See how Panama came to be and grasp its huge biological importance inside Frank Gehry’s sole structure in Latin America.
Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo looks more like something out of a Dr. Seuss book than one of the most prominent museums in Panama. The brightly colored geometric building opened in October 2014 and is Gehry’s only work in Latin America. (Gehry is the architect behind Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, Prague’s Dancing House and Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, among many other iconic buildings around the world.) Biomuseo is just what it sounds like: a museum detailing Panama’s biodiversity, including how it rose from the sea to connect North and South America, thereby cutting the ocean in two and forever changing Earth’s ecosystem. The permanent exhibition, “Panama: Bridge of Life,” includes eight galleries and focuses on the country’s stunning array of plants, animals, insects and birds; Panama is home to more animal and bird species than the U.S. and Canada combined, thanks to about half of its land being covered by rainforests, mangrove wetlands and mountain cloud forests. Other museum highlights include a large stained-glass wall representing the explosion of life in Panama, as well as Panamarama, a three-story, 10-screen projection space that brings to life the breadth of the country’s ecosystems. While the indoor displays are impressive, save time to explore the surrounding park, home to endemic and native Panamanian plants.
- The Amador Causeway connects the mainland with Naos, Perico and Flamenco islands and provides great views of the city, selfie ops with the #Visit Panama sign, a number of restaurants and lots of park space. Rent a bike or paddleboard for more exploring options.
- Visit the Punta Culebra Nature Center on Isla Naos. The Smithsonian funds this open-air museum, which highlights Panama’s plant and animal life with touching pools, an indoor aquarium, and a turtle and shark pool.
- Go shopping at Centro Artesanal, one of the largest artisan markets in the city, located on the ground floor of the Figali Convention Centre near the start of the Causeway. It’s filled with local arts and crafts, from embroidered textiles and baskets to jewelry and hats.
If You Go
Amador Causeway 136
Panama City, República de Panamá
Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Albrook-Amador bus to Museo Frank Gehry stop
Recommended time to spend:
Two to three hours
Where to stay
Radisson Hotel Panama Canal provides guests with easy access to Panama’s beautiful beaches, amazing architecture and excellent shopping. The Bridge of the Americas, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, is within sight from our pristine hotel location.
The unbeatable downtown location of Radisson Decapolis Hotel Panama City boasts several excellent on-site dining options, a rooftop pool, a business center, a full-service aqua spa, and beauty salon. The downtown location provides easy access to shopping, a casino, and the historic Casco Viejo district.