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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Monday, 22 March 2004

Natural History

I had a couple of days of holiday left for this year, so Christopher and I decided to go and spend one at the Natural History Museum in Kensington.

We caught the airport coach into London - a bit of a bargain, as I have a season ticket and children under five are free (yay!) so within an hour-and-a-half we were in the sluggish Baker Street traffic. Christopher then had the second tube experience of his life - to which, it's fair to say, he took like a badger to skulking (that's a good thing. Probably.)

From our last visit to the Science Museum (which is next door to the Natural History Museum) just over two years ago, I recall there was a long tunnel joining South Kensington tube station to Exhibition Road; this was still the case, but Christopher (thankfully!) walks a little quicker these days.

It was after 11 o'clock by the time we entered the museum, opting to use through the side entrance (it's recommended on the website, but to be honest it was quiet enough that the main entrance would've done just as well!) so we started exploring as quickly as we could. Christopher was very taken by a coloured lit staircase, which led, via an escalator, into the centre of a large globe, covered metal-panelled continents. Here are some fuzzy photos:

Christopher, at the bottom of the stairs.
Christopher, at the bottom of the stairs.

The escalator to the centre of the world.
The escalator to the centre of the world.

This area of the museum concerned Earth Sciences - we saw volcanoes and rocks and (unfortunately Christopher's least favourite part of the experience) the effects of an earthquake on a mock-up of a Japanese supermarket. Christopher was troubled by the video footage that played alongside the wobbling floor - he has a very strong sense of empathy, I think.

We moved on to the 'life sciences' part - past the butterflies and birds, though had to stop off at the picnic area for lunch. Unfortunately, I'd not been able to bring a bottle of water with me, so had to buy one, which involved looking for a cashpoint. We found a Barclays next door in the Science Museum, so traipsed back to buy a 'captive audience'-priced bottle of glorified tap water (not the Coca Cola Dasani stuff, I would hasten to add!)

This was definitely a good time of year to visit the museum - there were vacant tables all around the basement picnic room, although shortly before we left a large influx of pupils from one school came and invaded our table. Fortunately, we don't take up much space, and were on the chocolate biscuits, so it wasn't too much of a problem.

We carried on towards the dinosaur exhibit, although I was urged to take a look at the 'creepy crawlie' section by the ever-curious Christopher. This very much appealed to him, with plenty of hands-on exhibits, such as the life-cycle of a bee and the weight of a crab in water. Here he is, playing with another display:

Christopher, investigating insects.
Christopher, investigating insects.

After the fun with arthropods, we finally made it to the dinosaur enclosure. Unfortunately, Christoper was getting a little tired by this point, so it was a fairly brief stroll past the amazing skeletons before we set off for the bus home.

Christopher and a bit of dinosaur.
Christopher and a bit of dinosaur.

Before we took the clunky old Circle or District Line to Victoria, there was just time for a quick photo and run around outside. We'd been very lucky with the weather, which was cool, but calm and dry. Christopher ran up and down the stone steps, intermittently stamping into puddles and putting "dinosaur footprints" across the whole width of the stairway. Before he became too worn out (OK.. he slept on the coach home!) we found the underpass and trudged contentedly back to the tube station.

Christopher and a big building.
Christopher in front of the museum.

We were home well in time for tea, which brought to an end a top quality 'Daddy and Son' day - hopefully we'll have another one before long!

Posted by james at March 22, 2004 7:38 PM

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