Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters
Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters Special exhibition at HMNS explains the forces of geology and weather that have shaped our planet and our lives

HOUSTON—Discover the most incredible, violent, stunning events of the natural world in Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters , a special exhibition which opened during the start of Hurricane Season at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. From the eye of the storm to funnel clouds and violent tremors to massive explosions, this exhibition takes visitors inside natural disasters for a perspective like museum guests have never had before—now open through Sept. 14.

Highly interactive and immersive, this exhibition features visceral experiences, compelling media, and multi-disciplinary science that go beyond the sensational headlines to explore Earth’s most impressive natural events.

Nature Unleashed  also features real objects that tell powerful stories—about natural disasters, and about the resilience and creativity of the people who survive and study them.

Walk Through the Exhibition

Over billions of years, our planet has been shaped by dynamic forces that are still operating today. To discover why these events occur,  Nature Unleashed  looks at what happens within the earth’s atmosphere where hurricanes and tornadoes are born and deep inside the planet’s interior, where heat and pressure generate tremendous forces that create earthquakes and volcanoes. Visitors will experience:

  • Hurricanes. The strongest of tropical storms, hurricanes can destroy life and devastate entire communities. However, they can also form new ecosystems and bring life-giving water to areas that are otherwise too arid for human survival. Learn more about the hurricane with no name that destroyed Galveston, Texas and claimed more lives than any other natural disaster in U.S and about the infamous storm that devastated a beloved city and shocked the world. Hear inspiring stories of survival and see how nature recovers from such destruction. Check out the high-tech tools of Hurricane Hunters who fly into the eye of the storm to keep you safe. And, touch-screen interactives and animations explain how a hurricane forms and reveal how human activity can be impacted by the storm. For more on hurricanes, click here.
  • Tornadoes. Empathize with the families of Greensburg, Kansas as photos and remnants of their lives bring you face-to-face with the terrifying power of a tornado and the resilience of a city determined to rebuild “green” from the ground up. Stand in the path of an oncoming tornado and endure the chaos at its center in a theater-in-the-round experience made possible through film taken by a special camera that endured an actual twister.
  • Earthquakes. Discover the inner workings of Earth through poignant images and tales of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the New Madrid, Missouri quakes of 1811-1812. Interactive models and animations allow visitors to experiment with the forces that make the earth move under your feet. Manipulate geologic faults, shake quake-resistant buildings and even listen to the sounds of quakes at different magnitudes.
  • Volcanoes. See what science has discovered about the rising magma that fueled volcanic events at Pompeii, Krakatoa and Yellowstone. Learn how likely new eruptions may be. Then, try your hand at building a virtual volcano.

Force 5

After learning the causes of natural disasters, venture into more action when nature goes  Force 5!  on the Burke Baker Planetarium dome. Visitors feel the tragic fury of the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and experience Hurricane Ike of 2008 from a plane inside the storm. They are then swept up into the massive funnel cloud of a tornado and finally launched into orbit to

watch a solar flare erupting from the sun's surface and hurling a million tons of particles toward Earth.  Discover how these phenomena develop over time and how they can transform themselves into cataclysmic events when the forces of nature converge. 

“Earth is a dynamic system of air, water, and land, where energy flows through natural cycles powered by heat, pressure, and solar radiation,” said Dr. Carolyn Sumners, vice president of astronomy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. “ Nature Unleashed and Force 5! show what happens when this energy is trapped and then violently released. The awe of experiencing these destructive events is combined with an understanding of how our planet works.”

For tickets, or more information on Nature Unleashed and Force 5! , visit or call (713) 639-4629.


The Houston Museum of Natural Science—one of the nation’s most heavily attended museums—is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, and the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre,CockrellButterflyCenter, Burke Baker Planetarium and George Observatory and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at5555 Hermann Park Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.



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