Everyone loves museums, especially children, writes NSM Lorna Baker who recently took her two young children along to the Australian Museum in the city.
As a parent I was excited to learn that the Australian Museum now offers free entry to all children under 16 years. It is Australia’s oldest museum, with so much to see and do and I recently spent the morning there with my four-year-old and one-year-old – but we could easily have spent all day there.
It is so easy to get to with train stations and bus stops nearby as well as car parking stations, and there are plenty of activities to keep the kids busy once you arrive. There is a brilliant Kidspace located on the second floor of the museum for under fives. I especially liked the fact that it was gated so my crawling (almost walking!) one-year-old could remain contained while my older child explored. There are five ‘pods’ in theKidspace where kids can explore. These ‘pods’ are like little cubby houses with different themes – bug, marine, observation, volcano and imagination. My four-year-old really enjoyed playing in each little pod. This Kidspace also has pram parking, a bottle warmer, plus a baby change and feeding area.
The Kidspace also has plenty of books for the kids to read on comfy cushions. There are little tables with specimens and magnifying glasses to look closer. My four-year-old loved looking through the magnifying glass at the insects and she was amazed when she touched the human skeletons. She even got to dress up as a lizard from the various choices in the box there. But her favourite activity was looking at animal X-rays on a light table.
On other levels we looked at so many different animals on display. We saw spiders, mammals, frogs, dangerous Australians, birds, insects, dinosaurs, fish, reptiles, worms, jellyfish, anemones, coral, wildlife, bats, sea squirts, sea tulips, molluscs, sea stars, sea urchins, plankton, crustaceans, centipedes and millipedes. My four-year-old loved the bird displays and particularly liked the pelicans.
We also looked at the museum’s very popular Dinosaurs Exhibition. We saw 10 complete dinosaur skeletons and eight life-sized models. This interactive exhibition is brilliant. You can look, listen and learn all about dinosaurs. The Dinosaurs Exhibition is permanent, so it is open every day that the museum is open.
There are plenty of regular children’s events at the Australian Museum. You can find out more by going to the website: www.australianmuseum.net.au
Where is it? Corner of College Street and William Street in the city, right across the road from Hyde Park and St Mary’s Cathedral.
Opening times: It is open from 9.30am to 5pm every day of the year, except Christmas Day.
Cost: Admission for adults is only $15, and there are family memberships available.
All photographs courtesy of the Australian museum.
Have you taken the kids to the Australian Museum? What were your highlights? Let us know in the comments section below.
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