South America’s first ice museum: Glaciarium opens in El Calafate

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Following in the footsteps of similar ice-themed museums in Norway and Turkey, Argentina now has its own glacier museum, Glaciarium. Located in El Calafate in the province of Santa Cruz, the museum was built to educate visitors about the Patagonian Ice Field and ways to protect it.
 
The museum opened its doors in January following a three-year construction process. The $US 4 million dollar project was financed by private Argentine investors, and sits on a 60,000m2 piece of land overlooking Lago Argentino, three kilometers from downtown El Calafate.
 
“It is a truly unique property that we hope will become a must-do destination for any visitors to El Calafate,” said museum president Ignacio Jasminoy. 
 
The city of El Calafate has seen a tourism boom in recent years, thanks to the devalued Argentine peso and its proximity to the Los Glaciares National Park. 350,000 tourists visit the area each year. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner owns properties in the area and often spends holidays there.
 
 
The Glaciarium’s main hall has three pavilions. Two of them host a climate change and glaciology exhibit, while the third has a 120-person capacity cinema. Museum directors have forged a relationship with Canada’s BANFF Mountain Film Festival and will screen some of the festival’s top adventure films there. In addition, the cinema will host art exhibitions and cultural events. A 3D movie by director Peter Lang will air continuously at the museum, showing well-known Patagonian icons like Perito Moreno, Upsala, Mt. FitzRoy and Cerro Torre.
 
“The museum has a modern design and state-of-the-art technology, combined with dynamic exhibitions, photographs, dioramas, and films which make it a truly interactive and entertaining experience for visitors,” said museum director Luciano Bernacchi. 
 
The museum also has an Ice Bar, where guests can enjoy frosty cocktails in a frigid room made entirely of local Patagonian ice.
 
In the future, Glaciarium directors say they will expand to include a Paleontological Hall that examines dinosaurs and other life forms that previously inhabited Patagonia complete with fossil replicas and other displays.
 
The museum entrance fee is $70 pesos AR ($18 USD). More info at http://www.glaciarium.com/ 
 

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