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Free Museums in London: Natural History Museum and British Museum

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National History Museum London

After Legoland and Harry Potter Studio Tour, National History Museum is next to the boy’s most memorable visit from our London Tour.

We’ve learnt about this before we went to London, and he was very enthusiastic to visit this museum. He liked things about nature, dinosaurs, animals, ancient history, and things like that, so no wonder he really waited for his visit to the museum.

He was the one who asked me to write about this museum after I finished with Leeds Castle post, and he constantly remind me again and again to continue writing about our London trip, hahaha………….I can be discouraged lazy sometimes that he has to say it several times in a day: “focus………..get back to work…………..start writing again………………”  absolutely my mood booster, hahaha………..

Okay, back to the topic, the museum was so big and we didn’t have enough energy to visit all the exhibitions (seriously, this time although we had enough time, but it was so tiring to go to all the areas in the museum, so we gladly skipped some exhibits that didn’t seem too interesting for us).

The boy’s writing about our plan to visit the museum:

While on the plane, my father asked what we were going to do first. After five minutes of thinking (14 hours and we only spent five minutes thinking), we decided to visit the National History Museum first. After checking in the baggage in the hotel, we had breakfast and took the District Line train to West Kensington. We got off and headed towards a flight of stairs,which led us to the entrance of the museum.There was an ice skating rink inside as well as a carousel.

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Only 2 stations from Hammersmith tube station (where our hotel was) to South Kensington where the museum was

 

South Kensington tube station

South Kensington tube station

 

Following the signs from the tube station to the museum

Following the signs from the tube station to the museum

We actually had other plans that day, but due to some internal technical problem with our stomach (we planned to visit Borough Market to have our breakfast and lunch, but since we arrived early in the hotel and after checking in the luggage the hotel gave us free breakfast that day, which meant we already full, we changed the plan to the museums while waiting for our room to be ready).

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Natural History Museum was behind the big tree

 

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There were carousel and ice skating rink in front of the museum (to celebrate Christmas and new year I guess)

 

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Ice skating rink

There was a long queue before entering the museum (it was Saturday afternoon by the way), but the queue moved quite fast. Later we found out that the queue was for bag check. I think they were looking for sharp objects like knives and scissors, so it was okay to bring food and drink.

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Entrance door to the museum……………so lovely…………….

First, of course we met this enormous dinosaur’s fossil that was very famous and one of the reason why we wanted to visit this museum:

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Meet giant Diplodocus fossil (found in USA)

Near the big Diplodocus fossil, there was some museum’s staff who explained about this big dinosaur. The boy was asked to find which part of the body was the skeleton that he had in his hand……………

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Learn more about Diplodocus from the museum staff

Next stop, of course……………the dinosaurs exhibition, but we got lost since this museum was so big……………..

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Love………love…………love…………………the architecture of the museum

 

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Look at the details of the building……………..

 

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The statue of Charles Darwin

After getting lost for 2 times , we finally could find the dinosaur exhibition. The signage was clear actually and we also asked one of the staff there, but we were still confused of where the entrance door was……………and also we were a bit sleepy so we were a little bit disoriented, hahaha………..

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This T-Rex could move and was very noisy…………..

 

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Triceratops……………..I seriously only knew T-Rex, so all the information about the dinosaurs here are relied by the boy’s knowledge………….

 

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Some of the fossils that we saw. I don’t know how the boy could remember all the names that I wrote here………………

 

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More dinosaurs fossils

 

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When the boy asked why I don’t even know the name of the dinosaurs, I said to him that my job was to taking photos only and it was his job to learn about the dinosaurs……………….well, at least we have dinosaurs pictures now………………

 

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Dinosaurs claws with Tuojiangosaurus above the heads

 

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A closer look of Tuojiangosaurus

Next stop, just across the dinosaurs exhibition, was the Mammals and Human Biology Exhibition. The three of them (Dinosaurs, Mammals, Human Biology, and some other exhibitions) were in the same zone, which was The Blue Zone.

