The natural world is full of wonder and delight. In the Bieser Discovery Center, foster an interest in all things natural. Here, your child will study reptiles, insects, and mammals and examine fossils, minerals, and more.
Whether your interests lie in examining rock specimens, studying shells from around the world, exploring other cultures, or analyzing animal skeletons, the Bieser Discovery Center opens up the world of natural history to scientists of all ages, all in a child-friendly environment! Books, maps, and other learning resources provide a strong foundation for you to discuss natural history with your child, and fascinating specimens and artifacts allow you to immediately put that newly-found knowledge into practice.
If you like reptiles, you’ll love Rajeev, our Burmese python. Rajeev can most often be found curled up in his large, special enclosure in the Bieser Discovery Center, peacefully napping amidst pieces of wood and branches or taking a quick dip in his pool area.
Burmese pythons are the third largest snakes in the world, and Rajeev is no exception. Since coming to the museum in 1991, he has grown to over fourteen and a half feet long and weighs over 170 pounds! It’s a lot of work to move that much muscle, so Rajeev likes to rest and conserve his energy. When he does decide to uncurl himself and explore his enclosure, it’s quite a sight—especially if he’s shedding fourteen and half feet of skin!
Burmese pythons are native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, making their homes in rainforests, fields, and plantations. Visit Rajeev, however, and you and your child can learn all about this amazing reptile right here in Ohio!
The Bieser Discovery Center is also home to Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Cave cockroaches, Poison dart frogs, and a Tarantula. Enter the Bieser Discovery Center, and you will see a series of aquariums on the countertop — this is where our Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches live. These amazing insects actually do “hiss.” While other insects make sounds by rubbing two body parts together, these cockroaches force air through tiny holes in their abdomens, resulting in the characteristic “hissing” sound. They also have “horns” on their heads—examine our cockroaches and determine which ones are males by their larger horns.
In the same wooden structure housing the cockroaches, you will also see a Red-kneed tarantula and a Chilean rose hair tarantula. To scare off predators, tarantulas can rear up and expose their fangs, squirt fluid, and even scrape off hairs from the underside of their abdomen, which serve as irritants to potential attackers. Tarantulas are nocturnal and live on the ground instead of spinning webs. Visit ours and see for yourself just how large a spider can be!
In the Bieser Discovery Center, explore all that the natural world has to offer— here, natural history is within your reach. You and your child will discover principles of Geology and Biology, all in a family-friendly classroom setting. The Discovery Center is equipped with tables and counters at a child’s height, which invites children to read through fun and educational books, while exhibits and specimens requiring a higher display come equipped with stepstools to help little ones see for themselves what they’ve just discovered in the books.
In the Geology section, study an enormous amethyst specimen, examine natural opal preserved within petrified wood, or analyze crystals. Look at an enormous example of Ohio ’s state fossil, the trilobite. It is even possible to determine what sort of rocks are in your very own backyard—the walls of the Geology section show a giant cross-section of Dayton in geological terms, and you and your child can find your street and discover what rock layers lay beneath your own house. Here, Geology becomes accessible—and fun!—to your child.
The Discovery Center also offers a vast collection of Biology items to investigate. Here, simply pulling open a drawer reveals the entire life cycle of a butterfly, told through amazing specimens of caterpillars, pupae, and fully-developed butterflies. Open another drawer, and you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse into diverse human cultures; you and your child will be able to analyze actual artifacts from South Pacific, Mexican, African, Chinese, and Japanese civilizations, including jewelry, tools, and textiles. Investigate countertops, too; on one, the growth and construction of a large hornet’s nest is chronicled. And budding biologists can even take a look through a microscope, simply to see things on a whole new level.