The Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Located in South Kensington, The National History Museum, is just one of the 3 museums along Exhibition road. Built and opened in 1881, it is well known for its dinosaur exhibition.  There are life and earth science specimens within its  5 main collections – Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Paleontology and Zoology.

There are many different interactive exhibits in The National History Museum.  The Dinosaurs gallery is the most popular amongst children and adults alike.  The Mammals Gallery contains a life-sized model of a blue whale.  The Creepy Crawlies exhibition is also really popular with kids.  There is also the Cocoon were you can look into the labs and see scientists at work. The best part about the museum is that it is free, apart from a few special exhibits.

There is a state of the art Darwin Centre, where all the displays are interactive.  There are also specimens collected by Darwin when he made his Beagle voyage on display.  In the Darwin Centre Tank room is the giant squid which is the second largest living invertebrate in the world.  Called  Architeuthis dux, but nicknamed ‘Archie’, it is 8.62 metres long, it has eyes the size of footballs and was caught in 2004 (poor squid).

There is lots of fun for kid at the Museum, including  “Investigate,” a science lab for 7 to 14 year olds. There is also the Earth Lab where children can handle some of the geological specimens in the museum. Under 7s can take part in the activities with Explorer backpacks, where they borrow an Explorer Backpack (free of charge) and with their activity booklet, they explore the Museum for a couple of hours.

There are also a lot of exhibitions for the adults which is part of the Museum after hours. Some of them include the Crime Scene Live where you can step into the shoes of a real crime scene investigator. There is also the After Hours Dino Snores where you have a 3 course dinner in the Museum’s restaurant and get to sleep in the Central Hall under the Diplodocus skeleton.

The National History Museum also puts on outdoor activities.  From November 2nd until the beginning of January, there is an ice rink outside the museum.  With the backdrop of the museum, this is one of the best places to iceskate in London.  Do all your Christmas shopping in Westfield or Oxford Street then head over the Museum for some ice skating before retreating back to your London apartment.

It is best to visit the Museum outside of school holidays as it can be up to an hour wait to get in. It is open daily from 10:00 to 17:50 and only closed from the 24th to 26th of December inclusive.  The nearest tube is South Kensington on the District Line and Piccadilly Line.  There are many bus routes including 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414 and C1 that stop near the Museum. The 360 stops in Exhibition Road.

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunali2000/5547310266/

 

 

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