Like dinosaurs, mammoths have attained mythical status in our mindsets. Their lumbering-trunk-appeal is bound to herd in young and old visitors over the coming months to our latest exhibition, which is now open just in time for the half-term school holiday.
The most mammoth of all the different mammoth species, the Colombian, is sure to wow young and old.
Like a kid, after my first peek into the Mammoths: Ice Age Giants exhibition, I confess I'm still awed by the ginormousness of the exhibits and specimens. None of the early images I've seen in the lead-up truly convey the sheer size of these beasts and their characteristic body parts. This is a physical experience you need to go through yourself, to feel their presence and grasp their world.
Meet the early proboscideans - the first section of the exhibition is a touch-filled experience.
What's suprising too are all the different shapes and sizes that mammoths and their relatives come in. The spectacular show of proboscidean heads - showing the earlier predecessors of mammoths and elephants and the development of their trunks - makes a spectacular entrance.
The 42,000 year old remains of Lyuba, the baby woolly mammoth, are on display outside Russia and Asia for the very first time.
And of course, standing close to the enigmatic baby woolly mammoth, Lyuba, surrounded by displays that tell her story, is a unique thrill... As is turning a corner on your exhibition journey and coming face to face with a fearsome sabre-toothed cat and giant short-nosed bear (the biggest bear ever), two top predators of mammoths during the Ice Age.
The biggest bear ever and the fearsome sabre-toothed cat were large enough to take on mammoths.
Along with the big encounters, there are many little pleasures for small hands. Try and lift a mechanical trunk, pick up a heavy hay bale and do a spot of tusk jousting. It's not as easy as you think being a 5 metre tall mammoth.
How easy is it to control a long proboscis? Find out with these mechanical mimics.
There are many amazing specimens and fossils to linger beside, ranging from woolly mammoth fur, mammoth molars and poo... to the imposing American mastodon skeleton and the stunning African Savannah elephant skull towards the end of the exhibition.
An imposing American mastodon skeleton.
Elephants are the modern relatives of mammoths and the exhibition also examines this connection and their plight in the modern world.
An African elephant skull demonstrates the similarities between them and their mammoth relatives.
Look out for the skulls and specimens of other Ice Age animals that lived at the time of mammoths. My favourite is this pronghorn antelope skull and there's even a tiny cotton-tail rabbit skull that provides a stark contrast to the giants surrounding you.
The pronghorn antelope skull from one of the many animals that co-existed with the mammoths.
Museum mammoths expert, Adrian Lister, and exhibition project manager, Becca Jones, celebrate the opening at our VIP event.
Mammoths: Ice Age Giants is opent at the Museum until 7 September 2014. As The Times said of the exhibition: '...this is a family show to trumpet about.'
- Find out more about the Mammoths: Ice Age Giants exhibition
- Book tickets now for Mammoths: Ice Age Giants
- Introducing Lyuba, the most complete baby mammoth
- Enter the free prize draw to win a family holiday to Elephant Lodge and Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent
This exhibition was created by The Field Museum, Chicago.