Program Series

Art Nite

The UI Museum of Natural History will put on Art Nite again this year!  Join us in the gallery space after-hours during one of two events:

Thursday, September 13th 
Sketch Nite in Mammal Hall
5 - 6:30pm

Thursday, November 8th
Sketch Nite in Hageboeck Hall of Birds

This program is designed for adult participants but everyone is welcome!  Admission is free. Advanced registration not required.

Museum of Natural History Art Nite


Join us for movies and documentaries about science and nature!  All Movies@MNH showings are free and open to the public, and are typically held on Sundays at 3 p.m. in Macbride Auditorium (2nd Floor).  

Movies@MNH logo

Night at the Museum

Explore the Museum of Natural History after dark for an evening of pizza and STEM fun! Each month, explore a different area of science, technology, and culture with interactive demonstrations, fun activities, and hands-on materials. Each child receives an official MNH Miner Helmet with a head lamp to keep, and the group explores the darkened bird and mammal galleries as part of the evening’s activities. This is a drop off program, long enough for parents to have dinner or even go see a movie! 

For students in grades 1-5; $30 per student per program.

Programming this year will include 4 topics over 8 dates:

  • IT'S ALL IN YOUR GENES (Genetics & DNA) - September 7th & 14th
  • MAD SCIENCE (Chemistry) - October 5th & 12th
  • INSIDE THE HUMAN BODY (Biology) - November 2nd & 9th
  • IT'S ELECTRIC (Electricity) - December 7th & 14th

Pre-registration is required due to limited space but each program is offered twice per month to accommodate additional participants. Register today by visiting and using the in-text links.

Night At The Museum

Pentacrest Museums Family Weekend

Every April, join us for family fun and activities at the Old Capitol Museum and the UI Museum of Natural History.

Family Weekend

Pentacrest Museums Summer Camp

Join us for a week long summer camp at the Museum of Natural History! Campers will enjoy games, lessons, and activities. Each day will explore a period of time from our past. 

Participants will bring their own lunch each day, snacks provided. Summer Camp is intended for children from grades 1-5. Register by March 1 for the early bird rate of $150 per camper.  After March 1, the cost is $195 per camper.  Register here.

Summer Camp

Read on the Rug

Bring your toddler to enjoy a story and related activities at the Pentacrest Museums! Read on the Rug is recommended for ages 2-4, and children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the program.

Cost is free, space is limited to ten and advance signup is required so we have space and materials for everyone.  Please sign up using the link in each program listing or by emailing

Read on the Rug typically alternates between the Old Capitol Museum and the Museum of Natural History.  Check individual program listings for each month's location.

Read on the Rug

UIMNH Escape Room

A mystery is afoot at the UI Museum of Natural History. Curator and Professor Charles Nutting’s brief case went missing in 1897.  Over the course of more than a century many of the University's brightest minds have searched for it in vain. This brief case contains important documentation about many of the specimens on exhibit.  Without the documentation, the futures of the exhibits are uncertain.  You & your team of 5 will have 60 minutes to crack codes, solve clues, & solve puzzles throughout the gallery and find the long lost briefcase. Are you up to the challenge?

  • Build your team, choose a date, choose a time on the hour, and register today!  Team fees are $35 (UI student teams are $15)
  • At this time we cannot take walk-ins. All reservations must be made online in advance.  Bookings for a given day close at midnight the night before.
  • The UI MNH Escape Room is designed for those 12 and over. A supervising adult must accompany players under 16 years of age.
  • Please plan to arrive 10 minutes before your start time. Gallery doors cannot be reopened once the game begins.
  • Bring your best wits & detective skills because cell phone use is not permitted in the Escape Room!

Available dates and times:
Thursday, September 27th: 6pm OR 7pm
Thursday, October 4th: 6pm OR 7pm
Thursday, October 18th: 6pm OR 7pm

To register, visit and follow in-text links.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Julia DeSpain in advance at (319) 335-1508.

Escape Room