museum. While the approach isn’t identical for every specimen, generally you’ll find a name plate with information in Spanish about the beast, and an artist’s impression of what it looked like in the flesh, beside the skeleton (see Austroraptor cabazai and Austroraptor Info photos). I hope the curators consider translating some info into English and Portuguese, since I suspect almost all visitors speak at least one of those three languages. However, you can easily read the scientific names and period when the species existed. The skeletons are jury-rigged into postures that the animals would have been in while alive, with some remarkable results: thanks to the eye sockets, you sometimes can get the unnerving feeling that you’re staring face-to-face with the beast (see Bonatitan reigi and Bonatitan reigi 2 photos). The Amargasaurus cazaui is grazing peacefully; the Pleisiosaur is flying overhead looking for prey; and the Megaraptor nahumhuaiquii has just captured its meal for the day by the neck (Amargasaurus cazaui, Pleisiosaur, and Megaraptor nahumhuaiquii photos). The largest skeleton in the room, the imposing Patagosaurus holds his head high, on the lookout for something: either food or danger (Patagosaurus photo). Quite a few of the dinosaurs are named after where in Argentina the species was first discovered. For example, Talenkauen santacrusensus got its name because it was discovered near frigid Viedna Lake in Santa Cruz province. A few of the beasts’ scientific names were howlers: for example Piatnitzkysaurus floresi: a curious name, eh? Surprise! It was first identified by a couple of fellows named Alejandro Piatnitzky and Miguel Flores. I’m relieved to learn that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was not—repeat not—first identified by an Irishman named Rex Tyrone. Oh well, a clever stab at immortality, but sooner or later Al and Mike, like the rest of us, will be as extinct as the dinosaur who bears their name. (Talenkauen santacrusensus and Piatnitzkysaurus floresi photos). In a few cases, you see the bones as they were discovered in the earth, but then get a best-guess life-sized recreation of what the creature actually looked like (Taniwhasaurus antarcticus for example, a reptilian version of a marlin, and nothing I’d want to encounter at the end of my fishing line, see photo). Some of the dinosaurs in this museum are very, very ancient indeed: T. rex lived about 65 million years ago, toward the end of the Mesozoic Era. But this museum’s Guaibasaurus candelariensis lived back in the upper Triassic Era, more than 200 million years ago! (Guaibasaurus candelariensis photo). And little Eudibamus lived 280 million years ago or more (Eudibamus photo). A eudibamus isn’t a dinosaur, or even a reptile. If you sort of work like lawyer, but you’re not really a lawyer, you’re a paralegal. If you sort of work like a reptile (sauria), but you’re not really a reptile, you’re a parasaur, like Eudibamus. Reptiles hadn’t been invented yet 280 million years ago: but given time—lots and lots of time, the progeny of little fellows like Eudibamus would eventually evolve into T. rexes. To put it another way, if you happen to be in your late 20s, take a look at this little fellow: he might not look impressive, but he’s ten million times older than you are! If your daughter is 14, he’s twenty million times older than she is! Practical Info: The museum is open from 1400 to 1900 daily (maximizing the time that school children can see the museum). There’s a modest admission fee. Some construction/renovation is going on at the moment, but most of the museum was open as of my visit. The museum is located within the grounds of Parque Centenario, along with the park’s fountains, amusement rides, observatory and hospital. However, you enter the museum via Av. Patricias Argentinas, the road circling the park: for all practical purposes it’s right beside Av. Angel Gallardo. The closest subway stop is Angel Gallardo on the Red (B) Subte line: that station is actually located on Corrientes: walk a half-block west to Gallardo and turn left; it’s about four blocks down the street. There’s a vending machine cafe in the museum, beside the megalodon shark jaws.…
Date of experience: March 2020
3 Helpful votes
Lenova wrote a review Jan 2019
Australia85 contributions11 helpful votes
Love it. Beautiful place to go with friends or kids that love science and nature. Not expensive entry ticket. And for sure you scan spend at least two hours exploring all the place.
Date of experience: February 2018
kesit0 wrote a review Jan 2019
Buenos Aires, Argentina485 contributions136 helpful votes
It is huge museum, with a very interesting collection of lots of skeletons and stuffed animals. If they increase a little the entrance fee, they could improve the lightning in some dark areas and maybe some air-conditioning on the top floor.
Date of experience: January 2019
haplo89 wrote a review Dec 2018
Antwerp, Belgium2,622 contributions459 helpful votes
The museum of natural history in Buenos Aires has a nice collection of animals and dinosaurs. Although it gets very hot during the summer it is very much worth a visit. Entrance fee is 50 pesos pp but after 6 of January 2019 it will be 100 pesos pp.
Date of experience: December 2018
2 Helpful votes
SergioViaggio wrote a review Aug 2018
Buenos Aires, Argentina49 contributions10 helpful votes
Definitely not its counterparts of New York or London, but interesting nevertheless. Now, it definitlely would not count amont my priorities
Date of experience: July 2018