The National Museum of Natural Science

Something happened today that I never expected would happen on this trip:

It got cold.

Not cold cold, but it’s 61 degrees F out right now. I had to dig into the recesses of my suitcase to find Hugo’s long sleeve shirt.

Actually, I’m pretty proud of myself for not complaining loudly in every blog entry about how hot it’s been. Blazing sunshine and swampy crotches make me long for the mild misty Pacific Northwest. I’m going to get weird google hits for saying “swampy crotches,” but I’m just telling it like it is.

ANYHOW, today I put on some jeans and we went to the National Museum of Natural Science.

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Please do not climb on the mammoth

After this morning’s first surprise (cool weather), we had another exciting surprise: this museum is free on Wednesdays before 10am! There you go, a money-saving tidbit as a reward for reading my blog! Kids under 6 are always free, but there is an elaborate pricing scheme for all the other activities available.

This place is really, really enormous. We were there for about two and a half hours and only visited the exhibition, the gallery and the science center. I’m sure we’ll head back to visit the conservatory another day. There are also two theaters there (including an IMAX), but Hugo’s not the type to sit through a movie, so we skipped those too.

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For the dinosaur lovers, there is a room of full-sized skeletons and animatronic dinosaurs. They move and roar loudly, so your small child may hide his face in fear and make you carry him swiftly through (my kid) or squeal with glee (other peoples’ kids). And, yes, there is a bright spotlight shining on the Tyrannosaurus’ butt, and, no, I don’t know why. 

The museum is really geared toward older children, although because it was free day a lot of people were there with toddlers early in the morning.

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An etched glass display at the beginning of the hall of evolution

The museum has detailed, interactive displays across three broad categories: Life Science, Human Cultures, and Global Environment. Unfortunately, almost all of the information plaques and all of the videos are in Chinese. However, don’t let that be a deterrent to visiting. It’s still a great place to walk around and talk with younger kids about what they’re seeing, and older children who have already studied some of these subjects in school will still get a lot out of seeing the displays.

There is a lot of space in the museum dedicated to Chinese culture and history with artifacts and elaborate models of ancient Chinese technology, as well as a hall dedicated to Austronesians in Taiwan.

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There are some beautiful models of ancient Chinese architectural achievements. This part was more like a traditional museum and not as interactive as the science areas.

There are a lot of temporary exhibitions happening at any given time.

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From the interior of The Magic of Plants, which had a lot of interactive features and giant models to explore

There was a “mini-zoo” which featured mostly fish and reptiles.

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Guess who loved the fish tanks?

My original plan was to visit the museum and Botanical Garden all in one trip, have lunch, then be home for nap time. I didn’t realize how big the museum was, so I decided to save the gardens for another day.

Now I’d better go put on a sweater or something, lest I get frostbite.

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