April events @ Natural History Museum

Last chance to see

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.
  • 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.
  • Until 11 April 2010
  • 10.00–17.50
  • Admission:  Adult £9 / concession £4.50 / family £24 (up to two adults and three children)

New to this month

Butterfly Explorers

  • 8 April – 26 September
  • Pick up your passport and come aboard for a butterfly expedition. Sail the world to explore diverse habitats and see the spectacular butterflies that live in them. Observe their behaviour and spot the different stages of their life cycles. Find out why some species are under threat and discover what you might find fluttering about in your own back garden.
  • Butterfly Explorers is part of the worldwide celebrations of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. The diversity of life on Earth is crucial for human well-being and now is the time to act to preserve it. For information on events, initiatives and exhibitions across the UK, visit www.biodiversityislife.net
  • Entrance to Butterfly Explorers is £6 adult, £4 children and concessions, £17 family ticket (up to two adults and three children). Free for Members, Patrons and children aged three and under

This month

Nature Live in the Attenborough Studio

  • Discover more about the work of some of the Museum’s 350 scientists and world class experts in a daily programme of informal, lively discussions in the Attenborough Studio. These live, interactive events allow you to quiz scientists about their work, see and touch real specimens and have your say in controversial and provocative debates using cutting-edge technologies to fully immerse yourself in the natural world.
  • The Attenborough Studio is the Darwin Centre’s hi-tech, purpose-built venue where an innovative and free daily programme of films and live events bring together for the first time real Museum specimens and scientists, live animals and footage of creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Daily at 14.30 and weekends at 12.30 and 14.30

Inspired Season

  • Join us as we find out what motivated Museum scientists from a range of disciplines to pursue a career in science. From the entomologist who spent his childhood chasing beetles to the zoologist who loved to watch Attenborough documentaries and the geologist who heard about Darwin at school, a variety of inspirations have led to their dedicated studyof nature.
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday from 22 April – 22 July
  • 14.30

Inspired by Darwin

  • Charles Darwin had a major influence in the world of science. Join us as we meet a Museum scientist who has been inspired not only by Darwin’s work but by his travels and discover how the places Darwin wrote about 150 years ago look today.
  • 29 April at 14.30

The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe

  • Nature Live cracks open the egg. Exquisitely adapted for their function, eggs are masterpieces of beauty, utility and strength. Explore their nature, form and diversity, from the minute egg of the hummingbird to the grand architecture of the ostrich egg. Join a Museum bird curator for a glimpse of perfection.
  • 4 April
  • 12.30 and 14.30

Meet a Zoologist

  • Is there more to Museum zoology than smelly old bones and stuffed or pickled specimens? What can be learned from the millions of animals in the collection cared for here at the Museum? Find out with Miranda Lowe and hear how she became a zoologist and why she loves her job so much. You’ll also see some of her favourite specimens and footage from behind the scenes.
  • 10 April
  • 12.30 and 14.30

The Messel Fossil Pit

  • The discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil primate, nicknamed Ida, in the Messel shale pit in Germany, dominated the news last year. But Ida is not the only treasure unearthed from this 47-million-year-old sediment. Join us as we uncover some of the most exciting fossil discoveries made over the last 40 years.
  • 17 April
  • 12.30 and 14.30

Unusual Microfossils

  • It’s hard enough finding large and medium-sized fossils, hidden away in the depths of the earth or sea. But it’s rarer still to get a glimpse of a microfossil. Join a palaeontologist for an exploration of these tiny, delicate, often amazingly beautiful objects, and the journey into the past they take us on.
  • 18 April
  • 12.30 and 14.30

Life in the Field: Palaeontology

  • Pack your hiking boots and rock hammer and come on an adventure through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the Ural Mountains. Go on tour with a scientist studying rocks and fossils in distant lands and experience life in the field, all from the comfort of the Attenborough Studio. This is your chance to see and hear about the fossils found, photos taken and discoveries made.
  • 25 April
  • 12.30 and 14.30

Easter holiday events

Animated Fossils

  • Drop in to our animation activity in Fossil Marine Reptiles to explore how a fossil is made and make a storyboard and flipbook.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5–16 April
  • 14.00–17.00

Animal Vision – Can You Really See Everything?

  • Join us for this interactive show with live animals and discover: how eye adaptations in animals such as snakes, iguanas and chameleons allow individuals to escape and locate prey, that bees and butterflies can detect ultraviolet light, the mystery surrounding scorpions and ultraviolet light
  • This interactive show is suitable for families with children aged seven years and over.
  • 7, 10 and 14 April
  • 10.30, 11.30, 12.30 (except 10 April) and 13.30

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.
  • Every Saturday and Sunday – 14.00 to 17.00

Crafty Nature: Fabulous Fossils

  • 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.
  • 3 and 17 April
  • 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.
  • 25 April
  • 12.00 and 13.30

Dino Snores

  • Dino Snores brings together a new programme of activities to allow you to investigate the Museum’s nocturnal nature and learn more about extinct creatures and deadly bugs. Take a torch-lit tour into the darkest depths of the galleries to discover clues and solve a nature puzzle.  At midnight, snuggle down for the night in the iconic Central Hall and shadow of the Diplodocus. In the morning, breakfast will be served before more activities. You will be released back into the wild at 09.50.
  • Dino Snores is suitable for children aged 8–11. Each booking must include a minimum of five children in the group to be accompanied by a maximum of three adults. Visitors must have a proper meal before attending and bring a snack for later in the evening. In the morning a basic breakfast will be provided.
  • 17 April 2010 – from 19.00 – 18.April 09.50
  • Children £45, adults free / Members and Patrons £40.50


Darwin Centre
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.


  • 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
  • Free

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

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, 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.
  • Daily
  • 10.00–17.00 (times may vary)

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.
  • Daily 10.00–17.00
  • £1.50, available from the Museum Shop

Focus Points

  • 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

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.
  • Tuesday–Thursday, 10.45–14.00
  • Saturday–Sunday, 11.15–15.00

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.
  • 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