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10 Posts tagged with the ice_rink tag

Late autumn and winter wouldn’t be the same without the Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and outdoor Ice Rink.


The Waterhouse Gallery is now filled with amazing images of life under the sun, the moon, the stars, the rocks and water.



The Wildlife Photographer exhibition opened in October to one of the busiest weeks on record and big media attention following the 50th competition’s awards ceremony.


The winners were announced by Sir David Attenborough and HRH The Duchess of Cambridge at our glitzy event here.

Getting close to the back-lit photographs in the exhibition is the best way to appreciate the atmosphere and drama of each. There seem to be more creative images this year, moving ones too, which are really cool, so look out for these. And it's great to see more variety in the species photographed. Especially to find creatures like snakes, spiders and scorpions caught so enigmatically on camera. And there are, as usual, some glorious winter scenes to get us in the festive mood.


Snowbird, by Edwin Sahlin from Sweden, was a finalist in the 15-17 Years category. Edwin used cheese and sausages to coax the Siberian jay captured in this shot.

Outside the Museum, the winter wonderland is all-embracing as the Ice Rink comes alive with skaters whizzing around the rink's giant Christmas tree. All framed by 1000s of fairy lights shimmering on the towering plane trees. Year after year, passers by stop to take pictures of this magical sight.


Our Ice Rink is open late every night so you can swish about on the ice after hours. There are penguin helpers for those unsure on their feet (or blades), and for non-skaters there’s a great view (and plenty of refreshments) from the café bar.


This is one of the best seasonal delights of working at the Museum, seeing this sight every morning and evening on my way in and out of ‘the office’. But one I’m sad to say I’m going to miss out on in the future.


I am leaving the Museum for pastures new. I hope you’ve enjoyed my What’s new at the Museum blog over the years. And I’m sure others will bring you news of the many exciting things coming up in the months to come.



Over and out, Rose de Freitas, What’s new at the Museum blogger.



Enjoy the festivities at the Museum

Posted by Rose Dec 23, 2012

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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

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.
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.'



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.


Feeling festive yet?

Posted by Rose Dec 9, 2011

Feast your eyes on these cuties that greet our Museum shop visitors. Our seasonal selection of soft toys are as cuddly as they come, from penguins to arctic foxes and reindeer to polar bears.

New festive gift shop recommendations this year are the big radio-controlled inflatable clownfish and shark air swimmers, and the little wind-up dinosaurs. Of course no home should be without either a cow poo photo frame or rhino-poo-in-a-box banana tree kit, and there's more to choose from in the Museum's range of green gifts. Browse our online shop for Christmas gift ideas or the four Museum shops on your visit.


'Hello. I'm more cuddly than you...' 'Yeah but I'm a dinosaurrrr' Click the images to enlarge.

Our Festive season pages are swirling with suggestions for entertainment and activities over the Christmas period and the outdoors Ice Rink is open late over the holidays, except for Christmas Day.


The next special festive event is our Winter Wonderland Night Safari with MasterCard on Monday evening, 12 December. This seasonal Central Hall tour promises to reveal some intriguing specimens, including real mammoth hair, a polar bear fossil discovered in London, and Dinosaurs by torchlight (above), as well as a look at the botany of Christmas.


Following that is the kids' favourite sleepover, Dino Claus on 17 December, which also includes a Dinosaurs torchlit tour. And if you can't make the Santa-led sleepover in December, there are more Dino Snores coming up next year year - tickets a terrrific Christmas gift for little dinosaur lovers?


There are lots of other events, talks and activities to enjoy over the festive period, whatever age you are and the unmissable Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 exhibition, with beautiful, wintry award-winning photos available in the exhibition shop or as prints online. (Note the last day to order in time for Christmas delivery to the mainland UK is 19 December and 15 December for prints.)



The Museum is only closed for 3 days over the festive break, on 24 to 26 December inclusive. So come and visit during your days off work. And if you can't make it, remember you can always shop online or find ideas of wildlife in winter to explore near you.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.
A lucky schoolgirl gliding on ice with The Snowman


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


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


Tupele Dorgu, Coronation Street's Kelly Crabtree


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



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


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


Antony Costa of boy band Blue


Ben Adams of A1 with friend


Stars get together for final photos


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


Happy festive season to you all

Posted by Rose Dec 22, 2010

'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.



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!


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.

It was a star-studded week for the Museum's Ice Rink which opened to the public last Friday.


Singer Leona Lewis performed on the stage overlooking the rink, along with popular boy band The Wanted (above), while skaters spun gracefully on the ice.


The stars were here to launch the exciting Kinect for Xbox 360. The new Kinect motion-sensor gaming system uses revolutionary technology to make it a controller-free gaming experience - you become the controller with a wave of your hand or the sound of your voice.


