National Dinosaur Museum tour
Some of you may be aware I was lucky enough to have been recently chosen amongst 101 Canberra bloggers and social media geeks to participate in the #Humanbrochure campaign run by the #VisitCanberra crew at Tourism ACT.
Here’s a recent picture of some of the “Human” gang during a wander around New Acton with various mobile recording devices.
In 2014 #Humanbrochure evolved from the award-winning 2013 exercise to focus more on locals sharing their experiences and knowledge of Canberra region with their friends, colleagues and other personal networks. The various activities culminated in a weekend in which each local “human” (i.e. moi) hosted a guest family from out of town at a local place or institution. There was a kind of lottery for the final places with each host and guest offered an experience based on their family/kids/ages etc. We ended up with a personal tour of the National Dinosaur Museum on a Friday night, when it was not normally open to the public.
This was a great option for us (my guest was my sister Dominique from Sydney and two of her children) as we’re long-time family members and our kids are all aspiring palaeontologists. I like dinosaurs too 🙂
I’m a firm believer in “a picture tells a thousand words”. Most of the photos below were taken by my nine year old daughter using a digital SLR and my iPhone as well as some taken by my sister.
If you haven’t been to the National Dinosaur Museum before you will be very impressed by their out-door display, which includes a couple of examples that you can get up close and personal with!
Inside the museum there are plenty of exhibits and attractions for kids and adults alike. You won’t have to try too hard to take some memorable photos of your kids or friends.
Before you worry about the expense of visiting this awesome institution I’ll let you in on a little secret that keeps us and our five kids very happy. Families can join “Friends of the Dinosaurs” for only $70 per year, which includes two adults and all their school-aged children. If you have a houseful of aspiring palaeontologists like we do that is great value. You’ll be able to visit THE BEST collection of dinosaur exhibits in Australia as many times as you like. You’ll also get great discounts for your friends and for kids parties and visits to sister institutions around Australia. We’ve been members for several years now and sometimes go more than once a month and always at least four times a year (which for a family of seven visiting four times a year works out at $2.50 per visit… hard to beat for any dinosaur museum or park anywhere in the world past or present). So here’s the form so you can join and encourage your kids to learn about science!
“Hang on – where is this awesome place?!” I hear you ask… you can find a map, google links, opening hours, prices and links to book and pay online here.
They are also on Facebook and it’s worth liking and following their page if you’re interested in occasional specials and auctions of second-hand exhibits and other dinosaur paraphernalia.
Palaeontologist Jess (who was an awesome tour guide btw) : “So who can tell me what sort of animal this is?”
Ms 5: “A crocodile!” Jess: “no”
Ms 6: “A lizard!” Jess: “no, not a lizard”
Ms 7: “Alligator?” Jess: “no, not an alligator”
Ms 9: “Its a giant frog!” Jess: “Correct!
Wow, I was impressed by this giant frog as well as the fact my nine year old daughter knew more about it than I did! Took a photo, but it didn’t turn out as good as Dom’s 🙂
Throughout this short visit I quickly learnt how much kids love this stuff and how much I wish I had paid attention during my previous visits with them. When Jess asked “Can anyone tell me when the dinosaurs lived?” My nine year old daughter casually put her hand up and answered “during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods”!!! I actually quickly worked out I had no hope of keeping up so just tried to tag along, enjoy the opportunity to take a few photos … and hoped none of the kids asked me any hard questions.
But the penny eventually dropped and I realised my sister was taking too many photos of me. I guessed she was hoping to get one of me picking my nose for Facebook. There was only one thing I could do to let her know two could play at this game.
One of the activities that kids never seem to tire of at this place is the puzzles they can put together in a room designed for kids activities. It’s pretty cool and we had to drag them away after a while.
In fact I think it’s fair to say there’s too much to see and do in a single trip to the National Dinosaur Museum. You have to make a few trips to really appreciate it. I’ve been a regular for a few years now and am yet to find it repetitive or uninteresting.
Oldest rock in the world (above) and the oldest poo in the world (below).
Megalodon never fails to impress. There is a life-size Megalodon jaw with a hand-painted backdrop behind it to give it a life-like appearance. We had the good fortune to meet the incredibly talented artist painting this and many other murals around the museum at a previous visit.
In case you’re not sure how much bigger Megalodon is compared to carcharodon carcharias (a Great White Shark). Here’s a picture I swiped from the interwebs.
And in case you don’t find that scary, here’s a picture of one of the many awesomely scary “humans” (the irrepressible Jemma Scarr) I had the pleasure of meeting during a recent #Humanbrochure “experience” at the National Dinosaur Museum. Notice the Megalodon jaw display still hadn’t been given the big colour backdrop when this photo was taken!
My kids were awes-struck at some of the newer displays they haven’t seen before and which have only recently been added.
Nothing to be afraid of though. She’s got this well under control.
The hands-on nature of the tour gave the kids a real appreciation of what they were learning and an insight into how dinosaurs lived.
Ancient rocks and crystals containing prehistoric insects!
Unsurprisingly, many dinosaurs were small and feathered… and probably tasted like chicken.
Poor old number six has seen better days!
Tiny the Mastodon
Our awesome hosts also served up some pizza and drinks for the kids during a meal break. This is definitely not part of the normal tour but it’s nice to be treated like a special guest occasionally! If you do visit and get hungry the local area has some terrific options for food and drinks, two of our regular favourites are Café Injoy and the George Harcourt Inn.
There’s a lot more to see and do if you make the trip. There’s a little bit more about the history of the museum here.
Last but not least, thanks to the Burbury Hotel in Barton for making my sister and her kids very welcome. They were shocked and pleasantly surprised to discover the hotel had borrowed two small plastic dinosaurs to decorate the hotel room and prepare them for their visit to the National Dinosaur Museum.
My sister really enjoyed the hotel room and hospitality. If you’re lucky enough to get a 6th floor room the views are quite impressive too!
My sister was also impressed with the pack of goodies I brought for her and her kids from Canberra Handmade (in a Canberra Handmade bag of course).
Finally thanks to the #Humanbrochure crew at #VisitCanberra who made this amazing experience possible for us as well as all the other #humans and guests!
So come and visit! we’re only a short drive down the Hume Highway from Sydney. You’ll know you’re close when you pass this amazing and beautiful sight (a collection of windmills collecting clean energy near Lake George).
The kids will love you for the fun and learning experience.
Where: National Dinosaur Museum
When: 10am – 5pm EVERY DAY except Christmas Day!
Why: a great educational experience for young and old.
How to get there: via google.