Dalian Natural History Museum
Address: 40 Xicun street, Heishijiao, Shahekou district, Dalian city, Liaoning province
Hours: 9:00 am-4:30 pm (No entry after 4:00 pm)
Closed Mondays (Except for national holidays)
General admission: Free, advance reservation required
Tel: (+86-411) 84691290
A Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) is travelling the ocean. Occasionally, it will rise to the sea surface, breathing air through its blowhole. Searching for its next meal after a good rest, the creature will never know that one day, many years into the future, it will appear in a coastal museum.
Situated near the sea, a blue-roofed, white-tiled, European-style building surrounded by blue waves, scattered reefs and flying seagulls, is the Dalian Natural History Museum. It's the only museum in China with 270,000 square meters of sea area, and was also one of the earliest natural history museums to be established in the country.
The museum's predecessor was founded in 1907. The new one was completed in October 1998 and officially opened to the public soon afterwards.
It's a comprehensive museum integrating collections, research and exhibitions of geological, paleontological, zoological and botanical specimens, with a construction area of 15,000 square meters.
Walking into the entrance hall, a specimen of a male African elephant will be the first thing you see. The museum's other exhibitions include the Kenneth Behring Hall, the Mesozoic Paleontological Fossil Exhibition, the Earth Exhibition Hall, the Whale Hall, the Invertebrate Hall, the Cartilaginous Fish Hall, the Bony Fish Hall, the Wetland Exhibition Hall, the Legend of the Ancient Beast Hall, the Ecological Exhibition Hall and the Northeast Forest Hall.
The museum has a collection of nearly 200,000 specimens, including more than 6,000 rare ones. These collections are characterized by marine biological specimens and fossil specimens from the "Jehol Biota". Among them, there are more than 20 species of marine animal specimens, the variety and quantity of which is the largest in China's natural history museums.
The museum's collection of fossil specimens from the "Johol Biota" are the most diverse and representative in China. The fossil of a nest of Psittacosaurus - a unique and well-preserved specimen that amazed the world - led to research results which were published in "Nature" (September 431, 2004).
This museum is a great choice for those interested in ancient dinosaur fossils and as an introduction to the bustling sea life around Dalian.