Skip navigation
You are here: Home > NaturePlus > Blogs > Tags

Blog Posts

Blog Posts

Items per page
0

Christmas is upon us and it looks like it'll be wet rather than white, but no matter, the Museum is full of seasonal sparkle inside and out. If you are planning to visit over the festive period, remember we are closed for 3 days on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day - yes the dinosaurs and others get a few days a year all to themselves! Browse our Festive Season pages for more information about what's on.

ice-rink-fish-eye-dusk-1000.jpg

But remember our outdoor ice rink and cafe bar are only closed on Chrismtas Day, so check the Ice Rink website for opening times before coming. It's an especially magical experience at dusk or night-time.

museum-shop-festive-1000.jpg

Step in out of the cold and you'll find last-minute Christmas presents and new year inspiration in the Museum shops and along the corridors, admire our colourful bauble-crunching dino displays.

dino-store1000.jpg

This year, you can book free tickets in advance for the Dinosaurs gallery (except for the 3 days we're closed). And as you leave the Dinosaurs, stop and have a look at the new Piltdown Man Hoax display case - while trying to avoid any little ones rushing off into the Dino Store which happens to be opposite.

dippy-lit-up-red-1500.jpg

Another treat at Christmas is the chance to see Dippy, our Central Hall Diplodocus skeleton being lit up when a donation is made to our Central Hall renovation appeal. And I strongly recommend you venture up the Central Hall's grand staircase to explore the beasts and beauties (below) of our Treasures exhibition in the newly-opened Cadogan Gallery. It's free to visit.

 

treasures-entrance-guy-1000.jpgportugese-man-owar-1000.jpg

Look out for some of the most unforgettable wintry images like the gorgeous Moonset at sunrise image (below) in the ticketed Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and over in the Red Zone's Earth galleries, don't miss a trip up the Globe escalator as you gaze at the celestial map above.

wpy-image1000.jpg

On that celestial note, it just remains for me to wish you a wonderful Christmas time and very prosperous new year.

0
We may decorate our homes at Christmas with holly wreaths and robins on cards - visiting a relative recently, I counted at least 10 robins on Christmas cards - but I believe their bursts of bright red are also there to lure us outdoors at a time when we often want to stay indoors. They are the perfect symbols of nature's festive cheer.
holly1000-2.jpg
Wildlife Garden holly. The red holly berries are easy to spot in winter and they're only on the female trees. Although toxic to humans, they are an important food source for birds, lasting longer than many other fruits even after frost.

Children's wishes for a white Christmas this year may be sadly unanswered, but the mild weather does mean that on your winter walks you might actually spot some unusual things. And you can also help us in our Great holly hunt by telling us what holly you find locally and where on our online urban tree survey map.

 

Last week, which was decidedly colder around parts of the country, the Museum's film unit went to record Museum wildlife expert Fred Rumsey on a very wintry walk through the woods near our Tring Museum in Hertfordshire.

 

Watch our lovely festive video and find out what you could discover on a winter walk near you and who the mystery nibbler is...

 

 

Although many birds migrate over the winter there are still lots of garden birds out and about, including cheeky robins. In the Museum's Wildlife Garden in South Kensington, Caroline Ware, the garden's manager tells me:

 

'There are 7 moorhens pottering around and feeding in the Wildlife Garden which is very unusual for this time of the year and bluebell leaves are already  appearing in the some of the woodland areas. We've had lots of bird  species visiting the bird feeder including bluetits, great tits, coal  tits and greenfinches, as well as robins. On the ground there are feeding dunnocks, and squirrels and mice are rushing around, and even invading our garden shed.'

 

059x1000px.jpg

Territorial Strut by Ross Hodinutt. This award-winning image in the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 exhibition captures the robin's renowned perkiness beautifully. Ross snapped it in his Devon  garden in the unusually cold spell last December.

On our Wildlife in winter page you'll find ideas for seasonal surveys to take part in, species to spot, and wildlife watching tips.

 

Read the Great holly hunt news story to find out some fascinting facts about this festive shrub, there's even a tea you can make from it...

 

Browse our Festive Season pages for suggested seasonal activites at the Museum if you're visiting. The Ice Rink and Veolia Environnements Wildlife Photographer  of the Year exhibition are not to be missed.

 

Holly trees (Ilex species). The most well-known species in Britain is the common or European holly, Ilex aquifolium, one of only three native European species.

 

Robins (Erithacus rubecula) are one of the few birds to sing all year round. They do so to defend their territory and attract a mate. Their spring song - more powerful and upbeat than their melancholy autumn song - begins from mid-December.

 

Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.


0

'Winter draws on' as my gran used to say, and unbelievably it's our last After Hours with MasterCard of 2011 already.

