What to Do: Go Prehistoric

Courtesy Of The Museum Of The Ice AgeMammoths are a focal point of the Ice Age Museum.
The Museum of the Ice Age, located in pavilion 71 at the All-Russia Exhibition Center (VVTs) does not in any way resemble any American museum of natural history. For one thing, there are many exhibits to touch and photograph -- beginning with the life-size polar bear and saber-toothed tiger, convincingly real and incredibly enticing, even if you're somewhat older than a preschooler. Most of the first room of this museum, which advertises itself as a museum-theater, is filled with such exhibits, intended to give visitors an idea of what it would be like to be in the presence of such creatures. Giant ice crystals that occasionally change colors hang from the ceiling, and the floor is partially covered in mirrors, with the intention of evoking the ancient Arctic steppe. The second room is entered through a cave constructed of imitation mammoth bones and covered inside with mammoth fur; the room is dominated by a giant mammoth family who look down on the scene from an elevated platform.

In addition to these playful and slightly retro exhibits, the museum also has an impressive collection of mammoth bones, particularly intact skulls, and some examples of mammoth fur unearthed from the Siberian tundra. A map shows the locations of places in Russia where prehistoric sites have been excavated, and a touch-screen computer walks older children through the causes of the ice age and life in what would become Russia during that period.

The final room of the museum, the beginning of a long-term project known as the "Mammoth Chamber," is filled with examples of Russian bone carving. By 2011, the museum hopes to have a room made completely of mammoth bones.

Museum of the Ice Age

Second floor, Pavilion 71, the All-Russia Exhibition Center, M. VDNKh.
Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Closed Mondays.
Entrance 200 rubles for adults, 100 rubles for children age 7-14 and pensioners, children under 7 are free. 975- 0913
www.iceage.ru.