- We may squirm at the prospect, but in many parts of the world insects are a regular part of the diet. Museum entomologist Stuart Hine uses real insect specimens to give us the low down on the taste and nutrition of a varied bush tucker diet, from roasted slugs to crunchy crickets. And don’t miss the chance to try an unusual snack. Warning: it might put you off your lunch…
- 3 January at 12.30 and 14.30
- 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 such as Taiwan and Bolivia and see some of the dazzling specimens in the Museum’s collection.
- 9 January at 12.30 and 14.30
Sponges: From Bathroom Beasties to Medical Miracles
- They are handy for washing the dishes and scrubbing your back, but natural sponges are also fascinating creatures. The oldest form of multi-celled animal still alive today, they can draw a swimming pool of water through their tissues every hour and some hold chemicals that could help treat cancer. Join us to discover that there is more to a sponge than first meets the eye.
- 14 January at 14.30
Life in the Twilight Zone
- The deep sea is one of the least explored areas on the planet. Yet in this dark, vast and extreme environment live many strange and wonderful creatures. Join us as we take a closer look at some of the more bizarre and unusual fishes from our collections and discover what life is really like in the twilight zone.
- 17 January at 12.30 and 14.30
- What lengths do wasp parents go to in order to feed their young? In the case of thousands of species of parasitic wasp, their lay their eggs inside the body of another living insect. When the wasp larvae hatch, they feed on the insides of the host insect. Food doesn’t get much fresher than that… Come along to hear from a Museum scientist about the wonders of the parasitic wasps and how you could spot some in your garden.
- 25 January at 14.30
A World of Worms
- From the deep sea to deep in the outback of Australia, worms exist in an amazing array of environments and have adapted to deal with a huge variety of conditions. An amazingly diverse group of organisms, new species are being discovered even today. Discover the beautiful diversity of the humble worm, find out how they have evolved to cope with extreme conditions and see some rarely seen, unusual specimens from our collections.
- 26 January at 14.30
The Platypus: Unique in Many Ways
- With its duck-like beak, webbed feet and dense fur, the platypus managed to keep the scientific community puzzled for over a century. Since the first specimens came to Britain, it has been arguably one of the most challenging animals to classify. Come and discover how such a seemingly harmless creature became of the most controversial treasures of the Museum.
- 27 January at 14.30
- Life on Earth today is dominated by humans, but once a very different set of creatures ruled the land. Dinosaurs evolved over million of years to occupy many different environmental niches, and displayed a huge variety of body shapes and adaptations. Discover the range of these amazing creatures and the fossil evidence we have found for their existence.
- 28 January at 14.30
Hands-On Nature: Oceans
- Visit the handling trolley in Lasting Impressions and take a closer look at some interesting specimens with the help of our science educators.
- From 16 January, every Saturday and Sunday, 14.00–17.00
Crafty Nature: Exciting Evolution
- Roll up your sleeves and join artists for exciting craft workshops. Use interesting materials to make fun creations based on natural history themes. This workshop takes place in Fossil Marine Reptiles and is suitable for children under seven.
- 9 and 16 January, 11.00–13.00 and 14.00–16.00
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 January, 12.00 and 13.30
Journey deep into the heart of the eight-storey cocoon to glimpse the working life of our scientists in collections and laboratories, quiz scientists about their cutting-edge research or view specially created natural history footage – all opening up the hidden world of the Natural History Museum’s scientific collections and research. The new £78 million Darwin Centre is a state-of-the-art scientific research and collections facility that can be used by over 200 scientists at a time. It is also an awe-inspiring new public space inviting you to explore the natural world in an exciting and innovative way. The architectural highlight is a 65-metre-long, eight-storey-high cocoon – the largest sprayed concrete, curved structure in Europe. It safeguards the 17 million insect and three million plant specimens held inside the building.