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Directory of the museum for the Blue Zone

I was really impressed with the Mammals Section. Forget about the very detailed information and description or explanations about these mammals because I didn’t read any of them (let’s leave this reading part to the boy because most of the time I tried to find a place to sit since I was very tired), but the animals were in life-size. Real size of elephant, giraffe, and even whale. Big size animals came in their real size was very impressive.

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Cave lions and sabertooth tigers were small enough compared to what we would see in the next room

 

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Toothless mammals such as sloths, anteaters and armadillos

Now here comes the big animals:

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Mammals such as blue whales,elephants,rhinoceroses,dugongs and hyraxes. By the way, the picture on the left was just the whale’s mouth

 

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This is what happen when you compare a giraffe and an elephant side by side

 

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There was a machine that could compare your weight with that of an animal’s

It was very difficult to take pictures of the whole bodies of the big size animals, so we were glad when we went to the second floor and found out that we could easily see all the big animals from upstairs and took complete pictures of them.

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Dolphins, whales, sea mammals, orcas and porpoises. All in life-size

 

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Mammals…………picture taken from the second floor. My favorite was the giant whale. By looking at these animals, can you imagine how big this museum must be?

When we finished exploring mammals area, we went to see Human Biology. We only spent little time here as we already saw almost the same exhibition in Singapore Science Center. I didn’t take many pictures here too.

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Old phone (this phone was used to listen to some information I guess). I’m not really sure, but since the boy asked me to insert this picture then I had no choice………….

 

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Funny mirror in Human Biology Zone

When I thought that we’ve covered everything (by that time I couldn’t barely walk anymore)and it was time to go back to the hotel for some rest, the boy said that he hadn’t seen the Neanderthals. “WHAT?!” I seriously didn’t see any Neanderthals around here, but he insisted that there should be ones (someone did his research well before visiting the museum, and it wasn’t me, hahaha…………). So we asked the staff and she said we should walk to the other side of the museum. Yeah, rite, there was the other side of the museum which I completely forgot………….

So we had to walk to the Red Zone, and it was a long walk……………………… and we passed by this restaurant on our way to the Red Zone. Although all the food looked delicious, the parents were not in the mood of eating bread, and even daddy said: “Why there is only bread in here?” hahahaha……………….I bet he was searching for rice or noodle which he would never be able to find there.

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North Hall Cafe. According to the boy, we didn’t eat at the cafe because no one was hungry (the parents were hungry but didn’t want to eat bread actually…………..)

After a long walk, we finally got to the Red Zone:

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Red Zone Directory. And there was even a Green Zone………..well, forget it, there was no way that I was going to walk all the way back to the green zone

To my surprise, I really loved the Red Zone, which was, once again…………Impressive!

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Big Earth

When I thought that it was just a model of the earth, we found out that there was an escalator going up, and so we thought oh yeah, we would go inside the earth for a while and going down again after that…………….but we were wrong! The stairs took us to “the center of the earth”but it was actually the second floor where the exhibitions of Volcanoes and Earthquakes took place. It was a huge area inside and we ended up looking around and reading very interesting information about Volcanoes and Earthquakes. There was even an earthquake simulation that happened in Japan years ago. This was absolutely my favorite place.

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Going to the center of the earth

 

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Inside the “Earth”

 

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Yes, there was even some information about volcanoes in Indonesia. I know all about them because I learnt about them when I was in Primary School

 

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“The Earth” from the second floor

 

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Complete Stegosaurus fossil

 

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Earthquake simulation in Kobe, Japan. The simulation took place in a supermarket which looked like real. This place was shaking for about 1 minute and I somehow felt scare imagining what actually happened on the D-day

Finally, we were in the Human Evolution Area to see The Neanderthals.

