A $15 million museum has opened in Cancun, just in time for the end of the world.

If some interpretations of the Mayan calendar are correct, the world will come to a screeching halt Dec. 21. So consider the debut of Cancun's Maya Museum not only a tribute to the ancient civilization that once occupied this part of Mexico and beyond, but a vote of confidence that the sun will rise on Dec. 22. Local tourism officials characterize the timing of the museum's opening as "an incredibly exciting season that marks the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new era".

Six years in the making, the museum features 350 artifacts, some of which have never been publicly displayed. Exhibits include 14,000-year-old skeletal remains discovered in underwater caves at Tulum. The museum complex covers a 55,000-square-foot expanse in the resort's Hotel Zone next to the archaeological site of San Miguelito.

About 12 million visitors annually flock to Mexico's No. 1 vacation spot. Officials predict the museum will attract 1 million visitors yearly. Admission for adults is about $5; those ages 12 and under as well as older than 60 get in free.