The museum, set to officially open in spring 2010, brought in more than 100 visitors during early afternoon — a turnout everyone was ecstatic about, said Dr. Rachel Teasdale, acting executive director. More were expected later in the day.
"It's huge, this is like Christmas day or better," she said.
Among the highlights of the day were guided tours of the grounds, animal demonstrations in the amphitheater, and an opportunity to watch real-life geologists in action.
Todd Greene, a professor in the geology department at Chico State University, was on site conducting research while student volunteers from the college helped him out.
Greene and his assistants chipped away at core samples given by MACTEC, he said. They broke the samples down to see where the upper Tuscan formation is located.
He said the open day at the museum was a great opportunity to conduct his research and allow others to see how the processes are done.
"It is grunt work," he said. "But it is important grunt work."
Kimberlee Cantwell, who went on the tour with her husband, Gary, and daughter, Hannah, said she loved being able to see everything up close and personal.
"We're just science buffs," she said. "So it's great to actually see it in person."
Cantwell also noted that the animal exhibits,
Attendees were asked to make a $3 contribution for adults, and $1 for children.
The museum will continue to open its doors to the public on select days before its grand opening, Teasdale said. Two opening days are scheduled for November and December.
Class field trips will also be allowed every Friday until winter break.
Staff Writer Evan Burt can be reached at email@example.com.