A short-faced bear skeleton at California's Fossil Discovery Museum stands 11 feet tall.
Half a million years ago, some big mammals roamed the West. But until you confront an 11-foot short-faced bear skeleton, you don’t grasp just how big they were. Find one at the Fossil Discovery Center in Chowchilla, Calif., along with saber-toothed cats, mammoths, and other giants that called the region home. (559) 665-7107, maderamammoths.org.
Some 2,000 years before the first stargazing apps, Greeks tracked the moon and stars with the Antikythera mechanism, a protocomputer with 30 meshing bronze gears. See a replica, based on a device recovered from a shipwreck, at the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, Mont. (406) 582-1288, compustory.com.
Photgraphy by Roger Wyan
This article was first published in July 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.