Natural History Museum Day Trip

This post has been a long time coming - sorry about that! The day job got in the way and it's only now that I'm able to write most days that I'm realising how much I missed sharing our days out and family life on the blog.

Ollie's birthday is in March and this year our planned treat was originally postponed due to snow. He didn't have to wait too long though and as soon as the white stuff had cleared we headed into London with friends for a dinosaur-filled day at the Natural History Museum.


We live in High Wycombe, about 30 minutes by train from central London. However, when it comes to saving money on family days out, we rarely get the train from the local station (£27.50 for an anytime return with travelcard) and instead opt for driving a little way to Ruislip Gardens where we can park up cheaply (often at the station itself, sometimes in a nearby residential street) and get the tube to our chosen destination for more than half price using an Oyster card (capped at £11.70).


We chose the Natural History Museum because it had something for everybody in our group. In particular, Ollie loves dinosaurs and goes crazy for dinosaur books, programmes, films and toys so it was an easy decision to make when it came to choosing something for him that would appeal to everybody.

The closest train station for the Natural History Museum is South Kensington. We arrived at the museum in time for opening and joined the short queue for entry into the museum. While we were waiting we were entertained by the funny and cheerful employee who sold us a guidebook especially for kids that went down well with the birthday boy - who can't read but was already picking out what he wanted to see using the pictures and the maps!

It didn't take us (four adults, four children and a baby) too long to get in, the queue was for the security personnel checking bags and belongings. You don't have to pay an entry fee to the Museum, although there are donation points for you to contribute towards the running and upkeep.


As you'd expect, the entry way and first exhibits were really busy, but although it felt quite crowded in the hall it wasn't completely packed out early in the morning on a Saturday. We started with the Earth Hall, marvelling at the Stegosaurus fossil and then spent the majority of our morning in the 'red zone' investigating volcanoes and earthquakes. Lily and Jessica, the older children in our group (5 and 6) were interested in the 'restless earth' exhibit and spent time there before taking a break for an early lunch.

I was impressed by the facilities provided for people bringing their own lunch. There were plenty of cafes and places to buy food on site but these were a tad pricey and, as always, we were sticking to a tight budget for the day. Unlike the drab and measly 'picnic areas' I've often found at big attractions, this was great. There was plenty of space, high chairs available and vending machines and a small area for purchasing hot drinks and any extras.

We ate early, before heading towards the dinosaur exhibit, after exploring some of the 'green zone' which included some fascinating marine reptile fossils.


We timed our arrival at the dinosaurs to coincide with lunchtime for most people and I'm really glad we decided to do this because the dinosaur exhibit (in the blue section) was clearly the busiest - by that time on a Saturday the museum was really filling up with visitors.

It was definitely worth it just to see the delight on Ollie's face! Most of the time anyway, he was a bit scared of the T-Rex - to be fair, I can't blame him, it must have seemed pretty realistic to him! He loved all the moving dinosaur models as well as the actual fossils. We spent ages in this section as all of the children (and us grown-ups) were fascinated by all the information available.

Our fun didn't end with the dinosaurs and we also spent time in the Human Biology section where Lily particularly liked going inside a human ear and checking out all the mammals including the giant blue whale which was high on Jessica's wish list.


By 2pm the children were beginning to show signs of being quite tired and the younger boys, Reuben (4) and Ollie (3) were honestly pretty cranky. There was an awful lot we hadn't seen but decided to call it a day, stopping at the dinosaur shop on the way out.

I was pleasantly surprised by the shop which I was expecting to be expensive. They had plenty on offer and there was a wide range of products for different budgets. Ollie had some birthday money to spend and bought a big bucket of dinosaurs which he still gets a lot of play out of today. The other children were treated to some hatching dinosaur eggs which were huge and on special offer (I do love  a bargain).

Before jumping back on the tube we grabbed a coffee, you'd have thought that after having the 'best day ever' (in his own words) and splashing out in the museum shop he'd have been happy. But no, in true toddler fashion he got very upset because I wouldn't buy him the souvenir he really wanted...


And that, my friends, is a re-cap of our wonderful day out to the Natural History Museum. We barely scratched the surface of the exhibits and activities on offer and yet we still had an amazing time and would love to return! I'd love to try out the T.Rex Grill - a dinosaur themed restaurant in the 'green zone' which looked really cool.

Have you visited the Natural History Museum with young children? If you have any tips or exhibits we must see when we go back I'd love to hear them, leave me a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

No comments: