Dedicated to Planet Earth
The Goulandris Natural History Museum presents a fascinating over view of the natural world and serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting the environment
By Eleftheria Alavanou
The Goulandris Natural History Museum is housed in a well-maintained neoclassical building dating from 1875 and located in a quiet area of central Kifissia, a northern suburb of Athens. Angelos and Niki Goulandris founded this pioneering museum in 1964, at a time when environmental issues were of little concern in Greece. This is a charming museum, with exhibits focusing on botany, entomology, marine biology, ornithology, herpetology, geology, paleontology and mammals. They feature displays ranging from fossilized plants, shells and moths to taxidermic animals, including a red kangaroo, a koala and a Malaysian bear. While this tidy arrangement of objects in cases may be somewhat conventional, the more recently established Gaia Center offers something completely different. Covering 12,000 square meters over six floors, it is a modern, vibrant and imaginatively designed laboratory for adults and children. The center highlights, in a simple and easy-to-understand manner, a number of environmental issues such as the greenhouse effect, the pros and cons of nuclear energy and the effect of waste and the trash it generates on animal life. For example, visitors are invited to enter a greenhouse in which interactive panels explain the carbon cycle, or they can look through a diving mask to watch a video about the coral reef and the fish, urchins and starfish that live there. The Goulandris Museum has an excellent gift shop, where you will find books, games and souvenirs that all relate to the museum’s exhibits, as well as a lovely café-restaurant.
Info: Goulandris Natural History Museum – Gaia Center, 13 Levidou & 100 Othonos, Kifissia, Tel. (+30) 210.801.5870, www.gnhm.gr
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 9:00-14:30, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-15:00
Café-restaurant, Tel. (+30) 210.801.1170, www.museum-cafe.gr