The arcane, almost ominous Dalat Biological Research Institute – or as some like to call it, the Taxidermy Museum – is terrible in the best way possible.
Possessing a setting more closely related to a horror movie set than an educational environment, the shoddily taxidermied animals, the unmarked, poorly labeled fungi, the dilapidated condition of the building come together to create an eerie, fun atmosphere.
If you’re curious about Dalat’s game before hunters killed everything off, this your chance to look at some of wildlife that at one time roamed – and sometimes savagely attacked – Dalat’s early settlers.
Despite the overbearing immensity of the former church, only one floor is open for exhibition. Other floors are meekly blocked off with a small barrier that is easy to step around. Non-museum floors simply contain remnants of labs and closed exhibits. Like we said – this belongs more in a horror movie.
To add to the eeriness, the place is a bit difficult to find on the first try as it’s off the beaten path.
Admission is VND 15,000. This is VND 5,000 more than the much more robust Lam Dong Museum. But we suggest you lay down the VND – the place is mainly funded by admission sales, with little to no backing from the local government. This explains the horrid condition of the museum. Don’t let this stop you though. The place is a good half-hour to an hour romp.
You’ll find badly stuffed animals in hilariously awkward positions, biological specimen with little to no information save the scientific name, occasional English text on posters or labels, teenage Dalat couples on a quiet date, skeletons, dust and grim, and more.
The Biological Research Institute is quite charming, in an odd way. It’s atmospheric and this is enough to warrant the small price of admission.
There is a gift shop right outside the museum with coffee beans, tea, knick knacks, wild honey, trinkets and more. It’s definitely worth a pit stop after exploring this Dalat museum.