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.
From 20-24 May and 3-7 June 2013 the Darwin Centre’s Cocoon will be closed for essential work. It will be open as usual between 25 May and 2 June 2013. We apologise for any inconvenience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Pick up a 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