A new permanent artwork by artist Tania Kovats, inspired by Charles Darwin to celebrate his two hundredth birthday. TREE is be 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 will become 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; 12.00–17.00
Hands-On Nature: Evolution
Visit the trolley in Lasting Impressions and take a closer look at some interesting specimens with the help of our science educators.
Judy Preece Natural Puppet Tales
Join Judy Preece 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.
26 April, 12.30 and 14.00
Learning Room 1
Be a Botanist
Learn about the scientific naming system for all living things, developed by Carl Linneaus.
5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17 and 19 April, 14.00,15.00 and 16.00
Free, but places are limited so please book a place at the Central Hall information desk
What is a tadpole? Put simply, it is the larval stage of an amphibian, usually a frog or toad. The apparent simplicity of their shape masks a very complex structure that changes rapidly during development. Join Museum zoologist, Barry Clarke, for a fascinating survey of the world’s tadpoles – look at how they survive and how they make the radical leap into fully grown frogs.
4 April, 12.30 and 14.30
The Natural History of Easter Island
Ever since its discovery by a Dutch explorer on Easter day in 1722, we have been fascinated by Easter Island. Its famous giant statues, the Moai, point to a remarkable stone age culture. But an ecological disaster was looming which would overtake the island and its inhabitants. Join us as we take a closer look at the history, archaeology and flora and fauna of one of the most isolated islands on Earth.
11 April, 12.30 and 14.30
The Virtual Tour
The Darwin Centre is the newest addition to the Museum. Opened in 2002, it is home to over 22 million specimens and 70 scientists. From a giant squid and a Komodo dragon to sharks, worms, corals and snails, join us as we take a closer look at the amazing specimens and discover some of the things our scientists get up to behind the scenes.
13 April, 12.30 and 14.30
Pterosaurs may have lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, but they weren’t dinos. These flying reptiles came in many forms, from as tiny as a sparrow to the size of a small plane. The Museum’s diverse international collection of pterosaur fossils includes a large North American toothless pteranodon that had a wingspan of eight metres. Come and see the first vertebrates capable of powered flight and meet the scientist who looks after them.
16 April, 14.30
Wonders of the Collections: The Giant Squid
With a mollusc of such monster proportions our curators have had their arms full. Hear the story of how a creature, more often the topic of myth and legend, has now joined the national collection. Dubbed Archie, hear how it was preserved for future study, and how ongoing research is revealing more about these mysterious creatures.
18 April, 12.30 and 14.30
Mysteries of the Deep
In the deepest ocean, in the darkness and under huge pressure, you’d imagine life would be scarce. You’d be wrong.
From vast abyssal plains to toxic hydrothermal vents, the habitats in the deep sea are just as diverse as the animals that live there. Join us to discover the strange and amazing organisms that lurk in the deep sea.
25 April, 12.30 and 14.30
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)
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
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
Available from the Museum Shop
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)
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
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.
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.
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
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
For more information:
Visit our Attractions page on the Natural History Museum