Huge skeletons and fossils are exhibited in this museum, showing a display of the pre-historical past of Guatemala in the areas of Zacapa, as well as in areas near Chiquimula.
It is common to hear amazed children say: 'look at the mammoth ', but indeed, the skeletons displayed are those of enormous megatheriums and mastodons, both huge creatures. Such specimens walked Guatemalan ground thousands of years ago during prehistoric times.
This museum does not only show giant ground skeletons but also marine ones. Visitors may appreciate magnificent giant turtle shells and whale skeletons, as well as giant molar samples in good conditions.
The trail goes through various explanatory sections that illustrate the different eras and historical episodes in which each species of living things is located. Exhibit rooms are ample and very well set according to the historical period. It is usual to hear that the museum is referred as 'Estanzuela`s Museum'(Museo de Estanzuela) but its actual name is 'Roberto Wookfolk Saravia Paleontology and Archeology Museum'.
The route of archeology begins where paleontology ends. Stairs escorted by Mayan trails (estelas) drive visitors down the museum´s basement, where findings of burials, fine and ceremonial Mayan pottery are exhibited.
Outside the museum you may find handcraft shops that show artistic ability and genius of local artists, offering pieces, adornments, necklaces, and toys made of wood and seeds, as well as textiles and embroidered pieces.
A bit of history and the reason of the museum`s name
After the first findings in the Estanzuela area, made by geologist Karl Sapper (German), additional reports were made in 1950 by doctor Barnum Brown and Jorge Ibarra. It is then when formal lpaleonlological studies begin, and due to the importance of the following findings, which included numerous fossils, comes up the initiative of founding a museum to exhibit the pieces, which was mainly encouraged by engineer Roberto Wookfolk. The museum was inaugurated on June 27, 1974 and came to be part of INGUAT (Guatemalan Institute of Tourism).
Hours open to the Public
This museum opens every day of the week from 8:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. It contains with a wide parking lot, security and bathrooms.
Upon the date of this visit, October 2011, the entrance was free. Entrance to visit the museum has always been free to the public (this may change any moment according to dispositions of the museum`s management)
Pictures and text: Héctor Roldán