Written on: 10/04/2008 by PieDizzle (41 reviews written)
Interest for all ages, well planned, situated right outside public transport. There are lifts, etc, so pushchairs are no problem at all.
Tends to be extremely packed on a busy day. The "Darwin" collection is shut for refurbishment, it didn't state this on website. Expensive refreshments within building. Some areas look a little dated and run down and/or unfinished.
The Natural History Museum makes a fantastic day out, whilst entrance is free the cost of public transport for a family could add up. I wouldn't recommend driving here as parking is extremely scarce and expensive as in most areas of inner London. Also refreshments within the museum are very expensive, I ended up paying in excess of £25 for three sandwiches, a cake, a fruit salad and three drinks in the cafe whilst shelling out a further £10 for what was a bowl of cheap pasta in tomato sauce and a bottle of water in the canteen. It would have saved me a lot if I'd opted for packed lunches or eaten at the nearest McDonalds or Pret A Manger instead.
I suggest going quite early especially if you have small children who constantly need to use the toilet to make a day of it and see everything.
Upon arriving your bags are searched for security reasons and you are greeted by an enormous Diplodocus skeleton. The routes for different areas are clearly mapped out and marked in different colours.
The museum is in sections. The dinosaur section contains many fossils, bones and to the excitement of my son, lifelike, moving dinosaurs, the large articulated T-Rex was great.
You will then probably visit the area about modern animals, consisting of hundreds of real, stuffed animals and activities pushing buttons, I found many of them didn't work. There was also an area nearby with insects and a real ant farm.
There is also an area about the human body, I did find this area of the museum to be lacking in character, it seemed quite dated here, for example the carpet was severely worn and the mural on human pregnancy seemed to be faded in areas, most of the machines here seemed to be only half-working. There is a "womb room" on the website it pretty much hypes it up, all it happened to be was a scaled up model of a foetus in a dark "room" with heart beat noises. It seemed quite out of date, old and worn. However the machines on sight, etc, where you can test your own senses were great, those that were working anyway!
The area on rocks, space, the Earth, etc, is fascinating. There were plenty of rock samples, etc to look at and many more modern machines to look at and use. One of the only areas in the whole museum where they were all working! I strongly recommend the "Earthquake room", an area upstairs made to look like a shop in the far east with simulated Earthquake motions. I'm unsure what it would be like in a real earthquake but this really felt like you were there.
To my disappointment the "Darwin" centre was closed for refurbishment, this was the reason I wanted to come to the museum and they could have explained this on the website.
All in all, I would recommend The Natural History Museum, it can be a very cheap, yet educational day out. Do bare in mind that some displays aren't what they are cracked up to be on the website and that some of the exhibitions here are in serious need of updating, especially the human body section.