Events at the Natural History Museum in May

May 1, 2009toMay 31, 2009


Butterfly Jungle
Take a magical jungle journey this summer, as the Natural History Museum comes alive with the brand new Butterfly Jungle. Travel from the dark depths of the forest floor to the heady heights of the tree canopy and experience the magic and beauty of live butterflies and other rainforest creatures.

Your journey begins with an outdoor explorer’s trail. As you climb, crawl, swing and jump your way through the different layers of the rainforest, you’ll discover the amazing characters that live here and find out how they are adapted to survive in their jungle home. Tackle their survival challenges yourself through a mix of fun, physical activities and brain-teasing puzzles. You’ll need to follow the animal tracks, spot the camouflaged insects and swing like a monkey. This place is full of life. In fact, it’s the most diverse place on Earth. Rainforests are home to butterflies, beetles, frogs, snakes, toucans, monkeys and more. In this fascinating exhibition, you’ll find out how they all avoid getting eaten, find food and build a home, and why it is so important to protect this rich and beautiful habitat.

Your jungle trail will lead you to the incredible butterfly house where you can feel the life and diversity of the jungle all around you. As you walk inside this living rainforest, you’ll come face-to-face with a huge variety of tropical butterflies from all over the world.

1 May – 27 September 2009
Adult, Gift Aid admission £6
Child, Gift Aid admission £4
Concession, Gift Aid admission £4
Family, Gift Aid admission £17

A new permanent artwork by artist Tania Kovats, inspired by Charles Darwin to celebrate his two hundredth birthday. TREE is a cross-section of an entire 200-year-old oak tree, cut lengthways, including the roots, trunk and branches and inserted into the ceiling of a gallery behind Central Hall. At more than 17 metres long, it is one of the largest specimens at the Museum. TREE is inspired by Charles Darwin’s iconic tree of life sketch, representing evolution, from his transmutation notebook B.

In 2008, 10 leading contemporary artists were invited to submit responses to celebrate Darwin’s two hundredth birthday and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. The resulting exhibition of proposals, Darwin’s Canopy, was the first event in the Darwin200 programme, a nationwide series of events celebrating Darwin’s ideas and their impact around his two hundredth birthday. TREE was selected for commission from the 10 proposals and is also part of the Darwin200 celebrations.

The Wildlife Garden
Escape the city and wander through the tranquil habitats of the Wildlife Garden. Set in the Museum’s grounds, the garden reveals a range of British lowland habitats, including woodland, meadow and pond, and demonstrates the potential for wildlife conservation in the inner city.

Open daily until end of October
10.00–17.00 (weather permitting)

Elder Flower Day
Join us in the Wildlife Garden to discover more about the elder tree and the properties of its flowers and berries. Find out the many uses of elder in herbal medicine, identify elder seeds and find out about this helpful shrub. There will also be an elder-themed nature live event and an opportunity to sample edible elder eats. The events are suitable for all ages.

27 May

Gallery characters
Meet our gallery characters in Central Hall and hear about science from an historical perspective.

Dorothea Bate, 3 May, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Carl Linnaeus, 9 May, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Charles Darwin, 10 May 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Circadian Sam, 17 May, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
William Smith, 23 May, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Sir Hans Sloane, 24 May, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Annie Darwin, 30 May, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30

Natural Puppet Tales
Join our storyteller and her puppets in lively storytelling workshops based on discovering amazing facts about the natural world. The workshop is best suited to families with children aged seven and under.

31 May
11.30 and 13.30

Climate Change Ice Workshop
Learn about climate change and make your own iceberg from an ice cube in this fun, hands-on session. This event is run in association with National Families Week.

24, 25, 28, 29 and 31 May
14.00, 15.00 and 16.00

Nature Live event: Jungle Beetles
Rainforests are teeming with beautiful beetles of all shapes, sizes and colours. Join a museum scientist to hear about the lives of jungle beetles. Find out how they are studied and collected in countries like Taiwan and Bolivia. Be dazzled by the huge array of specimens on display from the museum’s collection.

10 May
12.30 and 14.30

Nature Live event: Butterfly Jungle
The amazing variety of butterflies is best seen in rainforests where they come in thousands of different colours, sizes and shapes. Blanca Huertas is a museum scientist who studies butterflies and will share her love of these beautiful creatures with us. Hear about her adventures studying butterflies in the jungles of South America and how she discovered a new species. See lots of butterflies from the museum’s collections and consider a visit afterwards to the Butterfly Jungle exhibition.

16 May
12.30 and 14.30

Bats: The Real Stars of the Night
Have you ever seen a bat fly overhead and wondered where it lives, what it eats or what it looks like up close? There are 17 species of bat in the UK, all of them unique and amazing in their own way.   Hear about this vulnerable group of mammals and how you can help protect them, plus find out the best places to see bats where you live.

17 May

Nature Live event: The Plants That Bite Back
Don’t be fooled by their calm exterior, plants have a dark side… Join us as we look at the different ways carnivorous plants catch their food and discover the ones that you can see growing wild in Britain. You can even have a go at feeding one yourself.

24 May
12.30 and 14.30

Nature Live event: The Great Pretenders
The nearly 3000 living species of stick and leaf insect are the masters of disguise.  The phasmids, as they are known, avoid hungry predators by mimicking leaves and twigs in colour and shape. Incredibly, some phasmids can grow back a lost leg and females can even clone themselves when no males are around. Find out how phasmids make great pets, see some specimens from the museum collection and meet a live one for your self.

