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Chico State

Gateway Science Museum Presents a Pair of New Exhibits

A sign for a museum exhibit that says, "Bombus! A Natural History of Bumble Bees"
Matt Bates / University Photographer

From vital pollinators to nature’s most hilarious moments, Chico State’s Gateway Science Museum features a pair of new exhibits to satisfy the curious and the light-hearted.

Bombus! The Natural History of Bumble Bees” brings to life the beauty, ecological importance and joy of these charismatic bees. With our state being home to more than 1,600 species of bees, 25 bumble bee species are also native to California. Featuring incredibly detailed photos by John Whittlesey, you’ll see bumble bees as never before.

“We are honored to have the work of two Chico legends, John Whittlesey and Jennifer Jewell, here at Gateway,” said Gateway Science Museum Director Adrienne McGraw. “Visitors will learn how important bumble bees are to our environment and how we can all help save bees.”

Exploring the significance of knowing and protecting bumble bees and their habitats, “Bombus” includes documentary audio/video modules, historical and current bumble bee data and hands-on, interactive learning activities for all ages. “Bombus” runs through summer 2024.

The Gateway’s second new exhibit for fall 2023 is sure to brighten visitors’ days. “The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards” captures nature at its most candid and hilarious. Making their Chico debuts, dozens of animal friends are caught being clumsy, expressive and surprised. From an ill-tempered turtle to a sleepy gorilla, these photos bring a smile to everyone’s face.

College students look over humorous candid photos animals.
Sixty of the best of the funniest of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are currently on display at the Gateway Science Museum.

“One goal of the international Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards is to show animals as unique beings with their own personalities,” McGraw said. “The images truly capture them in moments of surprise, ferocity or just clumsiness. I hope people find joy in the photos and think about wildlife in new ways.”

“The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards” exhibit runs through January 13, 2024.

Also continuing at Gateway is its Fossils Lab, where expert paleontologists and fossil scientists-in-training from Chico State’s Department of Geological Science prepare fossils from the field. Visitors can have a first-hand look at the museum’s Scientists in Residence at work on Fridays from noon to 3 p.m.

Additionally, the Gateway Gardens provide a glimpse of the diverse and distinct eco-regions of Northern California, and visitors entering the museum will pass by a pair of beautiful murals created by Chico State art students in 2019 and 2021.

The Gateway Science Museum is open to the public Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 625 Esplanade. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children and students, and free for Chico State students and museum members. For more information, call 530-898-5130 or visit

To consider giving to Gateway Science Museum, please visit its giving pageAnnual memberships are also available.

Those who require accommodation at the Gateway Science Museum or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.