Animal Investigations

Animal Image
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Animal Investigations

Get up close to a T. rex skull, mastodons, fossils, and live animals—including an iguana, a family of chinchillas, and an entire insect zoo. Learn about the behavior and habitats of exotic species. Discover something new every time you visit.

Animal Investigations

Insect Zoo

Here you’ll find hermit crabs, Indian walking sticks, a Chilean Rose Hair tarantula, and Madagascar hissing cockroaches. All these animals have a protective shell-like skeleton on the outside of their bodies called an exoskeleton.

Triceratops Fossil

This real skull comes from a three-horned Triceratops. See it in preparation for a dig out, but not fully excavated, and get an up-close view of what it’s like to be a paleontologist in the field.

Mastodon Skeleton

About nine million years ago, volcanoes still rumbled in Berkeley and mastodon herds thrived in Contra Costa County. Come see a full fossil cast made from a mastodon excavated from Mt. Diablo’s southern slope.

Harley the T. rex

The bite force of the T. rex was 3,000 pounds, and looking at this skull you can see why. This Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil skull cast was discovered at the Cretaceous Hell Creek formation in Montana.

Chinchilla Roost

Marcy, Peanut, and Cashew the chinchillas live at the Hall, but are native to the Andes Mountains in South America. They can usually be found sleeping during the day, but are most active at dawn and dusk.

Animal Discovery Room

If you visit while the Animal Discovery Room is open, you can hold and touch rabbits, snakes, lizards, frogs, and dozens of other critters. Get more information and hours.

Get Inspired

Meet the chinchilla family, insects in the insect zoo, and see a mastodon skeleton that was discovered in the Bay Area. Look at a Triceratops still encased in the surrounding rock.

Be a Scientist

Find out what animals eat, where they live, and how they move and adapt to their environments. Observe the behavior and habitats of a variety of local and exotic species. Compare the size of dinosaur bones to your own.

Build a Better World

We can help species survive and thrive when we understand their needs—including habitats, diets, hibernation, and migration. The similarities and differences between organisms, both now and in the past, tell us a lot about our own species and the natural world.