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New Cook Museum of Natural Science opens

The new Cook Museum of Natural Science opened in Decatur Friday morning.

The new Cook Museum of Natural Science had its grand opening on Friday. With 11 exhibits, the new museum is about 12 times as big as the last one and has been a $32.4 million project. The exhibits include an ocean, forest, arctic and cave themes. The new facility is about 62,000 square-feet. It houses aquariums, terrariums, a glass encased, fully populated and functional bee hive, and taxidermy displays, including a nine-foot grizzly bear.

“We have a tree that’s called Big Tree, and its in Sipsey Wilderness, and it’s a replica, but it’s 153 feet tall,” said Mike Taylor, Marketing and PR Manager for Cook Museum, of his favorite part of the museum, which is located in the forest exhibit. “It’s a state championship tree and so to be able to replicate that here, if you’re not able to go out and if you’re not able to go out into the forest and experience these things, this is a great way to come out and experience it.”

The new Cook Museum is located at 133 Fourth Ave. N.E. Opening weekend hours are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday. Normal, seasonal hours for summer: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday. 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday and 12 – 6 p.m. Sunday.).