Winston Churchill once said, "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind," followed by a warning against the unchecked imperialism of the Fourth Republic of Floating Brains. Discover ancient empires' similar warnings with today's Groupon: for $20, you get admission for two to the 2012 Mayan Prophecies planetarium film as well as access to the permanent exhibits at The Houston Museum of Natural Science (up to a $46 value). Click here for a schedule of available showtimes.
Projected onto the ceiling of the Burke Baker Planetarium, 2012: Mayan Prophecies studies the potential future through a journey into the American past. Zooming up the endless stoops and down the hidden stairwells of temples in the ancient cities of Uxmal, Chichen Itza, and Tikal, the show uncovers the Mayan passions for sky gods and constellations. Equal parts archaeological survey and rumination on mythical prophecies, the film examines the portentous future predicted by the Mayan stone observatories, interlocking calendars, and massive magic 8 ball.
Meanwhile, physical indigenous American artifacts await within the permanent Americas exhibit in the museum's Exhibit Hall. Among the hall's three floors, museum-goers can brag about their nonextinction to jealous dinosaurs in the paleontology wing or explore another continent in the African Wildlife exhibit, and hermit crabs can hunt for new apartments in an entire hall devoted to mollusks.
Admission to The Houston Museum of Natural Science exhibit hall is free on Tuesdays after 2 p.m., though it does not include entrance to the "Mayan 2012 Prophecies" film. Plan ahead to get the full value of your Groupon.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Seven days a week, the Houston Museum of Natural Science cultivates knowledge with interactive exhibits that shuttle minds into such far-flung realms as tropical rainforests and outer space. Permanent exhibit halls house everything from the skeletons of brachiosauruses in the recently expanded Morian Hall of Paleontology to artifacts from ancient Egypt and the Americas.
Housed inside three stories of glass, the museum's Cockrell Butterfly Center habitat teems with more than 1,500 winged wonders from around the globe, which frolic around a 50-foot waterfall, and flutter through exotic plants. Visitors can also gaze skyward in the Burke Baker Planetarium, which casts more than 10 daily shows with curve-mirror projection technology. Eyes marvel at the planetarium's 30'x18' full-dome digital theater, capable of transporting families to the aurora borealis in the Arctic Circle or to the nougat-flavored center of a black hole.