There are museums and there are Museums…

If you have been reading this blog long enough, you’d know that I am not the biggest fan of museums… especially those of the arty farty variety. And ever since the awesome dinosaur museum in Cordoba, I’ve kinda been in two minds about museums of “natural history”.

On the one hand…. DINOSAURS…. on the other… walking amongst the carcasses make me feel like I should be in a black tuxedo and that there should be someone chanting Buddhist mantras in the background.

But we figured that while we were in Puerto Madryn, we should do some “research” about the infamous Southern Right Whales before we go on the (SUPER EXPENSIVE) ocean safari to Peninsula Valdes.

And that’s the whole reason why we took a (very short) bus ride to the Provincial Museum of Natural Science and Oceanography. (Somehow I don’t think museum curators are the best people to come up with “snazzy” names)

I think this whale had been out in the sun for too long... Outside the entrance of the museum. Puerto Madryn has so many Southern Right Whales that they just leave them lying around everywhere...

I think this whale had been in the sun for too long… Outside the entrance of the museum. They have so many Southern Right Whales in Puerto Madryn that they just leave them lying around everywhere…

The main focus of the museum is, of course, on the “stars” of Puerto Madryn – the Southern Right Whales. For as long as people remember, these magnificent creatures have been calling at Puerto Madryn during their mating/birthing season. This provided marine biologists with a lot of opportunities to study these leviathans up close and do very thorough research on their habits and behavior. The museum is where they present the findings of their research to the public in simple-to-understand terms…. or at least I think that’s what they are trying to do… most of the displays were in Spanish and we couldn’t understand them…

Cool trivia... Jo's mouth involuntarily opens whenever she sees any pictures of whales... more to follow...

Cool trivia… Jo’s mouth involuntarily opens whenever she sees picture of whales… 

The "mouth" of an exhibit showing what it is like to journey through the insides of a Southern Right Whale... Very biblical... but what fascinated me more was that I didn't know the way the Southern Right Whales zhng their mouth... ah beng style

The “mouth” of an exhibit showing what it is like to journey through the insides of a Southern Right Whale… Very biblical… but what fascinated me more was that I didn’t know the way the Southern Right Whales zhng their mouth… ah beng style

The Southern Right Whale in relation to other marine mammals...

The Southern Right Whale in relation to other marine mammals…

Of course, beside the Southern Right Whales, other parts of the museum has extensive features on the other celebrity wildlife that frequent Peninsula Valdes (just around the corner from Puerto Madryn) such as elephant seals, penguins, seals and orcas….

orcas and elephant seals

These exhibits including one particularly disturbing video of how orcas “hunt” baby seals for food. *SPOILER ALERT*: they beach themselves so they can swallow the newborn seals. Other techniques include flinging the baby seals into the air and catching it in their mouths… gruesomely impressively.

*DISTURBING IMAGES AHEAD*

How about them apples? Images from the Museum

Putting the Killer in Killer whales? Images from the Puerto Madryn Provincial Museum of Natural Science and Oceanography

What we really like though, is that outside of the rather “heavy” scientific facts (again, we are still guessing here, because we don’t understand Spanish that well), there is a very strong and consistent message about conservation and preservation throughout the museum. It was obvious enough that even non Spanish speakers like ourselves cannot help but be knocked (hard) on the head by them.

At least... we THINK they look like pieces about conservation and preservation

At least… we THINK they look like pieces about conservation and preservation

Hands down, my favourite in the whole museum.  A photo shoot with children posing with fantasy/steampunk-esques props made out of recycled material

Hands down, my favourite in the whole museum. A photo shoot of children posing with fantasy/steampunk-esques props made out of recycled material. We forgot to note down the photographer responsible for this AWESOME series, so if anyone reading this can point out the artist to us, we would love to credit him/her

And the best part of all this? After the 2 hour or so browsing through the exhibits (it’d probably take a Spanish speaker twice as long), we were treated to a panoramic view of the Puerto Madryn basin where TONNES of Southern Right Whales (I just realized I kinda mean that quite literally… hur hur) frolic/wave/flip.jump in the sea…

Now... THAT's a panoramic view

Now… THAT’s a panoramic view

Pretty cool place to watch the (almost) sunset... (we still needed to catch the last bus back to town)

Pretty cool place to watch the (almost) sunset… (we still needed to catch the last bus back to town)

Truly spectacular!

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