Our day at the Australian Museum!
It's school holidays here in NSW at the moment and it does put the pressure on to really 'do' something with the kids... so 'holidays' aren't really holidays.. they are a break from getting every body out the door fed, dressed and packed by 9am each day. We've done the 'going to the park' thing. We've done the 'going to the beach' thing and we've done the 'going to the movies' thing. Oh, and the 'footy' thing. And let's not forget the Easter Show. So yesterday we took our first trip the Australian Museum.
For novelty's sake we catch a bus and a train.
My girls love public transport and although I do find myself nervous in the city hustle and bustle with three young girls and only two hands to hold, we manage beautifully. We ride over the harbour bridge and catch sight of the opera house, my frills are excited!
We arrive at the museum with a minimum of fuss and I realise that I haven't been there myself since I was at school. Probably primary school. I do remember being overwhelmed by dinosaur skeletons and loving the seeing bugs and beetles behind glass. The museum still has all of that, but it's moved ahead of the times too.
The cost is actually very reasonable, you only need to pay for children over 5 years, Adults are $12 and children are $6. So for us, it's $18 for the four of us. A family of 2 adults and 2 children is $30 and for 1 adult and 2 children it's $18. It's good value.
We have a quick look at the map and I decide that perhaps we start at the top and work our way down. So we head up on the elevator to level 2. There is the special interactive exhibition Amazing Backyard Adventures. It shows kids (and adults) the every day things in your backyard in a different way. There's binoculars where you can see how a dog sees (i.e. colour blind) and how a bee sees things.
You can also see what it's like to be smaller than a blade of grass (like Laura and Olivia below)
For the video game freaks out there there's a treadmill that as you build up speed it changes the seasons in a backyard in the screen ahead. The older boys loved this one.
There's a range of others too - this is plant vs insect where you decide which 'side' you're going to be on and what kind of properties (i.e. venom, long legs etc) will be your 'weapons' to win.
There's a variety of other interactive games - we leave them behind and head to the Surviving Australia section still on Level 2. This is fun. My favourite bit of the whole museum is a long white table with an interactive light show. It has all the Australian predatory snakes, beetles, spiders crawling around on the table. Kids can 'touch' them etc.
They also have a crocodile which is very cool. It comes out (virtually) and snaps! I loved it! (you'll have to tilt your head to your left)
We also came across these scary creatures! (figure I'll keep this for my future sons in laws?)
Then it was onto the Dinosaurs. This was fun and one of the bits I remember from my childhood. Look how enormous they are!
You can see how the lifecycle of a dinosaur, and there's also the skeleton of a triceratops which impressed me, and lots of displays - if you have a dinosaur mad child - it may take you hours to escape.
We then went down to the next level, level 2 - which I vividly remember visiting as a child - the glass boxes full of insects and wildlife... my frills didn't share my enthusiasm, nor for the minerals display on level two - we were down to level one before we knew it.
Level one has all the great skeletons - We saw a giraffe, elephant, horse with a man on it, a great human skelton on a bike, that you could propel by peddling a bike directly outside the display. Too big for the frills though. The top image was my favourite. Fun. Lots to see in this area.
Lastly we headed to the the world of spiders exhibit and kids area.
We bought a craft bag for $10 each per child, it's a calico carry bag with:
- Press out cardboard spider to colour, with bits of straw and string to make a climbing spider, the frame can be used as a template to draw more
- Pipe cleaners to make a spider
- A plaster of paris spider mould - moulded from a real spider to paint
- A cardboard spider's web to make a stained glass window
- A template to colour, cut and staple, a moving book (i.e. where the images slightly change so when you flick the edges of a book it looks like a movie)
There's ample space and materials for the kids to sit and do all the activities or just take them home to do. We opted to do one, and bring the rest home. They painted their plaster of paris moulds.
3 hours after arriving we were thirsty and hungry - the cafe was crowded, dirty and expensive. I would personally give it a miss - which we did and I regret not bringing a picnic lunch as it was a beautiful day walking through Hyde Park. We headed up to Cafe Macchiato - great service I have to say - once they realised we were alive - and fabulous with kids - I let the kids have dessert for lunch (well we were on a day out!) with pancakes with banana, strawberry and icecream. The Cafe was kind enough to our order of two triple stacks into three double stacks. All for the grand price of $6.90 a triple stack. Babycinos for the ladies, it was all very cost efficient.
I ordered an all day breakfast (with OJ for $14.50) which was very disappointing. The mushrooms and the toast were fabulous but the quality of the bacon and sausages was dreadful, and one bite of each was enough. The poached eggs were cooked too long and in too much vinegar. I should have ordered the pizzas which looked and smelled fabulous.
So what tips would I give a parent going?
- Public transport is fine - head for Museum Station - take Hyde park exit - however if you have a pram, might be better off to get off at Town Hall and walk, unless you have help to get up the stairs.
- Head to the museum either by 10am or after lunch, have a picnic in Hyde Park
- Definitely head to Level 2 first and head down - there are stairs, ramps and elevators.
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