Cocoon highlights

Get a taste of some of Cocoon’s incredible exhibits, installations, films, activities and scientific encounters in our highlights slideshow. There are many more to surprise and excite you when you visit.

Glimpse more of the buildling's splendour in our architectural highlights

View from the 7th floor of the cocoon

Step out of the glass lift as you start your Cocoon journey downwards. From the 7th floor, look out at the top of the magnificent, futuristic building you are about to enter. The views from here are breathtaking.

The Intro table in the Darwin Centre

Marvel at the huge, beautiful translucent table with over 120 of our insect and plant specimens inside as you come out of the lift. Look closely at the bright  butterflies and bees, or the scary spiders and pretty poppies.

Touch-screen displays let you find out more about the spectacular specimens. Use your NaturePlus card here and start collecting content to explore later online.

Using Nature Plus at the Intro table

Enhance your Cocoon experience using the free NaturePlus card you collect at the Darwin Centre welcome area. Try it out at the first display table. To activate NaturePlus touch the NaturePlus symbol, select the content you are interested in and scan your NaturePlus card in the nearby barcode scanner. 

Follow the on-screen prompts to select the content and save it to explore later online. Look out for other exhibits with scanners to use NaturePlus. Hang on to your card to view what you saved online.

Find out about NaturePlus online

'Meeting your guides' projection

Once inside Cocoon, meet your science guides, Museum insect and plant experts Jan (above), Blanca, Mark and Max. They are projected life-size on the wall and welcome you to Cocoon. You can also watch their videos on-screen. They describe their curiosity about the natural world, and re-appear at various places on your tour.

Find out about our science guides in the Curious people video

Projected biodiversity graphics on the wall in Cocoon

Pass under huge stunning plant and insect projections on the building's walls as you begin your journey down through Cocoon. These striking installations create a unique atmosphere throughout the Cocoon experience.

Boy using butterfly identify screen in Coon

Become a butterfly expert and identify species using the fun, animated What's in a name touch-exhibit at the Organising nature display  Here, you will discover how Museum scientists order natural history collections and how they choose names for new species. 

Glass cabinet in cocoon

Witness the variety in nature as you pass the large glass specimen case filled with over 300 insect and plant specimens. It demonstrates the way scientists categorise living things into groups. Encounter very strange and contrasting species here. Look out for the elephant beetle over 15cm tall and the 70cm-long kiwi fruit! 

Touch the glass to light up the specimens and investigate further.

Close-up of a mosquito model in Cocoon

Spend some time at the fascinating Decoding DNA area. Look through the glass window into a working molecular lab where DNA is extracted from specimens. Over 3,000 mosquito species are studied here. Exhibits and videos reveal more about DNA and the spread of disease. 

Play The Challenge interactive game to control malaria, and inspect the large female mosquito model shown above.

Visitors playing the 'Planning Your Trip' interactive game

Be surprised by the eye-catching wall display of fieldwork expedition equipment as you start to descend the 6th floor. Try Planning an expedition to South America or Scotland on the big touch-screen interactive displays. Follow the video guide's instructions and see how well organised you really would be for such a field trip. 

Watch some exciting Into the wild science video diaries in nearby displays.

Visitors observing the scientists while they work

Experience the life of a working Museum scientist as you view the Specimen Preparation Area (SPA) on the 6th floor. Talk to scientific staff using the 2-way microphone as they prepare and conserve specimens collected from around the world.

On Thursdays you can see V Factor volunteers at work in the SPA.

A visitor at the Look closer display

Zoom in on tiny creatures in beautiful microscopic detail using the touch-screens at the Look closer display on the 6th floor. Have fun trying to identify and match the mystery specimen with help from your science guide on the accompanying video. 

Through the glass window observe the Sackler Biodiversity Imaging Laboratory where scientists use compound microscopes (to examine tiny specimens) and herbscan machines for high-quality images.

A visitor viewing the contents of a Collection Drawer

Pull out and peer into collection drawers at the Looking after the collection display area on the 5th floor. Feel the excitement of exploring the collection. Glimpse these precious collections through 4-cm-thick fire- and pest-proof glass windows. 

Shortly you will end your Cocoon tour, so it's time to say goodbye. But leave some comments at the interactive touch screens as you go. And don't forget you can continue exploring Cocoon later with your NaturePlus card. 

Find out more about NaturePlus online

V Factor - from visitor to volunteer
Diatom slides

Our V Factor volunteers are helping to improve our collections care while gaining valuable experience.

Come and see our V Factor volunteers and scientists in action in the Specimen Preparation Area every Thursday.

Find out more about V Factor

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