 

Outside, Ice Rink pealights are wrapped in sparkling coils around the plane trees in the Museum garden and the bright lights of the carousel remind us that the festive season is upon us. And I am now squeaking like Minnie Mouse due to festive laryngitis. My After Hours catering manager, Ed Watts, is promising me a restorative glass of something sparkling laced with Lemsip at our Central Hall bar at tonight's free event.

museum-shop-1000.jpg

At tonight's After Hours do a spot of chilled-out Christmas shopping in our beautiful Museum Shop

Other unusual combinations are on offer at After Hours this week. This is one occasion you can actually chill out and do a spot of Christmas shopping in our Museum shop at the same time – and that is not something one can say of many places in London at  this time.

sterling-silver-ivy-leaf-choker.jpg

reindeer-on-white.jpg

 

I have myself been peering short-sightedly into the jewellery cabinets in our shops looking for present ideas (mostly for me) and there are some beautiful designs and objects based on the natural world at various prices, like our bestselling ‘real leaf’ jewellery range (right). If jewellery isn't your bag we have a very good choice of natural history books, Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year prints, stocking fillers and soft toys, including a Christmassy cuddly reindeer (left) I was very tempted by.

 

You can also experience the unusual combination of dinosaurs and forensic detection - though, sadly, not at the same time - by visiting our iconic Dinosaurs gallery and taking part in Crime Scene Live: The Box of Bones event. Not only are our Crime Scene Live events special, they are also award-winning. Earlier this week the Crime Scene event we held at June’s After Hours won best event in a public space at the Eventia Awards 2011 in London. These awards recognise excellence in the events industry, and ours beat the Royal Wedding live event coverage and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Ryder Cup! We were as pleased as punch.

 

And look out for Drawabout, a theatrical ‘off-piste’ drawing class who will be roaming around, accompanied by a roving minstrel. They'll improvise songs about you if you agree to be drawn! It sounds like great fun and you can take the picture home with you if you like.

gallery display_1000.jpg

But the main course at our last-one-before-Christmas After Hours with Mastercard is the late opening of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of theYear 2011 exhibition. The exhibition (featured above) is pretty much sold out now, so we hope you have already bought your ticket (although there may still be some at walk-up). Call 020 7942 5725 to see if there are stil some tickets left for tonight. Even if you don't visit the exhibition you can have a browse in the fabulous exhibition shop and enjoy a drink at our bars or a delicious bowl platter at our Gold Café Bar while listening to live jazz.

 

See what Christmas gift ideas to look out for in the Museum Shops

0

The clocks have gone back and it's getting dark impossibly early. Yup, the short and coated days of winter are upon us. But here at the Museum, the onset of dreary winter is kept firmly at bay by our magical outdoor Ice Rink which opened today, 4 November, on the front lawn for the season.

ice-rink-snowman-school2.jpg

Opening event: Children from Docklands' Cyril Jackson primary school with The Snowman from the Sadler's Wells show adaptation recreate the famous character's gliding pose on the ice (it's the actual stage costume).

At dusk it becomes even more dazzling out there when the 76,000 Christmas lights twinkle out from the lofty plane trees framing the rink, pictured below.

ice-launch.jpg

76,000 lights provide the twinkling canopy for the Ice Rink that opened on 4 November for its winter season on the Museum front lawn.

This year's Ice Rink is even more bedazzling with the addition of an olde worlde Sweet Shop (every parent's nightmare) by the main 950-square-metre skating rink and the sparkling vintage carousel returns again for rides. There is also the adjoining children's rink for little skaters and even more penguin skate aids and skating marshals than last year to help learners small and large.

sweet-shop-launch-night.jpg

Kids rush! The Sweet Shop, new to this year's Ice Rink, overflows with sticky delights and below, the vintage carousel returns with its sparkly horse rides and there are more penguin skate aids for learners.

carousel-pshopped-1000.jpgpenguin-marshal.jpg

The Ice Rink isn't just about skating, however. It's a wonderful place to socialise and soak up the ambience of this historical seasonal setting, or just watch the action from the viewing platform of the Café Bar. The bar serves a festive choice of hot and cold drinks including gluhwein and delicious hot chocolate, with the promise an extensive food menu and music nights.

 

At the launch party on Thursday 3 November, guests and excited children from the Docklands' Cyril Jackson primary school (above) were greeted by The Snowman character from the current Sadler's Wells stage adaptation of Raymond Briggs' classic.

 

Later on at the evening event, various celebrities showed off their skating skills including Olympic swimmer Sharon Davies and top alpine ski racer Chemmy Alcott - both initiating incredibly brave young family members to the rink.

 

The Ice Rink and Café Bar stays open until 22.00 weekdays and weekends and you can book tickets online, prices start from £8.


