Dinosaur Week: Day 4 – Knutty Explorers: A Day out to the Natural History Museum
“Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching”.
A wonderfully educational, fun, interactive and FREE place to visit with all the family.
I love the Natural History Museum.
The kids and my husband love it there too, so it is pretty much one of the perfect days out for us as a family.
I could spend all day just looking at the architecture of the place, let alone the exhibits. The mind boggles at how they built such a majestic building so many years ago. Cathedral like, imposing, majestic. Every corner you turn there is another ornate carving, another curiosity to catch the eye. I wonder as I touch one of the terracotta carvings, how many other people before me have studied it, have noticed it’s quiet beauty, hidden away?
The Natural History Museum has Dinosaurs galore, fabulous exhibits about how our planet came to be as well as how it works, creatures past and present that grace our land, seas and skies, and so much more. There really is something new to learn around every corner, even for mummy and daddy!
We are lucky in the respect that we live a 10 minute walk from our local train station. We walked to our local station with the kids, who were super excited to be going on a train (and me truth be told, I am still very much a tourist when it comes to London which can drive my London savvy husband a bit bonkers when I want to stop and take a photo every few hundred yards). We went to the ticket booth rather than using one of the machines and my husband asked for the cheapest way for us to get to Travelcards for the day because we would need to use the underground. It’s always good to test the ticket office and see what they can do/what deals they have on, you might just get it a bit cheaper! She told us it was best to get 2 adult travel cards and then 2 child return tickets from where we live to Waterloo, because children travel free under the age of 11 on the underground.
Once at London Waterloo, we then had to get the underground from there to South Kensington which is the closest station to the museum (the Science Museum is also just next door and the Victoria and Albert museum is also around there too so you really can have a full day out just in that small patch of London).
The journey was fine (it was a Sunday morning to be fair) and we got a seat on the train and the underground just fine – not like a weekday morning commute thankfully!
Once we emerged from the underground station, we could then see the museum sprawling out in front of us in all it’s glory.
We queued for about 15 minutes at the front of the museum in order to get in, this was at about 10:30 am. Sadly, due to the world we now live in and possible terror threats, all bags have to be checked before you enter the museum so make sure you have your bag open and ready as you get close to the entrance which does delay your entry somewhat but, needs must. Just be prepared for a bit of a queue and take some drink and snacks from home to have whilst you wait.
Entry to the Museum is free, but we did buy a special kids activity book for them to do on the way round for £5 because the proceeds go to help keep the museum free and to also pay the people that work there. The activity book was really informative, had a map in the back which the boys used to plan our route around the museum and it had lots of questions to answer to get their brain boxes working (and mine to be fair!). There are various donation boxes about the place for you to pop a few pounds in if you wish.
The whole place is wheelchair and pushchair friendly so if you have little ones, lifts are available but at busy periods, you will have to queue.
What did we do there?
First up, no prizes for guessing, was the Dinosaur exhibit.
We came to the museum last year but it has changed since then and the overhead walkway they used to have is no longer open. I’m not sure why that is, but we couldn’t go up there.
The first thing the exhibit takes you to now is the robotic T-Rex. This has also changed slightly from previous visits in that it didn’t seem quite as dark and noisy as it was. That said, there were still some petrified children clinging for dear life to their parents legs in there so it’s possibly a good thing that they’ve toned it down from that respect. The boys love this part of the museum and watched it for a good 5 minutes before moving on and making space for someone else to stand and watch.
You can see robotic exhibits, fossils, evidence of a real life Dinosaur hunt by studying fossilised dinosaur footprints as well as much more. You could spend a good couple of hours in this one section but, because it’s the main feature of the place, it will be busy. We had to wait for a while in order to see/read some of the exhibits but the boys were thankfully feeling patient and dutifully waited their turn. There is a lot to see and take in whilst you’re waiting and we did some of our activity book then too.
After the excitement of the dinosaurs, we went to look at the Earth Zone.
To get to the earth zone, you can go on an escalator which literally takes you through the centre of the earth. This was one of the highlights along with the dinosaurs for the boys.
Once up there you can learn all about the power of the earth, how it was formed, the rocks, elements and minerals that we can find on our planet and many other mind boggling things. This is one of my favourite bits of the museum. I find it all fascinating and the boys loved pushing the buttons on different exhibits whilst learning a bit about the place we call home.
As the museum was now getting quite busy, it was just after midday, we decided not to go in the animals section but instead we went up to see the original cabinets on the top floor which are home to an enormous rock collection. It may sound a bit boring but this is one of my favourite parts of the museum. It’s normally quite quiet up there for starters and I love rocks. There, I said it. I have a massive collection of the things in a huge vase at home which I’ve collected from various holidays. The sheer range of different rocks we can find on our planet is astounding and you’ll be able to see many percious stones up there, as well as more ‘normal’ common ones. There is also an enormous meteorite up there which is magical to see and touch. To think this lump of iron flew from outer space, onto our planet is completely brilliant. It makes you stop and think for sure…
We didn’t eat or drink at the museum but there are many places to choose from if you wish to do so.
Instead, we chose to finish our visit to that end of London with a walk through Hyde Park, out onto Oxford Street and then onto Soho/Covent Garden for a look around. We also looked for some of the BFG Dream Jars (these are on until 31st August 2016) but only managed to find one…
We stopped off at Byron Burger (16-18 Beak St, London W1F 9RD) for some lunch with the kids and we would thoroughly recommend it. Great food, activity sheets for the kids, milkshakes as big as your head and hard shakes for the grown ups if you fancy one! We can give the Honeycomb/Chocolate hard shake with Rum a thumbs up!
We loved our day out in London.
Tired feet, aching legs and a head full of new memories as a souvenir.
They have a wonderful range of wall stickers suitable for girls, boys and for around the home so do give them a visit online!