Travel with NHM scientists to exciting destinations around the world.
Interested in adding more to your visit? Consider signing up for additional programming, including:
- Dinosaur Hall
- Butterfly Pavillion and Spider Pavilion
- Dinosaur Encounters, Ice Age Encounters, and Encounters, Jr.
- Fossil Detectives and more!
These require advance reservations, so request a visit now, they fill up fast!
As you travel, you will meet merchants, scholars, soldiers and pilgrims. You will follow a Silk Road trade route the entire distance from east to west — from Xi’an, the capital of China, to Baghdad, the heart of the Islamic world!
Your journey along the Silk Road begins here in massive Xi’an, the largest city in the world! This metropolis is home to nearly a million people, and another million live just outside the imposing walls. Imperial buildings, temples and markets line the streets, and the city buzzes with activity. Foreign merchants, ambassadors, scholars and musicians flock to this urban center, stocking the markets with exotic goods and filling the streets with sights and sounds from distant lands.
After months spent baking under the blazing sun, the caravan has reached Turfan. At last, here is a lush oasis offering refuge from the harsh Taklimakan Desert. Ingenious irrigation systems bring cool water from nearby mountains, offering you and your thirsty camels a refreshing drink. More important, the water allows farmers here to grow an incredible array of fruits and vegetables. What’s not eaten by residents or hungry travelers will be traded along the Silk Road, reaching kitchens thousands of miles away.
As the caravan approaches the fabled city of Samarkand, the city of merchants, the gates swing open. Are you seeking the finest silks? A sable coat, a packet of fragrant musk or a smooth roll of cream-colored paper? Whatever you're looking for, chances are a Sogdian merchant from Samarkand can deliver it. These shrewd traders have built up a fortune buying and selling in distant countries. The Sogdians are ambitious go-betweens, controlling a network of commerce that extends to India, China and Persia — and the heart of their trading empire is here.
Much different than the city seen on the evening news, Baghdad was at the height of its golden age as a hub of learning and commerce. The enthusiasm for science during this period was driven by the ruling family of the time — the Abbasid caliphate — and their thirst for knowledge. A library and translation institute, known as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, was a research center for studies in geometry, engineering, and astronomy and a famous destination for intellectuals around AD 800.