The ACT school holidays between term 1 and term 2 were in mid-April this year. We had an unseasonably hot Autumn, so had lots of opportunity to get out and about and enjoy the sunshine.
During the first week of the holidays we decided to pay a visit to The National Dinosaur Museum, here in Canberra. Despite both kids being slightly dinosaur obsessed, we hadn’t visited before. The museum is located in Gold Creek and is open 7 days a week. I actually had a free pass for Astrid, and Soren being under 4, was free. My mum (aka Granny) accompanied us, so it only cost us the admission for the two adults.
The front/outside of the museum has a large area with dinosaur models that is able to be accessed without paying to go into the museum. The kids had a ball in this area talking to the dinosaurs and giving them pats. The museum does ask that kids don’t climb on the exhibits, but this seems to be rather futile when they are so enticing for young kids.
It was a very warm afternoon so we probably spent only around half an hour outside for fear of getting burnt, but could have spent longer. There are tables and chairs on a shaded verandah area that you can use to eat and drink, but no cafe – so bring your own food!
Inside the museum (which is over 2 floors), there are lots dinosaurs, including many that move and roar. There are also a number of fossils, and plenty of information about dinosaurs, their environments and the prehistoric period. A number of the exhibits were hands-on, which was much better with little kids. However, there was a lot of information on the exhibits, which didn’t hold a lot of interest for small kids. They did enjoy looking at the dinosaurs and touching the different exhibits. Soren was both fascinated by the dinosaurs and slightly terrified of them. Many were a great deal larger than him!
I think we did about 3 laps of the museum, chatting to all the dinosaurs and reading bits and pieces to the kids. There was a nice play area downstairs, with dinosaur puzzles, colouring and various games that Astrid enjoyed.
The gift shop had an amazing array of dinosaur toys, games, t-shirts and all manner of dinosaur products. If you are after anything dinosaur related it’s a good place to visit. You can also visit the gift-shop without paying for the museum entrance.
All up we probably spent about 1.5 hours at the dinosaur museum. As both the kids got in for free, it wasn’t awful value. However, I do think the regular price of $16 per adult and $9.90 per child over 4 years is a little steep. If you have discount vouchers or free passes though it is worth a visit. It’s also worth visiting the free dinosaurs in the front yard if you are in the area and the kids want to play. The museum does do annual passes and if your kids are really keen on dinosaurs they might be better value, but we enjoyed our one-off visit but probably wouldn’t go back for another couple of years.
We did however, have to drag Soren away from the gift-shop. There were way too many tempting items for my dinosaur loving boy. Both kids got a new dinosaur cup, and we know where we are shopping for Soren’s birthday presents this year!