Three exciting new exhibitions are opening in Downtown Mesa on July 1. Travel back in time to ancient Arizona to walk with dinosaurs and then go behind the scenes to develop a deeper understanding of our past at the Arizona Museum of Natural History (AZMNH). Next, explore the world of robotics through art and hands-on activities at the i.d.e.a. Museum. Finally, stop by the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum and check out Angel Cabrales’ reimagined SciFi-inspired parallel universe in The Uncolonized: A Vision in the Parallel exhibition.
All three Downtown Mesa museums – AZMNH, i.d.e.a. and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum – will be open during the July 4 holiday.
“Families throughout the Valley are seeking fun ways to engage and inspire their children this summer, and our museums offer a great, indoor adventure for children of all ages, and a special respite from the sizzling Arizona heat,” said Cindy Ornstein, Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Mesa. “The visually stunning and educational exhibitions at our city museums will provide the community another reason to get out of the house and escape the heat through our cool experiences.”
AZMNH presents 75,000,000 BC, which walks visitors through southern Arizona and northern Sonora 75 million years ago. Learn about the giant volcanoes that shaped the economy of our state and the dinosaurs that lived in their shadow. Additionally, Ologies!: The Science of Anthropology and Paleontology is the museum’s first bilingual exhibition. Visitors will learn more about the museum’s anthropology and paleontology research departments to discover the kinds of objects in each collection, how objects become part of the collection, and how objects help scientists study the past.
At the i.d.e.a. Museum, the Robo Art exhibition lets kids of all ages explore the design, engineering and technology of robots. Enjoy building a 3D bot, playing coding games, and learning about a variety of robots, the history of robotics and more! Also, several hands-on activities and experiences have returned, including the jungle-themed Black Light Room, cozy Zen Den and the Magnetic Wall, featuring balls and chutes. Plus, the HUB Gallery has added a Puppet Theater, storybook floor game and new art activity, featuring fairytale characters.
More times to explore & create!
Both museums also are extending business hours this summer to provide families more opportunities to stay cool, be inspired and experience fun learning.
Beginning July 1, AZMNH, located at 53 N. Macdonald, will be open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. See dinosaurs that roar and so much more. Take a stroll through time from the birth of Earth through the age of the dinosaurs, visit a village of the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People and try your hand at gold panning.
The i.d.e.a. Museum – 150 W. Pepper Place – returns to operating 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday. Enjoy creative experiences that support early learning, nurture creative thinking, and engage families in quality time together throughout the museum. Check out ArtVille – a colorful town featuring imaginative play activities aimed at little ones 4 and younger (socks required).
While visiting Downtown Mesa, families also are encouraged to visit a third Mesa gem: Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, located at 1 E. Main St. Business hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. Explore works by sculptor and mixed media artist Angel Cabrales, known for his provocative social commentaries on the Latin-American experience. Also on exhibition are: Passage, a collaborative site-specific installation of 7,000+ unfired clay beads symbolizing lives lost on the US-Mexico border; The Myth of the Incomplete Self (El mito del yo incompleto); and Docents Select: Indigenous Americas.
Find timed entries on each museum’s website. Reservations are strongly recommended during busy summer months. You may also buy tickets at the door.
Admission to Arizona Museum of Natural History is $7 for children ages 3-12 and $13 for ages 13 and up; museum members are free. At the i.d.e.a. Museum, admission is $9 for ages 1 and up. Members and babies 11 months and younger are free. Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is free, but reservations are recommended.
Museum activities, tickets and more at arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org, ideaMuseum.org and mesaartscenter.com/museum.
About City of Mesa Arts & Culture
Mesa’s Department of Arts and Culture includes the Arizona Museum of Natural History, i.d.e.a. Museum and Mesa Arts Center, all located in downtown Mesa, Arizona. The mission of the department is to strengthen, for all, the creative, social and economic fabric of our community and region through inspiring, relevant, engaging and transformational cultural experiences and cross-sector collaborations.
Artist credit/featured image above: Lunar Rover by Doug Brannan.