Yesterday, on the hottest day of the year so far, we set off for a picnic in the gardens of The Horniman Museum in South East London.
The gardens are beautiful there and, along with the museum, entry is completely free. We enjoyed a leisurely picnic in the shade of a tree, before setting off to explore the rest of the gardens. The boys particularly enjoyed the music garden, (with giant wooden instruments to play), and the animal walk, where they came face to face with alpacas, sheep, mountain goats and a giant white rabbit.
From the bandstand we could see Daddy’s office in London and gave him a little wave, (poor Daddy in his suit & tie, struggling up to London on the tube in 33 degree heat, while we spent the day in the sunshine). Then we decided it was most definitely ice cream time and parked up at the café to cool off.
Feeling refreshed, we sought an escape from the heat in the air-conditioned museum. Entrance to the museum itself is free, but entrance to the special exhibitions and aquarium is ticketed (but free for under 3s). Having not been before, we decided to get tickets to both, and I’m so glad we did.
The aquarium is wonderful! All the tanks are at toddler height, which stopped him from running straight past them all as he’d previously done at The Brighton Sea Life Centre and Chessington World of Adventures. That’s the first plus! It’s also super engaging, vibrant and really well thought out. Yes, it’s quite small compared with some of the sea-life centres, but we loved every inch of it and we even found Dory! 🙂
The special exhibition on at the moment is Dinosaurs: Monster Families, and it’s brilliant! As a mum of two small boys, I would normally worry about what they are touching and whether a museum exhibition would hold their attention. This one had them rapt and the very nice man there put my mind at ease by explaining that anything off limits was behind glass or fenced off, so big and little brother could explore the interactive space to their hearts’ content! And so that’s exactly what they did…
The exhibition is really geared up for little ones, with everything from a dressing up box to a colouring station, a puzzle wall and interactive boards all around the room, and the boys’ absolute favourite – an archeological dig site in the corner, filled with dinosaur bones! The boys spent ages uncovering the “remains” with a brush, and had great fun playing with the magnifying glasses and hats. It was a rare moment of team work, as big brother handed the baby a hat to join in the game. Such a lovely moment to witness.
The dinosaurs were amazing and big brother couldn’t believe the size of them! The Theropod, pictured, showed him that sometimes powerful legs and big teeth were all that was needed in a dinosaur’s world.
Dinosaurs: Monster Families runs until 30 October 2016
Adults cost – £7
Children cost – £4
Family ticket – £17
Members and children under 3 years go free
Small additional cost for combined entrance to the aquarium.
Open daily from 10.30am – 5.30pm