Elephants, Rhinos, and Giraffes: Discovering the Unexpected at BVU!

BVU Homecoming 2014
Our family enjoying the Estelle Siebens Science Center during Homecoming 2014.

Buena Vista University (BVU) in Storm Lake, Iowa, is home to more than just the Beavers. Many students have called this place ‘home’ over the years, and I am one of those lucky ones! The campus holds many fond memories for my husband and I. We met there over 13 years ago, made lasting friendships with amazing people, and graduated with degrees that prepared us for our careers. Sharing our love for BVU with our girls comes easily. Since they were little, we have been making memories and having adventures on the beautiful campus.

While we enjoy all types of activities at BVU, our girls’ very favorite place on campus is the Estelle Siebens Science Center. This stunning, state-of-the-art building houses an impressive collection of North American and African animals. An enormous elephant skeleton greets you as you walk into the glass-walled rotunda (AKA ‘The Beaker’). The skeleton of a rhino is just around the corner. Although we have seen these animals countless times, they never cease to amaze us.

Elephant at BVU
The girls and my nephew with the elephant skeleton. Our friends and family enjoy making trips to the science building when they come to visit.

The girls know their way around the building by now, so after seeing the elephant and rhino they lead us down the hall to the elevator (or ‘alligator’ as use to call it). There is a beautiful staircase that leads upstairs as well, but the elevator is way more fun for a 5 year old! The second floor is full of things to discover. Every time I am in the building I see something I haven’t noticed on a previous trip!

I can’t even begin to list all of the animals we see, but some of our favorites include the crocodile, giraffes, bears, leopard, and lion. There are numerous birds and animals you’d only find on a safari flanking the hallway. Then, there is the elephant head mounted on the wall above all those who pass by. It is just amazing to be so close to these animals. They are not what you expect to find in Northwest Iowa!

Little Lion
This little one enjoys the animals so much! Here she is pretending to be the lion!

While in the building, we read posters about research projects BVU students have completed. We look at the photos of past science graduates (the girls know right where to find the photo of their uncle Kale). We also make sure to stop in the second floor study lounge to visit the fish aquariums. And if the girls are lucky, their favorite BVU professor will be in his office and will allow the them to have a piece of candy. (Yes, we have been in the building enough to make friends!)

We love BVU’s science building and all the treasures it holds, and even though neither my husband nor I were science majors, we have an appreciation for what goes on within its walls. We try to visit when classes are not in session (weekends or late afternoons); however, we have found that the students and professors enjoy sharing their ‘home’ with the public.

The Fish Aquariums
The fish are fascinating to watch. The kiddos like to find ‘Nemo’ in the aquarium.

Whether you have children or not, the Estelle Siebens Science Center is definitely worth checking out! There is something for everyone to appreciate. If its been awhile since you’ve been to campus, be sure to take advantage of tours scheduled during BVU’s Homecoming celebration October 9-11, 2015. The schedule of events can be found here. The entire campus is full of beautiful buildings and interesting things to discover! We are so proud to have BVU a part of our past, present, and future and hope you love it just as much as we do!

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