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Discover the New Lonesome George Exhibit at Charles Darwin Research Station!

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Charles Darwin research station Santa Cruz Galapagos

We are pleased to report that the Charles Darwin Research Station is now completely open with exciting new additions and improvements, including the Lonesome George exhibit, one of the most well-known Galapagos tortoises! The renovations took a year, and visitors were restricted to select station portions.

After he died in 2013, Lonesome George’s remains were brought to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where they were embalmed and displayed until 2016. The decision was made for him to return home to the Galapagos Islands, where a brand-new exhibition space was waiting for him. The Charles Darwin Research Station’s new “Tortoise Trail” walkways, which lead visitors across the various regions of the Station, and George’s “Symbol of Hope” exhibit room opened on February 24.

The Lonesome George Exhibit, the Revamped “Emblem of Hope”

After Lonesome George's death, the tortoise was embalmed and displayed in the Lonesome George Exhibit in the Galapagos Islands. Photo by Anne and David via Flickr
After Lonesome George’s death, the tortoise was embalmed and displayed in the Lonesome George Exhibit in the Galapagos Islands. Photo by Anne and David via Flickr

Explore the Charles Darwin Research Station with Santa Cruz II Cruise!

Within the new exhibit, special precautions were taken to protect Lonesome George’s body. The “Symbol of Hope” chamber was constructed using a metal framework. It was then covered with metal panels and other materials that aid in maintaining the room’s exact conditions to ensure Lonesome George’s preservation.

A unique glass that reflects ultraviolet radiation was installed since George’s remains cannot be exposed to sunlight. The room is equipped with a backup electrical system to maintain the exact temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), a relative humidity of 55%, and a luminance of no more than 50 Lux (five candles). Last but not least, the area includes a lab next to it that is used for routine maintenance of the Galapagos giant tortoise’s remains.

The Work of the Charles Darwin Research Station

Explore the Lonesome George Exhibit at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island.
Explore the Lonesome George Exhibit at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island.

The recently opened exhibition space educates guests about the work undertaken by the Charles Darwin Research Station to ensure that other species never again face extinction. This work is essential to the preservation of the delicate ecosystem of the islands. Among its various duties, the Station maintains current data and watches over the Galapagos Islands. Along with the Galapagos National Park Service, it oversees island visits and the effects of human activity on the environment.

The “Tortoise Trail”

Rest areas and informational sites are now along the redesigned “Tortoise Trail” promenade. These paths pass via little turtle breeding facilities and extend to the newly constructed “Symbol of Hope” room—the visit’s high point. Every day from 8:00 to 18:00, except days designated for maintenance, the chamber is open for visits. After that, they pass through the area housing the giant tortoises of the Galapagos and proceed into the museum of the Station.

At the end of your visit, there’s a gift shop where you can purchase literature about the flora and wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, along with a variety of handicrafts and gifts. Of course, don’t miss the chance to sample the locally sourced coffee in the Station’s café. It won’t be a regret.

We can’t wait to share all this with you when you come to the Galapagos again!

 

Updated:June 6, 2024

Published:March 3, 2017

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