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The history of human origins

 

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Skulls from 7 million years ago to present time

 

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The last Neanderthal skulls, who became extinct thousands of years ago because of unstable climate and competition from another human species like us

 

Israelite burial site

Israelite burial site

 

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Replica of Neanderthal man. Only the most resourceful and adaptable would survive

And that was the end of our trip to the Natural History Museum. This museum is huge and you will need at least 3 hours to explore all the areas of the museum.

Our next visit (different day) was to British Museum which was also free. The nearest tube station was Holborn. This was also a very big museum and one of the reason why we wanted to visit this museum was because we are big fans of Night At The Museum the movie (we loved all the three movies, and the last one was filmed inside The British Museum). The other reason of course because we wanted to see the mummy (and the real one…………….)

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British Museum

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Another very big museum to visit for free

 

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Don’t you just love the architecture of the museum?

As usual, there was a bag check before we could enter the museum. I think they wanted to know if we brought sharp items such as knives and not food and beverages. It was okay to bring food and beverages as long as we didn’t eat or drink inside the museum.

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This museum was so big? So where do we start?

 

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If you are too tired to climb all those stairs, there is an elevator behind the stairs

 

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The front side of the museum, and near the stairs you will find a map of the museum

Since we came late in the afternoon and 2 hours the museum was about to close, we just directly went to look for the mummy.

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Some of the exhibits in the museum, and it was a long walk until we finally found the mummy

 

Sarchopagus or Sarcophagi or stone coffins were reserved for royalty and the elite

Sarchopagus or Sarcophagi or stone coffins were reserved for royalty and the elite. The name of this person was blanked out to curse him.

We were very excited to finally see the mummy, until the boy decided that it was too creepy for him……………….so although mommy and daddy still wanted to explore more, we couldn’t because the boy dragged us to get out of the room as soon as possible and he didn’t even want to stay in the second floor anymore (and there were lots of things to see actually in the second floor).

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Ancient mummy

 

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I would like to see and read more of the information, but the boy was quite scared and asked to leave soon

 

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Is it real or just a replica? I think it’s real……………

Since the boy was scared inside the mummy exhibits, we went out and randomly picked a room in the first floor, and we saw these sculptures of ancient Greek legends:

The statue of Paris, discovered outside rome in 1875. Paris was an attendant of the oriental God Mithras

The statue of Paris, discovered outside rome in 1875. Paris was an attendant of the oriental God Mithras

The boy was also a big fan of Rick Riordan’s books, so he knew well about the legends, the history,  and all the gods that he saw here.

The statue of Zeus

The statue of Zeus

 

Hercules, found in the foot of Mount Vesuvius

Hercules, found in the foot of Mount Vesuvius

Before we went home, we saw this big stone and I was wondering why would someone put a stone (which was meaningless to me) inside the museum, hahaha…………..well, apparently, in the museum, even one single simple thing is very meaningful and worth to learn.

Memorial slab carved in Ogam script. One of the three Ogam stones reused in medieval ring fort, Ireland

Memorial slab carved in Ogam script. One of the three Ogam stones reused in medieval ring fort, Ireland

That was finally the end of our museum tour. Just across the street from the museum, we found some souvenir stores and of course we went shopping first before going back to the tube station.

Unfortunately, we could only visit 2 museums. If we had more time, we would like to explore other museum too.

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Author: cruiseoflife

Hi there. I'm from Indonesia but now live quite far away from my home country. I love cooking for my family. I learned how to cook for the first time from my mom and I believe that mom's cooking is always the best, and I do hope that my son will feel the same too even though he grows up so fast. I love Indonesian food as I grew up with it, and I promise to myself that my son, although he doesn't live in Indonesia right now, will always like and enjoy authentic Indonesian food. I make this blog so that my family will always remember our togetherness and happy time that we had, are having, and will have when we eat together and have good memories about a mother's love through her dishes. Hopefully these recipes will help other people to make healthy home cooked dishes for their families.

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