May events @ Natural History Museum

New this month

The Deep

  • Your imagination stops at 100 metres, but the Natural History Museum’s new exhibition will take you down 11,000 metres.
  • The Deep plunges you into the abyss, revealing a deep-sea environment less explored than the surface of the moon. With bizarre creatures that have adapted to their harsh world in wonderful ways, and extraordinary yet fragile biodiversity, you will discover the history of deep-sea exploration, cutting-edge technologies used today and learn how Museum scientists are helping to preserve this important ecosystem.
  • Combining the latest deep-sea science with astonishing imagery, specimens and immersive interactive installations, The Deep takes you on a voyage to the planet’s final frontier.
  • The Deep 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

Butterfly Explorers

  • To 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
  • 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 to 22 July @ 14.30

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.
  • Every day until 31 October @ 10.00–17.00

Science Brains Quiz

  • How much do you really know about the history of science and the famous faces behind the most well known scientific discoveries? Can you remember what Charles Darwin, Hans Sloane or Michael Faraday are famous for? Battle it out in the Attenborough Studio each month in celebration of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary. By luck or by skill, someone will take home the gold dinosaur.
  • 10 May @ 14.30

Sloane’s Library

  • Sir Hans Sloane was a physician, scientist and great collector. In addition to enormous numbers of animal, mineral and plant specimens, Sloane collected around 50,000 books throughout his life, over a period of 70 years. Meet Alison Walker from the British Library to hear about this remarkable collection of books, where it is now and what it can tell us about Sloane and the world he lived in.
  • 11 May, 14.30

Alive and Kicking

  • Our scientists have been influenced by many people from the history books, but they can also find inspiration from their friends and colleagues. Join us for a very special Nature Live as we discuss how our resident human origins expert Chris Stringer has been an inspiration to his colleague Andy Currant over the 30 years they have known each other.
  • 13 May, 14.30

Amphibians in Global Decline

  • Here at the Museum we care for world-class collections that can be used to help conserve our planet and its wildlife. Find out how the collections are being used to study emerging diseases in amphibians. Join us to hear about our work in the fight against the dangerous chytrid fungus infection that is contributing to the possible extinction of half the world’s amphibians by 2050.
  • 14 May, 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 past 40 years.
  • 19 May, 14.30

Not so Nasty Nettles

  • Have you had a bad experience with nettles? Used in medicine, as food and even to make fabric, there is more to nettles than just their sting. Meet a Museum botanist and discover what it’s like to venture out into the field and track down nettles from across the globe. See some real specimens from our collection and find out more about the diverse and intriguing nettle family.
  • 29 May, 12.30 and 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.
  • 31 May @ 12.30 and 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.
  • Every Saturday and Sunday and Monday 31 May @ 14.00–17.00

Crafty Nature: Ocean Mammals

  • 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.
  • 1 and 15 May, 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.
  • 30 May, 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. Visitors will 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 9.50.
  • 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.
  • 15 May @ 19.00 – 16 May @ 9.50
  • Children £45, adults free
  • Members and Patrons £40.50

Nettle Weekend

  • The common nettle is a favourite food plant for caterpillars of some of our most colourful common butterflies.
  • Celebrate the common nettle, as part of national Be Nice to Nettles Week, and discover there’s much more to this intriguing plant than its sting. Join us to unearth the nettle’s many uses through the ages, both in Britain and around the world, with talks, demonstrations and displays throughout the Museum. You can even try some nettle soup and tea along with other edible nettle delights. The events are suitable for all.
  • 22 and 23 May, all day

Biodiversity Festival at the Natural History Museum

  • Join the Museum for a special festival celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity.
  • Join for the launch of an exciting UK-wide competition to find a new young natural history reporter. Meet the Museum’s world-renowned scientists and ask them about their favourite specimens and why protecting biodiversity is important to us all. Explore the Museum’s Wildlife Garden and enjoy theatre and musical performances that celebrate biodiversity. Link up with Biodiversity Day events taking place across the United Kingdom in the Darwin Centre’s interactive Attenborough Studio. Join in the fun and take time to reflect on why biological diversity is so crucial.
  • 22 May, 10.00 – 16.00

OPAL Water Survey

  • Anyone can take part in the OPAL Water Survey by telling our scientists about the animals and plants that live at their local pond or lake.
  • Free packs are available on request at the Museum, or they can be downloaded from the OPAL website.
  • May to July 2010


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

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