A totally unique Museum experience

Interact with the science of nature like never before in the state-of-the-art cocoon building. Take a self-guided tour and witness real specimens, incredible displays and animated interactive activities. Get up close to scientists at work.


Entrance is free
Duration: approximately 45 minutes.
No advance booking is required.

Your Cocoon experience begins on the 7th floor of the building, which you reach by glass lift. Admire the breathtaking views here and the beautiful displays. Inside Cocoon, wind your way down the gently sloping curved walkways past incredible specimens and exciting activities.Your journey takes you down 2 floors on several levels and you exit on the 5th floor.

Meet our science guides
Cocoon wall projection of flea and plants

Atmospheric wall displays

Start your tour with the help of our Museum science guides who greet you on wall projections and video. These virtual guides re-appear elsewhere on your tour. They could be working for real in the Specimen Preparation Area. Take a look as you pass by.

Huge displays and installations

Discover 100s of real specimens from huge tarantulas to metre-high plants. Highlights include atmospheric giant wall specimen displays to films and high-tech installations.

Activities and adventures

Take part in lots of hands-on interactive activities as you explore science and nature. Many of Cocoon’s displays invite you to touch to explore exhibits. Animated touch-screens encourage you to join in nature study, scientific discovery, plan expeditions or identify species.

Our historical heart
Touch screen Leafing through the herbarium exhibit

Rare herbarium book

At the core of Cocoon are the Museum’s vital plant and insect collections that go back 400 years to the Museum's origins. View some of our most historic specimens and books for the first time in the historical display area at the start of the tour. Learn about great collectors and naturalists. Turn pages of virtual herbarium sheets and see exquisite 17th-century illustrations.

Scientists in action

For the first time the hidden world of scientific research is opened up, revealing real scientists at work naming, analysing and preserving specimens. Through viewing desks, video and intercom, look in on laboratories and witness state-of-the-art equipment in use.
Find out about Science in the Darwin Centre

NaturePlus card

Pick up a card

Pick up a NaturePlus card

Pick up your free NaturePlus card at the Darwin Centre welcome area. Use it to collect highlights at Cocoon exhibits where you see scanners, and explore these later online.
Find out more about NaturePlus online

Cocoon is supported by GlaxoSmithKline and Anglo American