*In association with National Museum Cardiff
Even before we entered National Museum Cardiff, we could tell by the giant footprints on the grass outside that Dinosaur Babies was going to be no ordinary exhibition.
Our holiday to Rome meant that we missed the official launch on Saturday 27th May, as well as all the dino-tastic events around the city in the run-up, such as a giant dinosaur poop on Queen Street. Since we arrived back home, my children have been super keen to see the exhibition so we headed down on Thursday after school as part of our role a blogger ambassadors for National Museum Wales.
Dinosaur Babies is a really fun and exciting exploration of the giant pre-historic creatures and their young, with full-size dinosaur skeletons, models of dinosaur eggs and embryos, a Big Dig Pit where children can practice their palaeontology and excavation skills, a dinosaur children can sit on, as well as plenty of hands-on dinosaur-related activities and games. The rest of the museum is free to enter, but charges apply for Dinosaur Babies (see below for details). In our opinion, it is worth the money.
Admittedly it was a bit of a rush going straight from school because the exhibition closes at 4.45pm with last entry at 4pm – but the big upside was that we had the place completely to ourselves for almost an hour.
There’s a great range of activities for different age groups, and all three of my children found plenty to keep them occupied.
Toddler Boy I, my 3¼-year-old youngest child, loved the dino dressing up outfits and tails, as well as the Big Dig Pit, a square pit filled with rubber shavings, where he used plastic buckets and tools to discover dinosaur eggs and bones hiding underneath.
Little Man O, 5¾, thought the large magnetic dinosaur jigsaws on one of the walls was brilliant fun, especially as they each had a dinosaur on one side and a skeleton on the other. He also loved the moving, roaring dinosaur, which became even more fun when a staff member told us it was operated by a motion sensor detector so he knew how to set it off.
Little Miss E enjoyed learning more about the different types of dinosaur eggs, with replicas you can touch and feel. She also spent quite a bit of time in the craft and book area where she drew a brilliant stegosaurus.
My personal favourite was the giant dinosaur skeleton in the centre of the exhibition. This, along with the leg bone and skull, gives a real sense of just how huge and imposing they were.
There was plenty of information on the walls about the various exhibits and what life was like for dinosaurs and their young. However, my children were too busy being hands-on with the exhibits to take too much notice. I certainly learned a lot though!
With three children to entertain, I thought this exhibition catered well for different age groups. The exhibits are so visual and hands-on that children are learning without even realising it. However, there’s also enough information on the walls and more in-depth activities to keep older children engaged too. We’ll definitely be going along again before it finishes in November!
Dinosaur Babies runs at National Museum Cardiff until 5th November 2017, open 10am-4.45pm with last entry at 4pm. The museum is closed on Mondays. Entry costs £7 for adults, £5 for concessions £3 for children and £17/£13 (2+2/1+3) for families. Children aged 3 and under are free. Advanced booking online recommend or on the day the museum. Entry to the rest of the museum is free, although donations are appreciated to support its work.
While you’re there also check out Wriggle: The Wonderful World of Worms (read our review here), the Gillian Ayres exhibition (review here), as well as the rest of the museum, including the natural history galleries, Evolution of Wales display featuring the museum’s famous dinosaur skeletons, and art galleries. The museum also runs weekly pre-school Toddler Time sessions on Friday afternoons during term-time (review here).