A visit to a nature and science museum might immerse you in topics as different as evolutionary history and algae.
But what if you can’t make the trip?
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque is one of many museums that let you explore displays online. Right now, its website includes six exhibits that cover dinosaurs, volcanoes and biological diversity, among other things.
“Growing Green Goop” takes a look at how algae can be turned into biofuel. Since New Mexico gets so much sun, it’s considered an ideal location for growing and researching the slimy stuff.
One day, bioalgal researchers hope to use algae as a source of renewable fuel. The exhibit illustrates the possibilities through a game that shows what goes into growing algae and videos that show how researchers are using it.
Visitors can also explore “The New Tree of Life,” which explains how advances in DNA research are changing how scientists see evolution. In the past, evolution was described in terms of changing physical features, but with the dawn of DNA techniques, experts can compare organisms’ genetic code.
The interactive evolutionary tree lets you zoom in on different branches and learn about how today’s beings evolved from common ancestors.
Some of the online displays are basic, such as a quick introduction to Stan, the museum’s resident Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. Others offer more-interactive features. It’s a low-key way for a parent to share screen time with a child or just infuse your day with a bit more science — all without leaving your computer.