I’ve got to be honest with you; I haven’t got the most vivid memories of my childhood. Before the age of 8 I only seem to have random flashes of recollection from my early years, and fleeting memories of places I visited or trips I went on.
But I can remember the day I visited the Natural History Museum in London for the very first time. I can still remember the wonder I felt, and the excitement that filled me as wandered past ancient relics that boggled my 5-year-old mind!
I can also vividly remember choking on a bread roll on the museum steps. And getting travel-sick riding the London underground for the first time. As I’m sure does my poor mum. But mostly I remember the true awe I felt exploring this incredible museum for the first time! And this awe has never left me.
And revisiting the NHM more than 15 years later I was no less wonder-struck. An awful lot has changed as I’ve grown up, and there are many parts I don’t remember. Maybe because I was a dinosaur-obsessed kid busy gawking at T-rex skeletons the first time round. But probably because this world-renowned museum is constantly expanding.
As you’ve probably noticed I am somewhat biased towards the Natural History Museum! I have a childhood affection for it, which I know not everyone reading this will harbour.
So this is why I’m writing this post; I want to convince you! To all those people who are undecided about whether to visit this fantastic museum, it’s my goal to persuade you!
So with no further ado, here are 15 reasons why you should visit the natural history museum:
- The museum’s zoology collection boasts a mind-boggling 29 million specimens! Yes, you read that right. From exotic birds of paradise to polar bears, there’s an endless array of stuffed creatures to wrap your head around.
- Speaking of mammals, the life-sized blue whale model and skeleton can’t be missed, both figuratively and literally. Especially since in 2017 it will replace Dippy the diplodocus as the star feature of the grand Hintze entrance hall, as he embarks on his 2018 UK tour. God speed, Dippy.
- You can track 7 million years of human existence in the Gallery of Human Evolution. Here you can come face to face with the oldest human fossil in existence, and pursue artifacts belonging to the most ancient human civilisations! Including a human skull that was once used as a drinking cup. Yikes.
- Highlights of the museums mineral collection include rocks that glow in the dark, one of the largest emeralds on record and 1,400 meteorite. As well as a supposedly cursed amethyst. Maybe steer clear of that last one.
- Kids and adults alike will love the museum’s own wildlife garden, complete with over 2,600 native plant species and even a herd of grazing sheep! The gardens also attract an abundance on birds and insects in the warmer months, making it a superb place to come face to face with nature.
- Drop in to the high-tech Attenborough Studio for live shows and talks by a variety of scientists. The scheduled talks and shows are constantly changing, and cover a wide range of subjects from wildlife photography to parasites!
- Investigate the Human Biology Gallery to chart life from conception to childhood, and discover how hormones change and impact on our bodies as we grow. Those with a strong stomach can also check out a real human brain and spinal-cord, which definitely isn’t for the squeamish!
- And if you enjoy being grossed out you should definitely book a spot on the Spirit Building Tour! And no, this has nothing to do with the otherworldly; the ‘spirit’ part refers to the liquids used to preserve the 22 million specimens crammed in to this collection. Curiosities to look out for include a giant squid, assorted reptiles and more.
- Oh, and have I mentioned the dinosaurs yet? I can’t miss out the best part of the museum! The dinosaur collection at the NHM is world-famous, and for very good reason. Here you can feast your eyes upon the first T-rex fossil ever discovered, and the remains of the biggest meat-eater who ever existed. Not to mention eggs, footprints and even impressions of dinosaur skin!
- Even adults will find it pretty cool riding the jaw-dropping earth-escalator! At least I hope so. Please don’t say I’m sad for being excited to ride a magical-planetary escalator at 22-years-old.
- You can experience what it’s like to be caught up in an earthquake inside the Red Zone’s earthquake simulator. Or alternatively unnerve yourself by viewing the casts of victims from the AD 79 Mount Vesuvius eruption, and the melted remains of objects destroyed by lava.
- In addition to a wide range of modern-day animals, the museum also houses the remains of many prehistoric creatures that walked out earth millions of years ago! Don’t miss the sabre toothed tiger, or the colossal giant sloth skeleton. Seriously; it’s huge.
- Enter the futuristic Cocoon to encounter hundreds of insect specimens! Displaying everything from butterflies to tarantulas, it also offers visitors the chance to take a peek at real scientists working within the museum laboratories. How neat is that?
- The museums life-sized animatronic-dinosaurs need to be seen to be believed! But expect to queue beforehand; it’s one of the most popular parts of the museum, particularly with kids!
And if all this still hasn’t convinced you…
- It’s completely free! The Natural History Museum is one of many free museums in London, and while certain areas do require additional tickets the bulk of the museum costs absolutely nothing for visitors!
So whether you’re looking for a cheap day out with the kids or trying to find budget-friendly attractions for a holiday, I’d highly recommend paying a visit to the Natural History Museum!
The closest tube station is South Kensington on the District, Circle and Picadilly lines, and opening hours run every day from 10.00 to 5.50. Find out more on the NHM website.
Did this convince you to visit the NHM? Unconvinced and looking for somewhere else? Well either way you may want to check out my post 20 Fantastic Free Museums in London, for more budget-friendly places to visit!
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