Thursday, January 17, 2019

Winter 2019 Events

A new semester means new events at the Bean Life Science Museum! In addition to our regular events, we will have a photography show, date night, family Easter night, and more. Here's everything you need to know about these upcoming events:

Nature Photography Competition and Exhibition: Feb 7-Mar 5, entries due Feb 2
This contest is open to both amateur and professional photographers. Read the requirements for entry here. Everyone is welcome to attend the show opening on February 7th at 7:00 PM. See the winning photos and honorable mentions from last year's show here.

Birding with Merrill Webb: Saturday, Feb 2
This nature experienceship is a favorite among visitors of the Bean Museum. Unfortunately this event is sold out, but keep an eye out for future nature experienceships on our website.

Night at the Museums: Friday, Feb 22
Did you know that Brigham Young University has five museums, including the Bean Museum? Visit all five museums at BYU's 6th annual Night at the Museums event. You can expect activities and refreshments as well as a free shuttle to take between museums.

Tomb Raiders Date Night: Saturday, Mar 9
Another favorite of museum visitors, this event tends to sell out quickly. This date night is an interactive live Tomb Raiders game with puzzles and tasks to complete. Reserve a spot for you and a date here.
Easter Family Night: Mon, Apr 15
Enjoy crafts, prizes, a photo booth, and more activities at our annual Easter Family Night! This event is great for kids of all ages.

Don't forget about these regular events at the Bean Museum:

Live Animal Shows: Daily
Join us for any of our free public live animal shows at the following times: Mon-Fri at 7:30 PM (additional show at 6:30 PM on Mondays) and Saturday at 1PM and 3PM. You can also schedule a private live animal show for free here.

Discovery Reading: Every Thursday
Discovery Reading is perfect for younger children! Read books with us and meet a live animal every Thursday at 11AM.

Conservation Kids: First Saturday of the Month
Conservation Ken and Katy make an appearance on the first Saturday of every month. Come meet these superheroes to learn some facts about conservation and maybe even meet a live animal!

As always, you can find information about our events on our website. We look forward to seeing you at the Bean Museum this semester!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Clue Date Night 2018

Last Saturday, 30 couples joined us for a Clue-themed date night at the Bean Museum. The couples arrived in costume for a delicious Brick Oven catered dinner. While eating, they were able to interact with our eccentric guests, Mr. Green, Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White, and Professor Plum.

Guests were greeted by the butler and head maid.

We loved seeing everyone's fancy and creative costumes!

This couple loved meeting Colonel Mustard.

After dinner, the head maid ran into the room, screaming. Luckily, the butler caught her when she fainted. The cause of her distress? Mr. Bean was murdered.

After this announcement, couples raced to solve riddles in order to narrow down who committed the murder, where, and with what weapon. At the Bean Museum, you won't find ordinary weapons, though. Potential murder weapons included a hippo tusk, poison sumac, porcupine quills, and a rattlesnake.

Can you solve Miss Scarlet's riddle? A son and engineer go fishing. The boy was the engineer's son but the engineer wasn't the boy's father. How was this possible? Answer in the comments!

In the end, one couple solved all the riddles, narrowed down all the possibilities, and solved the mystery. Mr Bean was murdered by Mrs. White with a rattlesnake in the dining room!

Thank you to all the couples who joined us for this fun event! You can find information about other events, including future date nights, on our website.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween Family Night 2018

Thanks to the 1500 who attended our annual Halloween Family Night this past Monday! We had a night full of fun Halloween crafts, shows, activities, and prizes.

Our photobooth is always a hit! This year, visitors got to meet Conservation Ken and Katy at the photobooth.

We had a full house in the auditorium for our three special Spooky Live Animal shows. Visitors got to meet a tarantula and a frog and even touch a ball python!

We made Frankenstein, cat, pumpkin, and sugar skull masks in the craft room!

A local wildlife rescue center brought some incredible live owls to the museum!

Visitors had fun looking for spooky animals and pumpkins around the museum and completing a bingo scavenger hunt. And of course getting their candy prizes for finding four-in-a-row!

Impromptu stroller parking lot

Halloween Family Night was a blast! We would love to see you next year. You can find more information about our events on our website.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Nature Experienceship: Wild Edibles on BYU Campus

Here at the Bean Museum, we got to kick-off homecoming weekend in a delectable fashion. Tom Smith, a wildlife biologist at BYU, shared his knowledge of food in the wild. He started by treating us to some of his foraging stories, and then shared some of his culinary creations, which included: smoked salmon, a salmon dip, and syrups from several different kinds of trees. We then headed out to BYU’s campus to find out what was edible. Some of the unsuspecting foods Tom showed us were: acorns (which can be turned into a flour and used in baking), pine needles (a good source of vitamin C), Oregon grape, day lilies (a colorful decoration to any salad), pine nuts, yew berries (which, contrary to popular belief, are not poisonous!), and sage. Tom showed us how to collect these foods for later use.