- Cocoon – travel through the Cocoon experience deep into the heart of the collections to glimpse the working life of our scientists. See the previously hidden world of scientific research through viewing decks, video, intercom and over 40 high-tech installations and hands-on interactive activities. Visitors will be able to interact with learning activators stationed throughout Cocoon and find out more about scientific techniques used in labs at Science Focus activity points near the viewing decks.
- NaturePlus – take a NaturePlus card with you to personalise your journey around Cocoon. Use it to collect your favourite exhibits and specimens – from butterflies to a rhino beetle – and then discover more online at home, where you can also join in discussions with Museum scientists.
- Attenborough Studio – the Attenborough Studio is a state-of-the-art communication centre where innovative technology, Museum specimens, live animals, spectacular natural history film footage and Museum scientists come together to create an inspiring programme of free daily films and live events.
- Climate Change Wall – interact with the unmissable 12 metre wall of screens displaying films and interactive graphics that spotlight Earth’s changing climate and how the Museum’s research informs global efforts to understand that change.
- Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity – a new resource centre for people or organisations with an interest in UK natural history. Much of the Museum’s UK collections are available here for amateur naturalists to study and visitors are encouraged to bring in their own finds and meet the Centre’s dedicated enquiries staff.
- Architecture – explore this architecturally stunning building with breathtaking views from the eight-storey cocoon over the west London skyline, into the Wildlife Garden and up close to the Museum’s original terracotta façade.
Whether you’re an expert or a novice, a glider or a slider, skating in the open air is a magical and exhilarating experience. As the winter evenings draw in, the Natural History Museum’s east lawn will be transformed once again into a magical setting with 76,000 Christmas lights in the nearby trees, surrounding the Ice Rink for the fifth year. Overlooking the rink is a café bar providing visitors with the best view of the skating below.
- Now to 17 January 2010
- Monday to Sunday, 10.00–22.00.
- Late night and early morning sessions to be announced on www.nhmskating.com
- Admission: £13/£11.50 adult, £10.50 concession, £8.50/£8.00 children 12 years and under, £34.50/£31.00 family (up to four, minimum one adult) prices apply to peak/off peak where two are shown. There are no concessions during peak times.
- 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.
- Daily 10.00–17.50
Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year
See the environment around you with new eyes and be inspired by the latest winning entries in the world’s most prestigious showcase of wildlife photography. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine. It is the international leader in the artistic representation of the natural world. The exhibition showcases the very best photographic images of nature, giving visitors an insight into the beauty, drama and variety of our natural environment. The winning images are displayed in a stunning exhibition launched at the Natural History Museum that then tours the UK and overseas. Through an interactive installation, visitors to the exhibition can find out what the judges, scientists and photographers think about particular images. In addition, visitors can select their favourite image or choose from a selection of prints to have in their own home.
- To 11 April 2010, 10.00–17.50
- Admission: adult, Gift Aid admission £9*concession, Gift Aid admission £4.50* family, Gift Aid admission £24* (up to two adults andthree children); free for Members, Patrons and children aged three and under
Daily family activities
- 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, monsters and Wildlife Garden.
- Suitable for under sevens.
- Daily 10.00–17.00
- £25 refundable deposit required
- Please collect from the Central Hall information desk
Family 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 is a range of fun activities to choose from.
- Weekends and school holidays, 11.00–13.00
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.
- Daily 12.00–17.00 (times may vary)
- 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.
- 10.00–17.00 (times may vary)
- 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.
- Daily 10.00–17.00
- £1.50, available from the Museum Shop
- Don’t miss our Focus Point handling trolleys. Whatever your age, come and explore real specimens with the help of our enthusiastic volunteers, using different natural history-themed activities.
- Tuesday–Thursday, 10.45–14.00
- Saturday–Sunday, 11.15–15.00
- Creepy Crawlies, The Power Within, Mammals
- 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.
- Tuesday–Thursday, 10.45–14.00
- Saturday–Sunday, 11.15–15.00
- 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.
- 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)
For more information:
See the Fun Kids review on the Natural History Museum