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Life in the Dark opens 13 July

Discover dark mysteries and reveal hidden light in a new family exhibition, free for children.

  • Experience what life is like in the darkness of the nocturnal, caves and the deep sea.
  • Test your senses with touchable taxidermy, smell pods and a sensational light show.
  • Get the chance to have your artwork displayed by the Museum.
  • Free for children aged 16 and under.

This summer, explore the extraordinary diversity of animals that survive and thrive in a world without light. From the dead of night, to the darkest caves and into the deepest oceans, there is undiscovered life in the dark.

This family-friendly exhibition will delve into the darkest corners of earth to reveal a vibrant, buzzing ecosystem as rich and diverse as any fuelled by sunlight. Utilising the latest scientific and technological advances, the Museum has researched into a huge variety of specimens and species previously inaccessible, revealing more about life on our planet and inspiring a love of nature.

From fish to foxes, bats to boas, visitors will get up close to a huge variety of creatures specially selected from the Museum’s world-leading collection, each with their own story to tell. Discover the superb adaptations that allow animals to flourish in darkness and reveal how they use their supersenses to find food, find a mate and avoid being eaten.

Professor Geoff Boxshall, science lead on the exhibition, says, 'At any one time, half the world is in darkness, and no sunlight ever reaches the deep sea or underground caves.  Yet the night-time world is teeming with life and both the deep sea and caves are inhabited by a myriad of species. Even in the absence of light, life has found a way.'

As well as coming face-to-face with some of the planet’s most elusive animals, visitors will experience science through immersive installations, transporting them from the chaos of a bat filled cave, past live specimens and onto the spectacular luminescence of a deep sea light show. Visitors will be among the first to see recently identified specimens, entirely new to science, before exploring the rest of the Museum, one of London’s leading visitor attractions, to learn more about evolution and diversity on earth.

Dr Alex Burch, Head of Exhibitions, Learning and Outreach at the Natural History Museum, says, ‘The specimens on show are part of the world’s greatest collection. We have also developed a series of exciting and captivating experiences, from the theatrical to the fantastic, allowing visitors of all ages to immerse themselves in these unexplored habitats, bringing them closer to the natural world.’

A celebration of biodiversity and the power of nature, Life in the Dark will take visitors on a journey into some of the most challenging habitats on earth, where only the most ingenious and adaptable creatures survive. From tree-tops to sea beds, Museum scientists continue to research these fascinating creatures and their habitats to build our understanding of the natural world, and the way we protect it.

Be enlightened by the darkness at this summer’s most fascinating exploration through the natural world, and discover that when the lights go out, the action begins.

The Museum is delighted to announce that children (aged 16 and under) will visit Life in the Dark free of charge throughout the entire exhibition run, in continued support of our family audiences.

Dates and times: 13 July - 6 January 2019, 10.00 - 17.50 (last admission 17.15)
Special free event: Lates: Life in the Dark, 27 July 2018, 18.00-22.00

  • Free to children aged 16 and under
  • Donation adult £14.00
  • Donation concession £9.50
  • Non-donation adult £12.50
  • Non-donation concession £8.50
  • Online donation adult £13.00
  • Online donation concession  £8.50
  • Online non-donation adult £11.50
  • Online non-donation concession £7.50

The Museum is a charitable institution. If you include a small donation with your tickets, you help us to continue our pioneering scientific research, education and conservation. 

Location: Waterhouse Gallery
Nearest tube: South Kensington

Notes for editors

Images: Please download and credit: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London (Link not for publication).

Media contact: Tel: +44 (0) 20 7942 5654/+44 (0)7799 690151 Email:

The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity.

The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome more than 4.5 million visitors each year and our website receives over 500,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects.