GIBRALTAR’S new Natural History Museum at Parson’s Lodge that opens its doors to the public Tuesday will host bird watching days, lectures and wildlife activities.
The museum – perched on a hill between Rosia Bay and Camp Bay at the historic Parson’s Lodge fortification – will head the rewilding process and help free the main city museum for new exhibits.
It features open air interpretation panels and enclosed areas informing visitors about the flora and fauna that have inhabited the Rock over the ages as well as descriptions of the surrounding area.
The rewilding process has already seen tortoises, rabbits, frogs and most recently eagles released into the Upper Rock.
Authorities plan to develop the museum in different phases over the years, in a similar style to the main museum at Bomb House Lane.
For now, it houses all aspects of natural history, apart from the Neanderthal prehistory.
Its opening will allow the main city museum to focus on culture and history through the ages.
The natural history museum will give an overview of the area’s value for migrating birds above, and below it, its rich marine biology.
A museum staff member will be on hand to provide further details to local and international guests.
Plans are in the pipeline to possibly turn it into an interactive museum using its special access to Gibraltar National Park.
The opening of the museum features the first phase of exhibits, providing free entry to Gibraltar residents during the week from 10am to 6pm, and Saturdays between 10am and 2pm.
Caretaker Minister for Heritage John Cortes said he wanted to develop ‘the joint heritage-environment potential of Gibraltar’ with the opening of the museum.
He said the growth of the nature reserve, the new walking trails, the network of bird watching sites and the National Park had allowed this plan to forge ahead.
“To now have a site dedicated as a museum of natural history would have been unimaginable only a few years ago,” Cortes said.
“I am delighted and I wish to express my gratitude to the managers and staff of the Gibraltar National Museum for working with me so positively to achieve this goal.”
He now hopes tour operators will bring holiday-makers to the site as what he called ‘the perfect introduction to the Upper Rock’.