Natural History Museum
Drive the length of Exhibition Road in South Kensington, London, and you will encounter three world class museums: the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Natural History Museum, with frontage on Cromwell Road.
Behind the scenes, the museum doubles as a research centre working in the areas of taxonomy, identification and conservation. The Natural History Museum is host to several world class permanent exhibitions.
The Blue Zone
The Blue Zone is home to Natural History Museum exhibits that explore the history and biology of animals.
The most famous exhibit by far is known as “Dippy,” the Diplodocus carnegii dinosaur skeleton located in the central hall. Dippy is a 105-foot long dinosaur skeleton replica, first revealed in 1905. Dippy has starred in countless cartoons and articles, most notably being featured in a Disney film, One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing.
Visitors to the dinosaur collection, located in the Blue Zone of the Natural History Museum, can view many other dinosaur skeleton casts, including T. Rex. Informative exhibits throughout the collection help visitors understand more abou dinosaurs and how they became extinct.
The Blue Room also includes exhibits that explore the mysterious lives of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, marine invertebrates, mammals, and humans, including a full life-size model of a blue whale, suspended from the ceiling in the vast Blue Room.
The Red Zone
The Red Zone houses exhibits that teach visitors all about the home planet, Earth. View a giant sculpture of the earth made of several of the planet’s most precious minerals: iron, zinc, and copper. Visitors can also see a timeline that starts at the beginning of time, and follows the evolution of life on the planet and the recent arrival of humans on Earth. The “Earth Today And Tomorrow” exhibit demonstrates the impact of humans on the earth’s environment and on the universe.
The restless surface exhibit demonstrates how changes in the earth’s surface are formed by wind, water, and changes in temperature. Earth’s Treasury displays a sparkling display of the earth’s colorful bounty of gemstones, minerals, and rocks.
The Green Zone
Visitors to the Green Zone see a variety of exhibits, ranging from crawling insects and reptiles, to birds, to minerals, plants, and primates. Painstakingly preserved fossils from Britain, like shark teeth and ancient creatures, demonstrate life on earth from long ago eras.
The bird case preserves specimens ranging from a hummingbird to a giant ostrich. If you’ve ever wanted to see an extinct dodo bird, a specimen can be found in the Green Zone at the Natural History Museum. Conservationists will be pleased to know that the museum’s primary focus is now on conservation and education, rather than on expanding collection of live specimens.
The Creepy Crawlies exhibit helps visitors understand the secret lives of locusts, bees, termites, ants, hermit crabs, and more.
The Orange Zone
The Orange Zone houses the Wildlife Garden and the Darwin Centre. This is the most limited area of the museum, as the wildlife garden is open seasonally, and the Darwin Centre requires visitors to book a tour. Planned properly, however, your visit to the Natural History Museum can easily include the Orange Zone.
The wildlife garden houses thousands of plant and animal species, including dragonflies, foxes, sheep, pheasant, marsh marigolds, primroses – the variety of species is far too many to list. Avid gardeners will delight in learning to tell the difference between a woodland bluebell and a Spanish bluebell, and in seeing marsh marigolds in their marshy habitat.
The Darwin Centre is where the scientists work, researching natural science issues. Visitors on guided tours of the centre see how real scientists spend their days.
Bring the whole family and wear comfortable shoes when you visit, because your entire family won’t want to leave the Natural History Museum.