“Does a museum trip count as an outdoor adventure with little explorers?”
Does a trip to a Sea Life Centre or a Zoo? I say yes, because I see it as more like a time travel outdoor adventure. I can’t see dinosaur in the wild, but they did exist, they are an important part of our planets history, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love seeing giant dinosaur skeletons in real life? I consider an outdoor adventure, anything or anywhere where our children can learn about and experience nature and wildlife and that includes creatures that have been and gone.
We have had this trip planned for a while. It was a bit opportunistic. My Mum (her from Nainy’s Cookbook) normally looks after the children on a Tuesday and a Wednesday but is away at the moment and Tom doesn’t start school until next week so my husband booked it off on the hunch that the museum would be nice and quiet (last time we went we were using a double buggy and it was so busy it was a 7-10 minute wait just for the lift to go down one floor) and it paid off! We got in the car and headed to Liverpool to the World Museum, one of seven museum and galleries that Liverpool has to offer. The world museum is the one I’d recommend if you fancy something similar to the Natural History Museum (one of my all time favourite places).
We decided to start at the top in the Space section as it’s something Tom has had a growing fascination in recently. Unfortunately a lot of the interactive displays weren’t working and although I understand they keep it fairly dark in there for atmosphere, it was a bit too dark because we couldn’t read all of the plaques that went with the displays. Saying that with kids, it really is a rushed through version of a museum tour. After the excitement of the rockets we headed downstairs to the dinosaurs and Natural World exhibition. As this is my favourite bit, I was just as excited as the little ones but I have to say it all looked a bit dog-eared. The taxidermy was dusty and looked like it had seen better days and half of the lights appeared to not work (a running theme throughout it seemed). However, the kids didn’t seem to mind and they thoroughly enjoyed seeing how tall they were next to a giraffe, how many monkeys they could count on the tree and having their Uncle pretend to feed them to the dinosaur skeleton. Tom at the fantastically curious age of 4 was asking all kinds of questions, some were easily answered, others not so much. Charlotte at 2 was happy identifying all the different animals she could see.
We then wandered down a floor to the World exhibition which featured items from different cultures all around the world. As you wander from one continent to the next, there are tablets dotted about to allow you to interact and read a bit more about the items on display, which Tom soon spotted somewhere in the Pacific ocean. “Mummy, can I look at the world?” ” Look at the World?” I thought, it’s all around you. I had to force him away from each tablet to the cases each time thinking I had won, only to turn half way through talking to find him sat prodding at one of the screens. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me sad that he would rather look at the world on a tablet than look at physical items and pictures from around the world. We spend a lot of time looking at Google Earth learning about different places and people and he seems to really enjoy it, and I thought some of it had sunk in, but I felt completely deflated when he seemed so uninterested in seeing these things in the flesh.
Anyway the aquarium was next so off we went, something Charlotte was particularly looking forward to. Again, lighting was a bit of an issue and not all the labels matched the tanks so a bit of guess work was needed but we muddled through and everyone was happy when a particularly active plaice took a liking to Tom. We also headed to the bug world which the little ones both loved, especially when they saw the giant spider on the ceiling which they delighted in tormenting me with.
Finally we headed down to the Ancient civilisations floor where we tried to explain Egyptian mummies to Tom. Eventually with the comparison to zombies in appearance (think of Mummies and zombies in Scooby Doo-his only real reference) he sought of got the drift and was completely unfazed when he came across the unmasked mummy. Charlotte was particularly impressed by the Anglo Saxon jewellery, many pieces of which she has ear marked for herself I believe.
After the museum we had a much deserved drink in the cafe below and the little ones were treated to a toy by their Uncle as a souvenir. There were no major incidents whilst at the museum although Charlotte managed to throw many massive tantrums the second we got outside which continued the hour and a half it took to get home. Overall we had a great time and the kids have been asking questions about the things they have seen, which is essentially what it’s all about, having fun but learning as you do it. The museum constantly updates it’s displays (there is a snakes exhibition coming soon) so there is always something new for the little ones to see and do!
Fun had (according to the kids): 11/10
Tantrum Level: 1/10 during the museum visit, 10/10 after the museum visit
Worth it? Definitely, I love introducing the little ones to new things and new experiences and it’s even better when they are still talking about it a day or so later.
Worth knowing: Always check the website before you go for updates about exhibit closures or changes. If the museum isn’t local to you, it might be worth checking a couple of weeks ahead in case you see something you would rather see and you aren’t disappointed. Also museums can get very busy, so try to prepare, take plenty of drinks and choose your days and times wisely. Check times for special events like talks and mini beast handling.
50 things achievement: 30. Hold a scary beast
Cost: Entry into most museums is free, however it is customary to leave a donation (often a recommended amount is made known near the entrance).