The Olympic volleyball finished at 12.30pm, which left us a whole afternoon to spend in London before we had to head back. Lily has wanted to see a dinosaur skeleton for a while now, so I wanted to take her and Tom to the Natural History Museum. I love this museum and spent many a happy hour here when I lived in Guildford and could get up to London a lot more easily than I can now! I miss London's museums and art galleries terribly, but nothing would induce to me to live there! London is a lovely place to visit, but it always feel rather like I am going to another country. The rest of England is nothing like London!
The Natural History Museum is itself a work of art. If the building were completely empty it would be worth a visit. The interior pillars are covered in carved birds, plants and animals and there isn't a portion of the building that doesn't seem to be worth a second glance. It is a spectacular piece of architecture and I always worry that people don't really notice it because they are so busy looking at the exhibits. I probably drove Mark and the Podlings nuts pointing out all the carvings and paintings on the walls and ceilings, but I get so excited when I am there!
We only really had time to see the ocean and mammals exhibits and the dinosaurs, partly because of time and partly because the Podlings were tired. Lily, in particular, was in her element here running from one thing to the next in great excitement. In some ways, the museum is better than the zoo as you can get a really good look at an animal if it is stuffed and can't hide behind a tree! The museum only uses historical specimens and no longer acquires new ones, so it is nice to be able to see things up close that you wouldn't otherwise see. I particularly enjoyed seeing the angler fish specimens they had as there isn't much chance of me seeing one of those in its natural habitat. Seriously ugly fish, but absolutely fascinating.
Tom had me amused in the dinosaur exhibit as we simply couldn't convince him that the skeletons were real. We tried to explain how they came about, about how the dinosaur died, how fossilisation happens, how archaeologists dig up the skeletons and piece them back together like a jigsaw. No, he wouldn't have it to be! He is utterly convinced we were making the whole thing up and that dinosaurs are not real. I'm in the 'intelligent design' camp when it comes to evolution, so he hasn't got it from me! I really don't know how we could convince him that dinosaurs were real as he is clearly under the impression that we were having him on!
We did have one rather scary moment after we left the museum when we realised that Tom had left his favourite toy (Be Mine the ladybird) in the dinosaur exhibit, but thankfully he was where we left him when we rushed back inside. It would have ruined the whole trip for Tom if he got lost! Other than that, we had a wonderful time at the museum and I am so glad we had the time to take Tom and Lily here.
The entrance to the museum
One of the many beautiful windows. Note the stone Pterodactyl checking out the pigeon...hilarious!
The pillars inside the museum are adorned with stone birds, animals, plants and insects. There is something to see everywhere you look. It is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in and it was such a treat to be able to go back there with my children.
Tom and Lily in the museum cafe
Lily in front of a Mammut skeleton. In the background is a portion of the life size model of a blue whale.
Tom in the mammal exhibit
Check out those teeth on this model T. Rex! I learned that if a T.Rex ever fell over, the fall would probably have killed him. You'd have to hope for a clumsy one if you were potential prey!
A lovely photo of Tom at the museum
The impressive entrance to the museum