Posts Tagged ‘dinosaur’

The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester

23 November, 2016

So the flyers said it was an award winning museum… and it certainly sounded cool, boasting life-sized reconstructions and hands-on displays.  So as we were looking for something a little more sedate, and trying to avoid the swimming pool and play areas following Isaac’s 24 hour sick bug we thought we’d give it a try.

dorset59As we drove up I could see a dinosaur outside – and yes it was large – but something in my head was making me wonder whether these “awards” were a bit like Rhod Gilbert’s Award Winning Mince Pie. (Which if you haven’t seen I highly recommend!)  It may have been that the building looked smaller than my house and the dinosaur outside was just literally that in a little fenced off courtyard by the building.  But we carried on in.

Inside, we paid up for the three of us – £22. We were handed a sheet of paper and pencil for Isaac, along with a magnifying glass.  It turned out that hidden through the museum there were a number of “clues” (letters) which spelt out something. On completion of the treasure hunt you got a prize.

Inside the museum was made up of about 5 rooms on two floors – rooms about the size of those in a normal house. Three of them were packed with all sorts of displays – from life size dinosaurs to fossils. One room had a large TV screen showing some short documentary. And then final room was a sort of kids interaction room – e.g. it had a number of boxes you could put your hand in to guess what was inside, or a couple of things where you had to guess whether a dinosaur would feel like this or that.

dorset63Overall we were there a lot longer than I expected given how small it was – but mainly because Isaac thought it was insanely funny to keep squeezing the horn inside one of the boxes. We sort of tried to encourage him to find the clues, but he wasn’t really interested.  Our “prize” at the end was a cheap plastic medal.

I can see they had tried to put on interactive displays, and there was a couple of iPads dotted around to make it look like it hadn’t all been there since prehistoric times, but overall I felt it was possibly more suited to school visits.  Paying £6 for Isaac, at just 3 years old, felt too much as he really was too young to appreciate most of it.  I think they should have made it free for under 5s.

Natural History Museum

12 January, 2008

Natural History MuseumToday, we decided to go to the Natural History Museum.  I hadn’t been since I was much younger so I fancied going back, and I also saw they had the Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition going on which appealed as I like wildlife and photography!  Entry to the museum is free, and the exhibition costs £7 – but if you travel to London by train you can get 2 entry tickets for the price of 1 with a voucher from the Days Out Guide website.

We started at the photography exhibition where the winners, runners up and highly commended photographs in each category where displayed on light boxes.  The categories ranged from different groups of animals and birds, to children’s categories and some special awards.  There was some stunning photographs, and also some which I was surprised to see had won over others.  The age 11-14 children’s category was particularly impressive with one of my favourite’s being a shot of some wildebeest.  It has inspired me to keep up with my wildlife photography and possibly even try entering! 

DinosaurAfter the photography exhibition we headed in to see the dinosaurs.  It was quite crowded as it was a Saturday, but we enjoyed wandering through the gallery.  We then went through the rest of the blue zone, seeing the mammals and marine life.  In the gallery where the giant blue whale is housed there are a number of huge whale skeletons which were very impressive.

One of my favourite areas of the museum was in the red zone where they had a gallery of gemstones, rocks and minerals.  I find it fascinating the different patterns, colours and shapes that come from nature and some were truly beautiful.

FossilsThe museum is huge and you could easily spend days there reading and looking at everything.  Whilst it is nice that it is free to go in, it is a shame they don’t ask a small token fee of a couple of pounds, just to help keep the exhibits maintained.  Some of the interactive areas could easily be spruced up.  The building it is housed in is also stunning, and I could easily have spent time just taking photographs outside!  All in all I enjoyed our visit.

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