Posted by Tasha on March 11th, 2013 in Attractions, Travel
There is a place in Oklahoma, in a sea of warehouses in an industrial OKC neighborhood, where you can finger a rhinoceros rib, press an alligator’s teeth into the tender underside of your forearm, or rub the lacy bones hidden inside an elephant’s nasal cavity. You can also watch a swarm of flesh-eating bugs eat the face from a dog’s skull.
The Museum of Osteology—America’s only skeleton museum, according to its website—displays over 300 skeletons in a 7,000-square-foot building, grouped into about a dozen exhibits: locomotion, comparative anatomy, and forensic pathology are just a few of them. Suspended from the ceiling are the bones of dolphins, a manatee, and the 40-foot, 2,500-pound skeleton of a humpback whale. Admission is for sale for $6 per head.
There’s an exhibit on Oklahoma wildlife. Included is a skeleton of a bison and a fox. There’s also a raccoon halfway through a box of Milk Duds. Plus, this guy:
Our state bird, Tyrannus forficatus. My all-time second favorite.
We enjoyed our visit. Most interesting, though, was the museum gift shop. It’s powered by Skulls Unlimited, “the world’s leading supplier of osteological specimens” (1-800-659-SKULL), which sells various skulls to places like museums and medical schools. Inside I found myriad small animal skulls, snake ribs and fangs, and even bones labeled as those of human fingers. The finger bones were priced at $10 each and offered in a coffee cup near the cash register like candy bars by the grocery store checkout.
From the store I procured a prairie dog skull (the perfect birthday gift for a certain friend) and the baculum bone of what a friend told me later was a raccoon. I heard that in the world of premium coffee stirrers, a baculum is the gold standard. Most of the time, though, I just I keep my new baculum in my purse. It has been fun to show it to people at parties.
If you like the idea of owning your very own animal skull, check out the Skulls Unlimited March specials. The muskrat skulls seems to be a particularly good buy.
Museum of Osteology
10301 S. Sunnylane Road, Oklahoma City
Hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Admission is $6 for all ages 3 and up
Museum of Osteology on Facebook