After collecting, it was back to the kitchen to try out some of these wild edibles. The favorite was cookies that Tom made with acorn flour. Some other tasty creations included: acorn-flour bread, yew berry-topped cheesecake, Oregon Grape jam, and some more salmon (baked with some of the herbs Tom collected). Needless to say, everyone left both happy and full!

Tom led the way, showing us how tasty pine needles can be.

Pine cones hide a tasty treasure, pine nuts. The best time to harvest these in Utah is the first couple weeks of September.

Yew berries make a great topping for cheesecake!

Sage is a great seasoning for wild-caught salmon.

Oregon grapes make an incredible jelly! Each guest got to take home their own jar.

Guests had the opportunity to try their hand at foraging. Sorry grounds crew!

If you would like to learn more about wild edibles, Tom suggests the book “Stalking the Wild Asparagus.” Make sure to check out the museum’s website so you don’t miss out on any other exciting events!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Nature Experienceship: Insects in Provo Canyon

On Saturday, September 22nd, we had the fantastic opportunity to go and collect insects with Dr. Shawn Clark, the manager of the Bean Museum’s collection of arachnids and insects. While we waited for it to warm up enough to go collecting, Dr. Clark gave everyone a special look inside the museum’s research collections. Dr. Clark explained that the collecting started with one of BYU’s first research expeditions in the early 1900s.

We didn’t stay there too long before we were on our way to one of Dr. Clark’s favorite collection sites, up past Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. Dr. Clark freely shared his knowledge of insects. We learned that there are as many species of insects as there are all the other species of animals in the world combined!

Once we made it to the collection site, Dr. Clark demonstrated how to collect the bugs with nets, and then preserve them in alcohol.

The first catch of the day was a European Mantis. They aren’t native to Utah. As their name suggests, they made their way over here from Europe. Some other noteworthy catches included: Crab Spiders, Damsel Flies, Millipedes, a Plant Hopper, Paper Wasps, Water Skeeters and a Chrysomelid Beetle. The most interesting catch was a Blue Mud Wasp. When a patron discovered it in their net, Dr. Clark fearlessly reached in to pull it out. With the patron’s permission, Dr. Clark took it with him and the wasp is now a part of the museum’s research collection.

Insects aren’t the only thing we learned about while out in the field. Dr. Clark taught us about watercress, a plant that has sparked scientific debate. It is widely accepted to be native to Europe and Asia, but scientists aren’t sure if it is native or invasive in North America. Dr. Clark believes it is native, because there is a species of beetle, that is native to North America, that only lives in watercress. To Dr. Clark, it doesn’t make too much sense for a trait like that to have evolved in the short span of a couple of hundred years.

In total, we only saw a tiny fraction of the insect and arachnid collection that Dr. Clark manages. There are over 2 million specimens in the museum's collection, including the world’s largest collection of stoneflies! It takes a long time to grow a collection that big. We're grateful for Dr. Clark for managing the collection and for sharing his knowledge with us!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Nature Experienceship: Birding at Antelope Island

This past Saturday, 25 people had the fantastic opportunity to go birding with Merrill Webb. As part of our Nature Experienceship programs, we traveled to Antelope Island early in the morning. This is an excellent area to bird watch, as the brine shrimp and brine flies are a 
great source of food for many varieties of birds. The Great Salt Lake is home to many 
millions of shorebirds, waterfowl, and other migratory birds throughout the year.

We didn’t even make it over the long bridge to the island before we had to pull over and admire the conglomeration of birds along the water’s edge. And, of course, to listen to the 
fabulous Merrill Webb identify and tell us everything that we could possibly want to know 
about them. He is truly a joy to experience these birds with. It was obvious how much he 
knew about them and how much passion and love he felt for them. 

The fabulous Merrill Webb

It was a beautiful sight to see thousands of birds swimming, diving, and flying close to the water in the morning sun. There were so many different kinds, some in their own exclusive groups and some intermingling freely with one another as they all fed in the shallow water. We saw shovelers, grebes, ibis, coots, stilts, avocets, sandpipers, curlews, and gulls all gathered in the shallow water. We were lucky enough to spot a rare willet, a large shorebird with distinctive and striking black-and-white wings.

Birds through a scope

Later on, once we reached the island, we used spotting scopes to admire a family of burrowing owls. We even saw one keeping a watchful eye over the horizon. Finally, the day was capped by visiting a hay barn where a great horned owl was resting and hiding from the midday sun. It wasn’t until we drove away that we saw another sleepy-looking horned owl perched in the rafters on the other side of the barn, directly above where we were.

Great horned owl through a scope

We even spotted an American bison scratching itself on a signpost!

All-in-all, it a very productive and worthwhile day for everyone involved. I would absolutely go again, as I’m sure anyone else who was lucky enough to be a part of this trip would. If you’re interested in a nature experienceship like this, be sure to check out our calendar!