Walking with Dinosaur Bones

Outside the Aathal Dinosaur Museum on a winter day. Credit:  Naomi Lubick Outside the Aathal Dinosaur Museum on a winter day. Credit: Naomi Lubick

If you need a dinosaur fix and you are visiting Zürich, take a half-day detour to the nearby Aathal Dinosaur Museum (www.sauriermuseum.ch). A quick train ride drops you in the small town of Aathal, about 500 meters from the historic textile factory that now houses the museum. A second-class daypass will get you there and back, as well as around the city and out to the airport, and costs about $22.

A giant turtle fossil on display inside the museum.  Credit:  Naomi Lubick A giant turtle fossil on display inside the museum. Credit: Naomi Lubick

Although some of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum’s displays feel as though they were built in someone’s garage, the museum covers a wide array of dino-related topics fairly well. The main lure is actually imported: a collection of Jurassic fossils from the Howe Ranch site in Montana, with huge skeletons of sauropods that loom over visitors. Special exhibits include gorgeous fossil assemblages of several-centimeter-long fish and tiny vertebrates, as well as huge half-meter ammonites that are often found in the Jura Mountains, once home to an ocean during the Mesozoic. Across the street, you can buy your own fossils at the museum’s affiliated mineral shop.  

Naomi Lubick

Lubick (www.naomilubick.com) is a freelance science writer based in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Friday, November 12, 2010 - 06:00