Visitors approach the building from the bottom floor and enter in through a grand canyon reminiscent of the many such features within the state. The canyon serves as a multi-purpose space and can be transformed for a variety of events when needed. On normal days it serves as an extension of the museum’s cafe and gift shop. A giant curio exhibit gives you a glimpse of the hundreds of thousands of items the museum has collected. From the canyon, visitors ascend to the highest and fifth floor where they can tour an exhibit on the Native Peoples of Utah and take a walk out to the rooftop deck. Here visitors can check out views of the city and surrounding mountain ranges as well as see the rooftop solar photovoltaic system in action.
After the top floor, visitors descend into the main exhibition space, where they can play with rocks, watch a real ant colony, see the evolution of man through skulls and see dioramas of native habitats. From here, the exhibition space steps down, just like the geology of Utah to explain how the state evolved over time. For lovers of dinosaurs, this is where it gets really exciting, and you can see your favorite giant reptile’s remains on display. Utah is a paleontologist’s dream and each year new remains are found and become part of the museum’s collection. You can even witness a recreation of a dig site, which shows how the bones were found and even see fossilized skin!
Classrooms for children’s field trips and activities are integrated right into the exhibition space and not relegated to some dark basement. Next to the dinosaur exhibit is a real live research lab where archeologist and paleontologists work during the day to study bones and objects they collect from dig sites. A flexible exhibition room on the north side of the building provides extra space for traveling and temporary exhibits. And then the remainder of the 42,000 sq ft building is used as a repository for a large part of the museum’s collection.