Visit the Museum of Zoology

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Getting ready to visit San José with family or friends in the coming months? If so, you’re probably wondering what to see and do while you’re there. The good news is that there is no shortage of activities that will keep your entire family entertained. The bad news is that you may not be able to fit all of those activities into a single vacation. So, you’ll just have to come back again to experience everything you missed out on during your first trip!

Whether you’re traveling with kids or other adults, the Museum of Zoology should be near the top of things to do while you’re in Costa Rica. There is no better way to learn about Costa Rica wildlife. Located inside the University of Costa Rica, the Zoology Museum is full of specimens and scientific material collected for the purpose of teaching and research. Here are just a few of the exciting things you’ll experience at the Museum of Zoology.

Vertebrate and Invertebrate Collections

Since it was founded in 1996, the Museum of Zoology has slowly added to its scientific collections of vertebrates and invertebrates. Currently, samples of most of the taxonomic groups in both categories can be found on display inside the modest museum. All specimens are donated and have been collected from around the globe during various research projects.

Visiting the museum gives you and your family members the rare opportunity to view Costa Rica wildlife specimens up close. When living in their natural habitat, many of the creatures on display in the museum are virtually impossible to see in such meaningful detail. A few of the more impressive collections available for viewing purposes include:

  • Mammals

  • Arachnids

  • Aquatic invertebrates (including insects, mollusks and crustaceans)

  • Reptiles

  • Birds



The bird collection at the Museum of Zoology showcases more than 768 separate species of birds that can be found in Costa Rica, with a total of more than 4,000 individual specimens on display. If you love birds, you’ll want to spend plenty of time viewing this particular collection.

Most of the specimens in the Zoology Museum are preserved as skeletons or shells. Some are also preserved in a liquid solution. All are kept in good condition and show the creatures as they might appear in their natural habitat.

Bioacoustic Library

One of the most entertaining features of the museum is the bioacoustics library. Here, you can listen to studio recordings of the many sounds animals in Costa Rica make. It’s fun to match up an animal with the sound it makes, and you can easily make a game out of it. You can also use your newfound knowledge on your next hike or outdoor adventure to figure out what animal sounds you hear around you.

Important Scientific Research

While the Museum of Zoology provides hours of entertainment to locals and tourists, it serves a very important function and is an essential part of Costa Rica culture. Scientists from institutions in various countries frequently visit the museum to conduct important scientific research and learn more about the local wildlife and ecosystem.

The popular museum has come a long way since its humble beginning, when most of its collections were stored in small warehouses or private offices because there wasn’t a dedicated place where they could all be kept. Thanks to Dr. Jorge Mora Urpí, who was once the director of the university, the museum is now housed in its own building within the University of Costa Rica.

Ready to see some of Costa Rica’s most interesting and beautiful wildlife up close? Make sure you stop by the Museum of Zoology for an hour or two during your upcoming Costa Rica vacation.
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