The Biomuseo, or Museo de la Biodiversidad, is one of Panama City’s contemporary gems and the first Latin American project by Frank Gehry. As befits the architect’s unusual and innovative eye, the museum is itself an abstract sculpture, daring and colorful, that seeks to reflect Panama’s natural riches by means of angled planes that form the roof and simulate a jungle canopy. The permanent exhibition, Panama: The Bridge of Life, recounts how the Isthmus of Panama came to be, as well as its gargantuan impact on the earth’s climate and environment, by dividing the oceans and linking the Americas. Outside the structure, a lovely park serves as a living extension of museum architecture and exhibits.
Slowly but surely, the Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo is evolving into its shape in Panama City. The opening’s delay can be forgiven when you consider that the museum is dedicated to billions of years of evolution—not exactly a modest undertaking. When it opens, scale models of Earth’s early megafauna will stampede through the interior, and two high-rise aquariums will begin to explain the differences between the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans that cushion the country. For a taste of what’s to come, the museum has been welcoming adults to tour the construction site, although touring has been suspended as the BioMuseo preps for its official debut.
After years of planning, building, and funding, this grand museum is finally open. Designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry, the building is a delight from the inside-out. Although the museum is geared toward a younger crowd, it’s entertaining and educational for adults as well. If you visit on a Saturday, head to the outdoor market just down the street afterward.
Visit Panama City's Newest Museum
One of the most anticipated events of the last quarter of 2014 was the opening of Panama City’s Biomuseo. The Frank Gehry–designed museum—his only building in Latin America to date—brings a pop of welcome color to the industrial-looking Amador Causeway. Architecture aficionados will be drawn to the structure even if they have little interest in what it houses. Inside, visitors will find eight galleries, the majority of them devoted to displaying Panama’s biodiversity and explaining the country’s geological and biological origins. Outside, “El Bioparque” functions as an extension of the exhibits, and features native flora.
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