Take a campus vacation

Burned out? Travel through time to tropics or on safari – right here on campus!

Student+Alissa+Carreno+admires+plants+on+the+7th+floor+of+Ableson+Hall+on+Tuesday+in+Pullman.

NATHAN CRUMBY

Student Alissa Carreno admires plants on the 7th floor of Ableson Hall on Tuesday in Pullman.

ISABELLE BUSCH

Are you burned out with school? Do you feel the need to get away and winter break can’t come soon enough?

A vacation is just what you need. Although you might not be able to travel to a different country or spend a week away, there are several destinations perfect for a visit right here on campus.

Travel through time

Webster Hall houses the Jacklin Culver Rock Museum in Room 124. An impressive array of geological specimens, including crystals and geodes, is on display. The petrified wood collection spans multiple states, from Wyoming to Arizona.  

Learn how fossils form and catch a glimpse of an Archaeopteryx fossil. Visit the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Devonian ages as you examine a fossilized triceratops femur, fish and frogs, trilobites and some of the earliest amphibians.

There’s even a fluorescent display. Near the entrance to the museum, a curtain hides a room full of minerals. Turning the UV light on for a short period of time allows the minerals to absorb the light. Then, turn the lights off. The fluorescently active minerals will glow in the dark for a few magical moments.

The lobby outside the museum also houses impressive skulls, one from a sabertooth and one from a dire wolf, along with some stunning rocks. It’s definitely worth a visit, and even more fun with a friend.

Go on safari

If you tire of the Eocene and Miocene periods, saunter along to Abelson Hall and go on safari at the Conner Museum in Rooms 126, 135 and 138.

From water buffalo to bison and leopards to emperor penguins, the Conner Museum houses an astounding variety of animal specimens. There’s a display about different avian foraging strategies and a huge hadrosaur fossil that may remind you of your previous adventure. A small display of furs allows you to feel what it’d be like to pet a weasel or skunk.

The specimens in the Conner Museum are all masterfully preserved. I was worried the gray wolf would take a leap at me! Each specimen is accompanied by information about where it was collected, the animal’s lifestyle, behaviors and role in its ecosystem.

If you’re tired of animals, ride the elevator up to the plants.

Take a trip to the tropics

On the seventh floor of Abelson Hall sits the greenhouse, a tropical oasis. If the wind and rain has  got you down, treat yourself to some time in the tropics.

The greenhouse is home to a wide selection of plant species, from palms to cacti. There’s an entire table full of different orchid species. Their flowers differ greatly in size, shape and color, so it’s wonderful to see so many blooming at once.

If you’re a fan of carnivorous plants, the greenhouse is home to several species, including clusters of venus flytraps and pitcher plants.

Along the right wall are some water plants, who share their tank with a few brightly colored goldfish. It’s just like a tropical resort. There’s even a pineapple plant busy growing a pineapple and a cacao tree with pods containing the beans used to make chocolate!

On the far wall, air plants grow to impressive sizes and succulents show off their luscious leaves. Many of them are producing strikingly beautiful displays of flowers. No matter when you visit the greenhouse, something is always in bloom, floral aromas fill the air and you can wear a tank top. It’s not something to take for granted in the winter in Pullman!

I hope you decide to punch yourself a ticket to one of these locations in the next few weeks. Webster Hall is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can visit Abelson Hall from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Enjoy!