Among the other stars who tried out Kinect on the night, was TV presenter Kate Thornton (pictured below).


And the great news is that you can try out Kinect in the Ice Rink's Café Bar - there are 2 consoles and helpers to hand.


During the event The Wanted boys also took to the ice for a photo shoot (shown below).


Alex Lawson, our Development manager who helped organise the launch describes the event:


"It was possibly the busiest run-up to an event I've ever seen. The logistics of building stages and platforms on ice in a matter of days were mind-boggling. But it was a great success. Although I think I should have had a pedometer on the night - would love to know how much I walked - at least  miles?!


"The stars even got to enjoy a brief glimpse behind the scenes at the Museum as we walked them round to the Ice Rink site past possibly the oldest object on the planet in our collection - the 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite in the Mineralogy collection."


Read the news story about the Stars on ice Kinect launch


Find out about the Ice Rink


Enjoy these pictures from the night. Select the photos to enlarge them.


Leona Lewis and her band performing at the Kinect launch at the Museum's Ice Rink


Leona Lewis performs


Boy band The Wanted on stage


Need a penguin helper Wanted boys? And skates might help.


The Museum stunningly lit up for the occasion


TV presenter Kate Thornton has a go on Kinect


Hollyoaks actors Matt Liddler (Max) and Darren Jeffries (OB) posing.


The Ice Rink steams off

Posted by Rose Jan 20, 2010
Snow on snow - an extra bit of magic this year

One of my favourite recollections of the Ice Rink this year was our snowy return to work in the first week of January and seeing our outdoor Ice Rink piled up with snow. The ice marshals were working furiously to, well, remove the ice and snow, on top of the ice and snow. Seemed ironic somehow.

But at the weekend, on 17 January, the Ice Rink closed, as it usually does in mid January. No more will we see skaters gliding by on our way in and out of the Museum. Bye bye festive season.


So what happens to the Ice Rink ice (all 150,000 litres of it)? Well it gets steamed.


ice-rink-dismantle2-500.jpgThe event's project manager, Sherri-Louise Rowe, explained the process: "The glycol - a syrupy kind of concoction used in anti-freeze - that usually goes through the chillers to freeze the ice on the rink, is redirected through the boiler truck, heating the pipes and therefore melting the ice. The melted ice then flows away in the drains under the gardens."


And lots of steam is produced as a result.

Three days after the meltdown, all you can see in this recent picture (left) is a little patch of stubborn ice.


The chillers were turned off yesterday. Today the pipe work under the rink was packed up.


Dismantling continues and the interior of the cafe bar is almost stripped. The outside chalets and catering huts have been taken down.


This year's Ice Rink was a really successful one and we had about 110,000 skaters who visited. It was made especially magical thanks to the exciting snow storms we experienced over the Christmas holidays.


Now it's time to replenish the Museum's front lawns for spring and to welcome the next outdoor exhibition.


Our festive highlights

Posted by Rose Dec 18, 2009


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. 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.

Dancing on ice at the Museum

Posted by Rose Nov 3, 2009
Ice Age comes to the Museum, once again

In just one day’s time, on 5 November to be precise, we open our popular Ice Rink to visitors. Now in its fifth year, it has become a regular winter attraction at the Museum and in London.


Over the past weeks we’ve been noticing how things have changed outside on the East lawn where our Butterfly Jungle exhibition stood earlier in the summer. The changes seemed to speed up suddenly when the clocks went back.


We can now admire the twinkle of Christmas lights in the tall London plane trees lining the Ice Rink and Museum grounds in the evening on the way home after work.


Last week, the 25-foot Christmas tree was delivered and its lights and decorations were being put up on Friday afternoon. The outdoor catering units have arrived on site and are being set up.


Most importanty, on Friday, 150,000 litres (150 cubic metres) of water was poured into both the main 1,050-square-metre Ice Rink and the smaller 100-square-metre junior rink for younger skaters. This is about half the amount of water it takes to fill a standard swimming pool (10x25m). The water has now completely frozen over and the ice is receiving its final polish today.

This year, the Ice Rink has a friendly new café bar which offers refreshments all through the day and stays open late for drinks at night. The fairground carousel returns for those who fancy a spin and if you just want to watch the action, there’s a great atmosphere on the viewing platform. Students can also take advantage of a special discount on Tuesdays which includes a free drink at the bar.

'Even better than skating in Central Park' said the Evening Standard

If you need skating tips or want to see what's on offer at the Museum's Ice Rink, have a look at our Essential skating information pages on the website. We have a brilliant new video which shows you some highlights. So no excuses, everyone can be a dancing-on-ice star.


Rain, shine or snow, 'tis a magical sight to see the skaters gliding around the Ice Rink outdoors, against the backdrop of our historic Waterhouse building and gardens. I'm sure this year will be as successful and merry as the last.