Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Natural History Museum - Something for each of us

Although we arrived in Santorini today (from London), limited internet access hampered our ability to share photos and report back on our first visit to the UK, until now (we'll be coming round again for a week in December on our way home).

On our first full day in London, upon special request from Travis, we decided to visit the Natural History Museum; likely not everyone's first choice in attractions but in the end I was won over by his enthusiasm, and after my first glimpse of the amazing brick exterior, I realized there was something here for each of us. 

Calli Pre-visit: Surely this gorgeous building isn't a boring old museum

All the museums in London are free, with ample opportunity to donate some spare change and temporary exhibits that do charge an entrance fee. During our visit the museum was hosting Animals Inside Out, an exhibit that strips away the skin/hide/fur... and showcases what goes on inside different animals - and part of the reason we simply had to visit now instead of waiting for December. 

From the Natural History Museum website:
Adapted from Gunther von Hagens' Body Worlds, our UK premiere of this exhibition features 90 plastinated animals and capillary specimens displaying the intricate insides and inner workings of some of the world’s most spectacular creatures, from goats and giraffes to octopuses and ostriches.

I have to admit that this exhibit was really interesting and by far the best one of the day, definitely worth the nine pound entry fee; the plastinated elephant arteries were amazing, comparable to a garden hose in size. We weren't able to take photos inside the exhibit itself but do have this fabulous camel picture to share from the main entrance...

Our first glimpse of Animals Inside Out
And a few others borrowed from the website.

A very large bull, complete with nose ring (via)
The brain isn't missing, it's at the foot of the display (via)

After Animals Inside Out the other exhibits were a little less impressive, we explored some kid-focus displays (who doesn't like dinosaurs?) before stumbling upon a quite area dedicated to scientific illustrations and artwork that served as the perfect spot for some much needed time away from the crowds. We then made our way upstairs to The Vault exhibition of absolutely enormous precious and semi-precious stones - case after case lined the open hall, each dedicated to a different type of stone or metal (gold, turquoise, marble... even pieces of fallen meteorite). 
Bigger than Beyonce's I believe
The Earth's Treasury section - The Vault is situated at the very end

Although intended to be a place of learning and science, the history and architecture of the building itself is what I found truly captivating. I couldn't take my eyes off the gorgeous brown and gray hued brickwork, ornate ceiling panels, mosaic tile floors, and carved moldings. 

A photo doesn't really do this place justice
Dippy the Diplodocus dinosaur greets you upon entry

And of course, the visit wouldn't be complete without some time with the man himself, Charles Darwin - I knew who it was without having to read the description, Travis was so proud!

Travis star struck

In addition to the few photos shared here, we have plenty more on our Flickr page, just click the Photos tab in the top menu bar.

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Hey there!

Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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