Inside and out, the Natural History Museum is one of London’s favourite landmarks. Housed within an incredible Romanesque Revival building designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the palatial collection includes a number of natural wonders, from historic fossils to incredible minerals and even dinosaur replicas. For families who are spending their time in London at The Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge, the museum is also just a short walk away. Whether you’re bringing the kids for the first time or are making a return trip, here are 10 of our favourite Natural History Museum exhibits.
1) Diplodocus Skeleton
Affectionately referred to as “Dippy,” the Diplodocus skeleton that stretches for a whopping 26 metres in the museum’s Central Hall has long been one of its most popular exhibits: the replica skeleton has been a highlight of the museum since it was unveiled in 1905, and still wows visitors today.
2) Blue Whale Model
While dinosaurs were incredible giants of the past, the blue whale is still the largest animal to have ever existed on Earth. Visitors can get up close to the mammoth marine animal, as a full-size replica is exhibited in the museum’s Mammal Gallery.
3) Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition
The renowned annual exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum this year, giving visitors an inside look at the most incredible nature and animal photography taken over the course of the past year. The new exhibition includes shots of elephants in South Africa, pelicans in Israel, and more. The show is on view up until 23rd March 2014.
4) The Darwin Centre
A modern extension built alongside the main museum’s Waterhouse building, the Darwin Centre provides a glimpse into today’s wildlife research. Highlights include the Cocoon exhibition (note that it will be closed for renovations this January) as well as the Climate Change Walls, which shows how humans are impacting the Earth.
5) Giant Sequoia
While animal life is the main focus of the Natural History Museum, don’t forget that it also houses exhibits of some of nature’s most incredible plants. One example is a cross-section of a giant sequoia tree. Located at the top of the Central Hall, the trunk shows just how large these massive trees can grow.
6) T. Rex
Young ones may be both frightened and delighted to get up close and personal with this large, animatronic dino. The exciting display has sensors that cause it to react to visitors’ movements, and its roar is certifiably scary. Also scary? Its 15-cm long teeth!
7) Earthquake Room
After a period of renovation, the Earthquake Room at the Natural History Museum will be reopening this month. Styled to look like a supermarket in the Japanese city of Kobe, complete with trolleys and shelves laden with supplies, the room imitates the feel of a real earthquake – minus the danger, of course.
8 ) Neanderthal Skull
Located within the Treasures Cadogan Gallery, the Neanderthal skull housed at the Natural History Museum is the oldest ever found – it dates back a staggering 50,000 years. The artefact hails originally from Gibraltar, and provides a fascinating glimpse into human history.
9) Minerals Gallery
The Minerals Gallery at the Natural History Museum is a must-see. Collector Sir Arthur Russell’s incredible gem collection of more than 12,000 items is preserved here, and includes rough, unpolished pieces alongside glittering gemstones.
10) Creepy Crawlies
While the squeamish may want to avoid this gallery, the Creepy Crawlies exhibition space will appeal to anyone who’s fascinated by the insect world. From spiders and ants to termites and centipedes, the exhibition hall provides an in-depth look at these hair-raising critters.