Read more about the Ice Rink in the latest news story

 

Find out all about the Ice Rink on the website

Enjoy some of the photos from the launch party below. Select images to enlarge.
girl-snowman.jpg
A lucky schoolgirl gliding on ice with The Snowman

chemmy-kids-snowman.jpg

Chemmy Alcott, current British no. 1 alpine ski racer, with family and The Snowman

sharon-davies.jpg

Sharron Davies, Olympic swimmer, with one of her kids - who was seen dashing over the ice later on

tupele-coronation-street.jpg

Tupele Dorgu, Coronation Street's Kelly Crabtree

lydia-bright.jpg

The Only Way is Essex star Lydia Rose Bright with little sister, and below hugging The Snowman

lydia-snowman.jpg

babe-3.jpg

Laura Hamilton, who finished 2nd place in Dancing on Ice 2011

babes.jpg

TV presenter Lizzie Cundy and Hayley Tamaddon, actress and winner of Dancing on Ice 2010

blue-boy.jpg

Antony Costa of boy band Blue

couple.jpg

Ben Adams of A1 with friend

essex-lot.jpg

Stars get together for final photos

ice-rink-by-day.jpg

The sun shone on the first day the Ice Rink opened to the public on 4 November

0

'And so this is Christmas, and what have we done?...'

 

Well tons this year, at the Museum.

 

We had the launch of a great many new events like Dino Snores, Night Safari, Summer After Hours, the Big Nature Debate and Science Uncovered night, and our year-long celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity and the illuminating online Species of the day series, along with the public opening of the Museum's most recent interactive film, Who do you think you really are?

 

And of course there have been three special and successful exhibitions, The Deep Sea, Butterfly Explorers and Amazonia, alongside the usual gallery activities, lectures, talks and shows that kept us buzzing throughout the year.

 

It was exciting too to be on the TV in the Museum of Life BBC series back in March, and we were regularly cheered up by the Wildlife Garden comings and goings in the summer, which included the popular foxcam and bee colony updates.

 

ice-rink-coffee.jpg

Now there's snow on the ground, the Ice Rink (seen above from the cafe bar gallery) beckons outside for frosty fun and ice skating, and inside the Museum, the fabulous Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition is on show as well as the dinosaurs, and lots, lots more.

 

Do come and visit over the festive season and remember we're closed from Christmas Eve until and including Boxing Day, 24 - 26 December.

 

Find out what's on over the festive season

 

Look out for the festive Species of the day on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and a very special last species on 31 December.

 

Happy holidays!

bringing-up-breakfast-700.jpg

Here is one of my favourite images from the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition this year, from the Ten Years and Under category. 'Bringing back breakfast' by Lucas Marsalle. Beautiful and somehow makes me feel Christmassy.
1

ice-skating-500.jpg

It’s snowing in London as I write this, and we’re all wondering if it’s going to be a white Christmas for a change...

 

Of course, the Museum in winter is always a festive place, whether there’s snow or not. So I thought it was a good idea to recommend a few especially festive reasons why it’s a great time to visit. You can also find more details about these suggestions on our Festive season web pages.

 

Twinkle, twinkle Look up at the canopy of twinkling Christmas lights in the tall palm trees as you come out of the underground subway tunnel exit towards the Museum, from South Kensington tube station. There are about 76,000 lights I read somewhere, and it really is an unmissable sight.

 

Skate on Join the skating fun, graceful or not, on the Ice Rink outside the Museum. If you’re not up for the action, there’s always the overlooking Café Bar and viewing platform, or you can just wonder around and grab a burger or ride the vintage carousel.

 

Dinosaur roar Once inside, the obvious place to head for with the kids is the Dinosaurs gallery and our moving T.rex (although one of my favourite bits are the film posters display featuring dinosaurs and the dino toys exhibit).

 

Scary and Spacey If the queue for Dinosaurs is mental, then I suggest heading off to Creepy Crawlies or the Earth galleries. The Earth galleries escalator leading up into a giant Earth globe (and higher earthy galleries) is another exciting experience with its huge inter-galactic wall on your left and  spacey Hendrix soundtrack (bet you didn't know it was Hendrix!)


Diamonds are forever The Vault gallery at the end of the historic Minerals gallery on the floor above the Central Hall is dazzling, and it's rather hidden.


Science fiction Go up in the glass lift to Cocoon in our new Darwin Centre and you'll embark on a futuristic trip into science and high-tech exploration. Play with the touch screens throughout to tour to have fun as explorers and scientists. Look out for the Planning a trip interactive game.


Polar chill out  Pop into the Attenborough Studio and watch the beautifully calming Wildscapes short film as you get immersed in arctic scenes and African plains.

 

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-www/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/swpy/2009/popup/14.jpgWild world Don’t miss the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition – it is full of gorgeous photos from the winers of the 2009 competition. And some that really capture the seasonal spirit, like the Ice Fox pictured here.

 

Reindeer story Take the kids to a storytelling puppet workshop like the one about Rudolph the reindeer on 30 December.

 

Become a scientist Drop in to our Investigate centre in the Museum basement to examine animal, plant and geological treasures like scientists do.

 

Festive talk Open the mind a bit and join the debate at one of our daytime Nature Live talks. There's a a good wintry one coming on New Year's eve about hunting meteorites on ice.

 

We've also got some ideas for things you can do online and in your area on our Wildlife in winter web pages.

 

And of course you can join in or start your own discussions on NaturePlus as well as reading our blogs.

 

Happy holidays and I'll catch up with you in the new year.