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Natural History Museum|
Cromwell Road, SW7
Tel: 020 7938 9123
Nearest Tube: South Kensington
This Museum was first opened in 1881 to accommodate the British Museum's vast display of natural history specimens - and it has been extremely popular ever since. Alfred Waterhouse designed the fabulous building between 1873 and 1880, and in itself it is an impressive sight.
And once you are inside the museum it is equally impressive. The exhibits are arranged in a series of Galleries which take you right the way through time from pre-history to global warming. The Life Galleries are the original part of the museum, whilst the Earth Galleries are basically what used to be the Geological Museum in Exhibition Road.
The highlight of the collection has got to be the dinosaur exhibition (and it is this display that the museum is most famous for), but there are lots of other wonders to be discovered. For example the Whale Gallery has a life-size model of a blue whale, the Creepy-crawlies gallery has lots of animated insects, and the Earth Galleries include an earthquake, a volcano and a trip through a rotating globe.
The museum also contains one of the most comprehensive collections of animal and plant specimens in the world, including some of the rarest mammals. And if you think that the collection is overwhelmingly vast, don't forget that for everything you see, there are many, many more specimens stored away out of sight!
If you think museums are boring places, try a visit - you'll probably be very surprised. The vast number of interactive displays and the excellent use of new technology should win over even the most hardened sceptic. And the kids will love it.
The museum is open 7 days a week, but times vary so check in advance. Admission prices are very reasonable considering the amount you get to see - lots of concessions are available and if you arrive after 4.30pm Monday-Friday or after 5.00pm at weekends, entry is free!
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