Tuesday, September 06, 2016

natural history museum


wowee, here we are again. it's taking quite some time and energy, look you see, to cover points of interest from our holiday, but press on i must.

beyond the wonders of all things Harry Potter, one of the things the boys wished to do whilst down in London was visit at least one museum. we had hoped to fit in at least two, but one it was, and one shall do. it was a toss up between the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, and it was to be that dinosaurs would win. as you would expect.

whilst the science museum sounded very exciting - i believe they have one of the lunar landing modules off of the Apollo missions to the moon - a choice of one museum to allow for sightseeing meant that a decision had to be made. what chance was there, moon or no moon, of anything beating dinosaurs for two young boys? none. especially not when, as we shall see in some detail, there was the promise of a T-Rex. 

if you would like my sort of tourist guide thing, the nearest tube station to the Natural History Museum - and the Science one for that matter - is South Kensington. as point of fact the whole thing seems to be designed for this, as the tunnels and exits from the tube station all lead, in a well marked way, to the venues. nice one.

entrance fee? free, as in gratis. in order to keep them going, and to make sure it remains this way, donations are however encouraged in a polite way. a suggestion is £10 per visiting family. failing that, the rather smart map of the museum will set you back £1. go on, do both.

the above should give you something of an indication of what one would find within a Natural History Museum. no, not my family, unless you were there at the same time as us - the exhibit behind them. just what is that? well, it's one of them sea creature things, from many many years ago.

museums today are different from before in as far as the incumbent curators are of a generation that has accepted we, as people, are tactile creatures. whilst certain things must obviously remain enclosed and protected to safeguard them, the museums of today have displays which you are not only allowed, but are positively encouraged to touch and, as it were, engage with.

like, for instance, this ancient old tree fossil, which as turned to stone.

in my day, museums were run by vicious, brutal ignorant thugs; the type who believed that none should actually be allowed to visit or learn, and would be happy only if they were permitted to beat to within an inch of their lives those who dared so much as thought of even speaking, let alone touching something. i would suggest the modern approach is somewhat better, then.

something that one cannot touch, but is all the same awesome to see, is the mammoth skull that they have on display.

for some reason i have a niggling suspicion that i once read of how scientists reckoned they could probably bring the species of mammoth back to life, quasi Jurassic Park style. great if they could do that, although maybe i had a dream and didn't read it, or perhaps it was some sort of April Fool thing.

the one thing that we would seem unlikely to bring back, in particular via using the (ahem) "science" of Jurassic Park, quasi or otherwise, would be dinosaurs. but still, it's quite something to see their bones, or if you like fossilised bones, on display.

bloody massive, most of them dinosaurs were. whilst it's a shame that any living thing expires or becomes extinct, you have to ask for what reason would you want such huge creatures to walk among us for. it would, i suspect, get quite messy in a hurry, and people would no doubt get hurt.

we, as humans, or people if you like, or homo-erectus if you insist, or erectus-homo as Spiros declares himself on his business card, are also quite the part of natural history. a very extensive section of the museum is thus dedicated to an understanding of who we are, and how our bodies work.

which, as you can see, William more or less left to one side, opting instead to see for how long he could get away with picking the nose of a skull.

if the skull kept William interested, and as point of fact entertained, for some time, then James was quite taken by just how the human brain looks outside of its rather more natural setting.

but yeah, ok. the Natural History Museum currently has one big and massive attraction, and that is the animatronic, or if you like robotic, T-Rex they have on display.

and, for those of you who haven't simply scrolled to this in the first place, here's the T-Rex, then.

and yes, of course i took some video of it. hopefully you're looking at this on a device which will allow you to play the video. if you are, click and enjoy!

how awesome is this? it's very awesome, that's how awesome. and you get to look at it for free, if you so choose to!

yeah, there's a few pictures of the T-Rex coming up, so text might be a bit on the low quality side.

given the chance the boys would have spent not so much the whole museum visit as they would have the whole day stood watching this T-Rex. i would have too, in truth. however, we had plenty to be getting on with and seeing, and that would not have been fair on all the others waiting to have a gander.

the change in lighting from time to time was quite smart, too.

some more video of the T-Rex in action, but from the side? i don't see any good reason why i would not show that, and show it i shall right now.

what about, in particular for those who struggle to play video here, a picture, photograph or whatever you call an image captured with a phone, of the T-Rex from the side.

i'm not at all certain that i really need to say this, but yes, indeed the T-Rex display was a most magnificent and very special part of our entire holiday.

but what of real aspects of a T-Rex? yes, there were some items on display.

if i remember what the plaque or notes said next to this display, those there are real, genuine T-Rex teeth, as is the lower part of the jaw. the upper jaw is, however, a reconstruction. a very convincing looking one at that, mind.

no account or record of the Natural History Museum would be complete without a mention of Charles Darwin, or a look at the magnificent statue they have of him at the top of the stairs. and why waste time on my description when you can look and see instead.

the items of natural history on display at the Natural History Museum are not limited to our planet alone, you know. once again, it is with deep thanks that i say that a number of exhibits are of a nature that you are encouraged to touch - this chunk of space rock, from a meteor, asteroid or other similar traveller of the universe, is one of them.

oh yes indeed, the picture does not lie - the boys were amazed and impressed to be able to see and touch something that had come from a galaxy far, far away; presumably a long, long time ago.

any hidden or secret exhibits? yes. one of the downstairs ones was for some reason closed off, but from the stairs you could sort of peer over the wall in place and make out what seems to be crocodiles or alligators. feeling the excitement of seeing something that i was perhaps not meant to see, yes of course i took a picture.

but yeah, back to dinosaurs. and back to more animatronics or robots.

here we go, here are the boys checking out two dinosaurs that the plaque in front of them assures me were called dienonychus. smart name, but they look a bit like them velociraptor things to me.

the animatronics of these were not quite as impressive as was the case with the T-Rex, but let us be honest about this, absolutely nothing on this earth has much chance of being as impressive as the T-Rex was.

all the same, a wonder to see, and here's a snippet of video of them for you.

this could be just me showing my age and how as i go on in life i tend to appreciate different things, but anyhow here's the main hall of the Natural History Museum.

quite frankly, it's a marvel of architecture and construction. one, or at least i, would be content to visit and admire the building sans exhibits, in truth.

things in the Natural History Museum that are not space, dinosaur, skull, brain or space related? sure, there are a few. like, for example, these butterflies. or, on the off chance that they are not butterflies, moths. but they look very much like they are of a butterfly nature to me.

ah, the sins of the butterfly collector. to catch them and pin them this way is to steal them away from their place in nature. to not do this, however, is to allow their beauty, their magnificent and many splendid appearance, to exists only momentarily.

another look at the ace T-Rex before this blog post draws to a close? oh, go on then......

and so there we have it, another chapter of our wonderful holiday drawn to a close in action but not in memory. if you're here looking for advice as to whether or not you should make the time to visit the Natural History Museum, my answer is yes, for the T-Rex and all them other exhibits they have.

phew. i've found these last few epic mega sized posts exhausting. also, holiday over, and so i am back at verk, which means time is limited. more posts and pictures to come, then, but over the next few days rather than hours.

thanks, as ever, for reading!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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