25 May
12.30 and 14.30

The Buzz on Bees
You have probably heard in the news about the plight of bees, but do you know the whole story?   While the social honey bees and bumblebees steal all the headlines, 250 species of solitary bee are rarely in the spotlight. Are bees really doomed and how could we be doing something in our own gardens to help them out? Get the facts about bees in the UK and find out about the essential role they and other insects play in the natural world.

28 May


Explorer backpacks
Grab your binoculars, put on your backpack and take a mini-adventure around the Museum. Filled with pens, paper, games and activities, these bright red backpacks are a fun way to explore the Museum’s galleries. Choose from themes including birds, mammals, oceans, primates and monsters. Suitable for under sevens.

Opening times: every day, 10.00–17.00
Admission: free, £25 refundable deposit required
Please collect from the Central Hall information desk

Dippy floor puzzle
Enjoy the wonder of our 26-metre-long Diplodocus – affectionately named Dippy – with a soft toy floor puzzle. It’s free and is available in the Central Hall underneath the Diplodocus dinosaur. Suitable for children aged seven and under. Complete the puzzle and get a funky Dippy sticker.

Dates and times: every day (not available on busy days); 12.00–17.00 (times may vary)
Admission: free
Please visit the Central Hall information desk

Grab a funky fabric-based dinosaur book and follow a trail through the Museum, finding out what dinosaurs ate, how sharp their teeth were, what dinosaur footprints are like and lots more. Suitable for families with children under five.

Dates and times: every day (not available on busy days); 10.00–17.00 (times may vary)
Admission: Free, refundable deposit required to borrow the book
Please visit the Central Hall information desk

Jurassic Ark
Take the Jurassic Ark trail, gathering clues and discovering the animals that lurked in the shadow of the dinosaurs. This fun-filled family activity pack includes code-breaking activities, a crossword, word search, stickers, free poster, eraser and pencil. When you’ve finished, you can claim a 10 per cent discount in the Museum Shop.

Dates and times: every day, 10.00–17.00
Admission: £1.50
Available from the Museum Shop

Investigate Centre
Get a feel for how scientists work by having a go yourself. Bring your own questions, or use some of ours in this hands-on science space. Come and explore hundreds of real nature specimens that form the evidence for your exploration of scientific ideas. The Investigate Centre encourages you to look closely at real objects using the many tools provided to find out more and become a scientist for the day.

Dates and times: weekends and school holidays, 11.00–17.00 (last entry 16.30)
Monday–Friday in term time, 14.30–17.00 (last entry 16.30)
Admission:    free

Explore – Darwin Centre
Go behind the scenes to see the Museum’s zoology collection and to glimpse some of the work that takes place there. Tours last about 45 minutes, are subject to availability and places are limited, so please book at an information desk when you arrive. If you have mobility requirements, please tell us when you book and we will provide you with information on access. Children must be accompanied by an adult and tours are not suitable for under eights. Please note, bags are not allowed on the tour and there is a short walk to reach the Darwin Centre.

Dates and times: every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 15.00 and 16.15, Wednesdays at 16.15 only
Admission: free
Please book at an information desk when you arrive

Every Saturday and Sunday

Hands-On Nature Evolution
Visit the trolley in Lasting Impressions and take a closer look at some interesting specimens with the help of science educators.

Times: 14.00–17.00
Admission: free

Learning activators
Look out for our friendly volunteers roving the galleries. They encourage visitors of all ages to discover more about the natural world, using Museum specimens from mammal skulls to fossils.

Times: 11.15–15.00
Admission: free

Earth Lab
For families with children aged six and above. Drop in to Earth Lab and join our science educators to explore the wonder of fossils, rocks and minerals. Sessions are set up to allow everyone to join in at their own level and there are a range of fun activities to choose from.

Times: weekends and school holidays, 11.00–13.00
Admission: free

Nature Live events
From dinosaurs and deep-sea fish to evolution and climate change, this topical programme of events brings together scientists and visitors to explore, discover and discuss the natural world and our place within it. Events are held in the Marine Invertebrates gallery and the studio seats 60 people. For more details and a current programme, please see the website.

Times: weekends and school holidays, 12.30 and 14.30
Admission: free

For more information:
Visit our Attractions page on the Natural History Museum

Dinosaurs, volcanoes, precious gems and creepy crawlies – as a visitor to the Natural History Museum you will be amazed by the diversity of the natural world. The Museum is not only home to the nation’s finest collection of natural history specimens, but is also one of the UK’s top attractions, with nearly four million visitors each year. Our collection is made up of 70 million plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals – many of which are displayed in fascinating exhibitions.

Highlights include:

  • The Vault, a dazzling collection of the finest gems, crystals and metals from around the world, including the Aurora Pyramid of Hope, a collection of 296 naturally coloured diamonds
  • Exploring the Dinosaurs gallery
  • Travelling through a giant, suspended globe
  • Becoming a scientist in Investigate Centre, our hands-on education space where you can examine hundreds of real natural history specimens

Opening times:
Every day, 10.00–17.50 (last admission 17.30)


Nearest tube:
South Kensington