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Saturday, June 15, 2024

ESU’s Natural History Museum and Planetarium Offers Sights of Worlds Near and Far

A wood duck, collected in 1962, is the oldest specimen at the Schisler Wildlife Museum. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 04/2024

Walking into the Schisler Museum of Wildlife & Natural History at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania offers surprising insights into our natural world through carefully maintained and curated wildlife collections. By geographic region and climate, one gets to glimpse varied habitats and view animal species up close.

The Schisler Museum and McMunn Planetarium are located on the ground floor of the Warren E and Sandra Hoeffner Science and Technology Center at 108 Normal Street, East Stroudsburg. This impressive building also houses an observatory. The observatory occasionally offers viewing events for the public. 

The original collection of 113 specimens was donated in 2009 by ESU alumni Art and Fannie Schisler. The museum was completed in 2013 and opened to the public in 2016.

The McMunn Planetarium features digitally projected star shows that launch star gazers throughout the universe. The planetarium was donated in 2008 by ESU Alumni Charles A. “Tony” McMunn ’69 and Patricia Lithgoe ’68 McMunn.

A most dynamic classroom, the Planetarium offers state of the art celestial videos to students and the public. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 04/2024

Avid conservationists, the Schislers had traveled the world together since 1962 and their collection steadily grew, leading to their generous donation of wildlife specimens to ESU for the new wildlife and natural history museum.

The Schislers. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 04/2024

With migratory bird specimens appearing to fly overhead and on walls throughout the facility and the many plaques and poster boards explaining different flora and fauna, one can momentarily lose themself in specific regions of the planet. For example, The Cold Forest and Canyon Country habitats display what can likely be found in the northern and western U.S. and The African Bush section offers carefully curated prey and predators from that ecosystem.

The African Bush habitat. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 04/2024

Movies make us think that all brown grizzly bears are the same huge animals, yet ESU’s wildlife museum shows how the Kodiak Grizzlies, who subsist on salmon and fish, grow much bigger than their smaller brown bruin cousins who eat a diet consisting of game and herbaceous food they find in the inland ecosystems, said Cathy Klingler, curator and administrator of the museum and planetarium.

A giant Kodiak brown bear commands a place of his own, while a smaller brown bear can be seen in the North American section. Both were adult bears but the difference in size is attributed to the available wild food comprising their diet. Photo by D.L. Dunn. 04/2024
Not a youngster, this brown bear is smaller than its bruin cousin because of what it eats. Photo by D.L Dunn, 04/2024
The Cold Forest ecosystem. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 04/2024
Species from out West. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 04/2024
This deer display shows species differentiation in size and color, from smaller and lighter on the right to hybridization with elk on the left. “It’s important to compare and contrast,” said Klingler. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 04/2024

As this museum was given to ESU, there are many opportunities to learn about other natural realms and foster education about the disciplines with a large fish tank for Marine Biology and an updated display board for Entomology, completed about 1.5 years ago. The insect display, in particular, had to change with the times and show bugs that were once only found in Asia, now living in and decimating Northeast America, like the emerald ash borer.

The entomology display and collections. Photo by D.L. Dunn

Welcome! Two Adventures, One Price!

HOURS OF OPERATION

General Admission

  • Admission is cashless. Only MasterCard, Visa, and tap-to-pay are accepted.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. No reservations required.
  • Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
  • Closed April 28-May 6 for Finals and Graduation.
  • Summer hours begin June 1: Wednesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Group Visits

  • Group payments are cashless. Only MasterCard, Visa, or checks are accepted.
  • Open to groups year-round Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
  • Advance reservations are required for guided tours.

The Schisler Museum and McMunn Planetarium offer the only science center in the Pocono Mountains where you can enjoy nature and astronomy all under one roof!

Both the museum and planetarium are included in one admission price.

Check out the Film Schedule to plan your voyage!

Group Visits

Open to groups Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Customized tours are available for all ages.

Schools, day care centers, and homeschoolers as well as special interest clubs, scout troops, and senior groups are all invited to enhance their activities with a specialized program.

Inquiries from tour operators offering educational experiences in the Pocono Mountains region are also welcome.

Directions & Parking

The Schisler Museum and McMunn Planetarium are located in the Hoeffner Science & Technology Center at East Stroudsburg University.

The address is 108 Normal St., East Stroudsburg, PA 18301.

Parking is in Lots FS19/20 and V29 on the campus map. Free parking permits are provided at the admission desk.

  • Saturday parking does not require a permit.
  • Weekday parking requires a permit, provided at the admission desk.
  • Metered parking is available on Normal Street. Permits do not apply at meters.
  • Bus/van parking is available on Ransberry Avenue for registered groups.

Desiree Dunn
Desi L. Dunn, Writer
Managing Editor at Desiree L. Dunn, LLC

Born & educated in NY with an Environmental Science degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Desi's family resides in Hardwick with a young teen and several spoiled pets. Considering northwest Jersey to be a true gem, her commitment to the people and environs is exemplified by the many different jobs she's had - municipal & county official, election clerk, open space plan writer, newspaper & radio journalist, grant writer, events coordinator and farm market manager as well as retail, waitressing, archaeological digger and once for a short while in a very huge warehouse.

Her favorite was as a reporter for many years with the Recorder newspapers, Blairstown Press, Paulinskill Chronicle, Gannett publications plus WNTI Public Radio producing public affairs and human interest stories on-air.

She often has her camera ready to capture interesting people and events. She's thrilled to now serve as RVE's Managing Editor, helping fellow writers hone their skills and show you the issues as well as treasures that exist in North Warren, through their eyes.