Natural History Museum
After my Saturday at Blogfest, we spent out Sunday in London at one of my favourite places – The Natural History Museum.
If you have ever been, the one thing that will stand out in your mind is Dippy, the Diplodocus who greets you as you first walk into the museum. Freyja was not disappointed.
After meeting Dippy, we went to find some of the other dinosaurs. As much as the girls both love dinosaurs, at their age it was a fairly quick trip through the exhibit. I love the animatronic ones which look like the Velociraptors from Jurassic Park (which I used to be quite scared of until I found out that actual Velociraptors were about the size of chickens).
These were also a good warm up for the big roaring T-rex. For the previous week, Freyja had been adamant that she only wanted to see “bone dinosaurs” and “NOT roaring dinosaurs” but she had come round to the idea about by this weekend was keen to see the moving, roaring Tyrannosaurus.
Emily, who normally loves roaring at dinosaurs, was less sure about this. But I think it was the fact that it moved and roared back at her, as she was much more interested in this one….
After the dinosaurs, I took Freyja up to the second floor to see the section through the Giant Sequoia. On the way to this we found a couple of really cool exhibits. Guy the gorilla was particularly interesting. He was a western lowland gorilla who ended up at London Zoo, and suffered heart failure during a dental operation in 1978 and died. He must have been a pretty impressive specimen when he was alive. Freyja had seen live gorillas at London Zoo the previous day and was understandably a bit unsure about Guy!
I was excited to see the Archaeopteryx fossil. This is the first Archaeopteryx fossil found, in 1861, and is about 147 million years old. The most amazing thing about Archaeopteryx is that it had feathers like a bird, but teeth, claws and a bony tail like a dinosaur. It helped prove that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs and supported Darwin’s theory of evolution which he published a few years previous to the discovery of this fossil.
We then arrived at the section through the trunk of a giant sequoia. I have always been fascinated by this whenever I have visited the museum. The tree was over 1,300 years old when it was felled. It must have been absolutely enormous. Maybe it was because 1,300 years is just too long for a 3 year old to comprehend, or just because to Freyja this was just a circular piece of wood, but she declared that it was “boring”.
Despite failing to impress Freyja, the climb up to the giant sequoia wasn’t wasted, as from here you get an amazing view of the Hintze Hall and Dippy from up here.
On this level is also the mineral specimens. If you are interested in geology, or pretty, sparkly gems then this is definitely one to visit. However, if you have a three year old with you who has just said that a huge tree is “boring”, then this is something to skip. We instead headed for the Human Body exhibition. Here there are lots of interactive displays which both the girls enjoyed investigating.
Emily listening to some sounds and music from the 1980s in an exhibit about memory.
The girls were getting tired at this point, so we headed off to see the impressive big mammal displays. You can’t fail to be impressed by the huge blue whale skeleton and model here!
I think what makes it more impressive is seeing it alongside some other pretty massive mammals, such as elephants.
We then ate at the restaurant. I was really impressed with how the restaurant is organised. Staff allocate you a table when you buy your food, so there is no worry about trying to find a table, with a tray of food and two hungry kids. There was a good choice of food, and considering this is an extremely popular London attraction, the price you pay for the size and quality of the food wasn’t ridiculous. The girls also got a balloon each which was lovely until they decided a fun game would be hitting everyone on the head with them.
After lunch, Emily fell asleep in the backpack, so that was a sign that our visit was over. It was an amazing few hours and the great thing about the Natural History Museum is that it is free, so these amazing sights are on offer to anyone. There is so much more that we could have seen, and this will definitely be somewhere we will come back to again on our next trip to London.