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Panama City’s Amador Causeway & Biomuseo
The Amador Causeway
This 2 Km long causeway connects 4 small islands to the mainland. It was built from the dredgings of the canal dig. At one time its sole function was as a highly fortified military defense complex, guarding the Pacific entrance to the canal. But today, it attracts tourists and locals alike. It’s popular with joggers, bicyclists, and anyone desiring a breeze and stunning view of the city. The sidewalks are wide and you can rent the multi-person peddle carriages for fun group exercise.
To get there, take the city bus from the main Albrook station. It’ll take you all the way out to the end to Flamenco Island. Or you can disembark at one of the many stops along the way. On Flamenco there’s a little shopping mall plus places to eat. I recommend the Leños & Carbón (a popular restaurant chain). If you’re not hungry, just get your favorite beverage, relax and enjoy the fabulous view in the shade.
Above is view of Panama City skyline from outside the Biomuseo.
Biodiversity Museum (Biomuseo)
I definitely recommend visiting this unusual looking museum. You are really visiting two attractions in one.
First is the building itself. It was designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. If you’ve ever seen one of his buildings you will always remember it. You’ll find his buildings in New York, Las Vegas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Paris, Toronto just to name a few. They are highly unusual with undulating lines, odd angles, colors and reflective surfaces. They sometimes appear to be misshapen, about to fall over, or slowly melting. But that is actually part of their design and what makes you want to stop and stare. (See best-of-frank-gehry for photos and descriptions.)
Gehry’s unique design alone makes the Biodiversity Museum on the Amador Causeway a must-see attraction.
Inside the museum are modern well-designed exhibits including:
- The geological history of panama and it’s dramatic impact on the world.
- The ancient extinct creatures that used to roam here, including life-size sculptures.
- Modern day flora and fauna of Panama.
- The cultural and social history of Panama from early man to present day.
- A short movie showing Panama’s biodiversity.
There’s also enough hands-on fun things to do to keep the kids occupied.
For some unknown reason I was especially smitten by images of the giant recluse sloth! As a child I think we all saw images of impressive giant elephant-like mastodons that once roamed the earth. But I swear I had never before seen images of giant sloths bigger than elephants, standing on their hind legs eating the foliage from the tops of tall trees!
I was quite thankful that these creatures were recluses. I was even more thankful that they were vegetarians! Although that didn’t stop our ancestors from hunting them, if this hunting scene rendition holds any accuracy.