A Family Day Out At The Natural History Museum

It was my birthday earlier this week and I decided that I’d like to go to London for the day with my little family during the weekend before. I thought we’d let Little H choose what we did for the day and her choice was The Natural History Museum – a very good choice!

We went to The Natural History Museum last summer and it was so ridiculously busy and hot that we missed a lot of things, plus we had to queue for over an hour to get in, so we were all excited to go again.

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It takes 2-3 hours to get to London, so we left the house bright and early to get the train. It was hammering down with rain but that didn’t dampen our spirits. We ate pain au chocolates on the train, drew some pictures, and Little H enjoyed looking out of the window asking at every stop “is this London?”.

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When we got to the museum we were pleased to see that it wasn’t as busy as on our last visit and we only had to queue for about 10 minutes to get in. First stop, as decided by Little H, was past the stegosaurus and up the escalator into the Red Zone to find out about the beginning of the earth, volcanoes and earthquakes.

5 year olds definitely don’t stand still long enough for you to actually teach them anything, but Little H loved looking at everything and pressing all of the buttons on the interactive displays.

There’s a lot of hands on exhibits in this section, as well as lots of things for little hands to touch such as rocks, minerals and molten lava. After all museums are no fun if you can’t touch anything.

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Next up was the Blue Zone, to learn about human biology, dinosaurs, animals, fish, and of course the blue whale.

Little H was on her own little mission, leading the way and pointing out all of the things we passed.

“Mummy that’s a dinosaur skeleton it died a long time ago”, “Daddy that’s a duck billed platypus, they don’t live in England”, “WOW that polar bear is enormous”.

I love how their little minds work so fast!

We stopped by to see ‘Dippy’ the iconic diplodocus skeleton in the Hintze Hall – probably the last time we’ll see it as from next year it’s being replaced by a blue whale skeleton after 30 years.

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One of my favourite bits is the Mammal Gallery – it never ceases to amaze me just how enormous the blue whale is up close.

“Wow that is ginormous – it would take up the whole sea!”

Like most kids, Little H loves animals, and was fascinated by every single one. We spent quite a bit of time learning about dolphins, elephants, horses and lots more.

A very nice man from the museum was showing the children a sheep’s skull and teaching them lots of facts about it. Little H was so interested that in the end we had to drag her away as it was obvious the poor bloke had run out of things to tell her!

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Next we stopped for cake, before heading to the dinosaurs. I remember coming to The Natural History Museum for my 10th birthday during my “I want to be a paleontologist” phase and it’s quite funny bringing my own child to see the same exhibits.

We saw dinosaur skeletons, the moving, roaring T-Rex, dinosaur bones and teeth – Little H was amazed by their size – and we learnt about why dinosaurs died out. The walkway above the exhibits was closed which was a shame as Little H enjoyed that last time, but it looks like it meant they were adding some new bits to this section.

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After the dinosaurs I was dragged through the creepy crawlies section, where I avoided looking at the bugs but had to listen about all the disgusting things that could be living in our house.

Lastly we went to the Human Biology section where we learnt about the human body, answered a few questions about how babies come out but thankfully none were asked about how the babies get in there in the first place!

I felt this section was the most dated out of them all, a lot of the interactive exhibits don’t work and the ones that do work don’t refer to anything later than the 1980s. Still Little H was very interested and enjoyed looking at everything.

The giant cocoon in the Darwin Centre was closed, and you have to book for the Attenborough sessions so we had a quick wander around the Wildlife Garden before heading back to the tube.

With a few hours to kill before catching our train we stopped at Trafalgar Square for a bit of culture and by now it was a lovely, sunny afternoon. Little H enjoyed seeing the lions that we’ve read about in one of her books, throwing pennies in the fountain and meeting Yoda on the steps of the National Gallery.

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After a bit of dinner on the South Bank we headed home absolutely shattered, armed with a book about dinosaurs and a dinosaur egg, after a fab day out.

If you’ve got small children and haven’t been to The Natural History Museum before I highly recommend it. There’s so much to see and do there, plenty for inquisitive little minds, and of course it’s free!

Sarah

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15 thoughts on “A Family Day Out At The Natural History Museum

  1. Laura (Mummy Lala) says:

    I really want to visit the Natural History Museum, we live about 40 minutes away on the train but we’re going to wait until our two year old is a little older so he’ll understand it a little more and be able to do some of the hands on activities. Sounds like you had a really great time compared to your last visit.

    Laura x

  2. Charlotte | BakingBetsy says:

    LOVE the Natural History Museum! We’ve not been for about six months, but it never really changes, does it? I’ve always found it a super inspiring place and now my daughter does too. Have you ever been to the NHM museum in Tring in Hertfordshire? Total hidden gem, well worth a visit (on a good weather day as there’s mils of gorgeous countryside and the Grand Union Canal to explore too)

  3. Charlotte | BakingBetsy says:

    LOVE the Natural History Museum! We’ve not been for about six months, but it never really changes, does it? I’ve always found it a super inspiring place and now my daughter does too. Have you ever been to the NHM museum in Tring in Hertfordshire? Total hidden gem, well worth a visit (on a good weather day as there’s mils of gorgeous countryside and the Grand Union Canal to explore too)
    #MarvMondays

  4. Mama Herself says:

    NHM is definitely good for numerous trips, and even if it weren’t so fascinating for all the family, the building is worth the effort. There are the odd corners that need updating though. Can;t think how they’ll manage it when it’s pretty busy year round. Maybe the big whale moving will be the catalyst. An excuse to go back and see!

  5. Corey with fifi + hop says:

    We love our Natural History Museum in NYC too. The one in London looks fab, and I can’t wait to visit with my family some day so we can show our kids all the amazing museums you have. #citytripping

  6. MummyTravels says:

    I love the Natural History museum – I really should go more often given how close we are, as every time we have been (three now, I think) my daughter has loved it. Me too, in fact, I always seem to learn something and the collections are fascinating. I stlll haven’t tempted her into the Red Zone as she’s a bit freaked out by the noise coming from the top of the escalator! Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  7. Kaye says:

    I forget how good the Natural History Museum is, I really need to take A as he’d love it and I haven’t been in years! Can’t believe the size of the whale, wow. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  8. Tammymum says:

    Oh this looked amazing I can’t wait to take our kids there. I think they would love it now at 1 and 2 but I think they’d appreciate it more when they’re a bit older… That being said I love the natural history museum now, it so interesting I would happily spend all day there. I. Glad you had such a good day out, and especially for your birthday! Thank you for sharing at #familyfun xx

  9. Karen : TwoTinyHands says:

    Getting to see the dinosaurs at a young age would be pretty cool! My son is 15 months at the moment and I like taking him to see things at the zoo. Not the same but I like how he takes it all in. If we ever make it down to London I’ll definately take him to the Natural History museum. I went a few years ago and it is really wonderful place! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

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