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La Salle Natural History Museum is perhaps the only museum of this kind in the country. Because of its location most Costa Ricans don't even know about it, yet it is very impressive if you have never been to a Natural History Museum in another country.
La Salle Natural History Museum's collection include more than just the 800 species of birds of Costa Rica. The museum has collections from all over the world. Since Costa Rica is so rich in biodiversity, it is a great place to see most species. There is a large collection of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, shells, and even dinosaur and whale bones as well as fossils.
Costa Rican students should all be offered the opportunity to visit such a magnificent place. One can very well spend hours walking through the halls of this museum learning, watching and even taking pictures.
So far this museum has been selected as one of the best in Latin America because of the large collection of over 55,000 species which are always on display. The species that are in display during certain specific seasons add even more to the collection. Perhaps all together the estimate could be 65,000 species in some temporary given times.
Many species are real and others are live size models. One of the lions in the collection used to be a lion that was alive at the national zoo and died. Many real two toed sloths and three toed sloths are on the mammal display. All the six wild cats found in Costa Rica are also seen with other cats of the world. It is the perfect spot to compare sizes of animals that one may like to see in the wild. For instance the size of a Jaguar compared with that of the Ocelot or even the little margay becomes really handy if you see one of these wild cats while hiking or visiting any of the national parks in Costa Rica. Some times wildlife can be seen on the roads while traveling from one place to another. The Jaguarundi is one of those interesting wild cats that can be seen in two different colors in the country and the black one looks so much like a panther. One may compare it with the panther on display.
Seing a Harpy Eagle for the first time and perhaps the only way to see one now, is so amazing because it is the largest eagle in the world. The Harpy Eagle on display is perched on a tree top with its wings wide open and with a sloth as one of its preys. Harpys are so large that they feed on monkeys and sloths they grab from the canopy while on fly.
The beauty of the insect world is overwhelming and perhaps one will never be able to see all the beautiful varieties of blue on butterflies like the famous blue morpho that is so commonly found in Costa Rica. At the museum you can see 10 varieties of blue butterflies and the metallic colors of hundreds of beetles.
At the entrance of the museum there are live turtles that are often mistaken as models or dead but they are very much alive normally enjoying a sun bath and not moving much.
This beautiful Natural History Museum located near the SW corner of La Sabana Park in San Jose is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The public bus "Sabana-Estadio" passes right infront of the museum.
Every Costa Rican should visit this place and get to know everything they can about the local wildlife and the wildlife around the world. Every visitor in Costa Rica should use this place as a reference and the perfect wildlife guide.