A review of Snakes! – the new exhibition at National Museum Cardiff this summer. Plus win a family ticket (AD)

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I was a little apprehensive walking through the door into Snakes, the new exhibition at National Museum Cardiff this summer.

I don’t have a phobia or anything… but I do find the slithering reptiles a little scary and so it was with a little trepidation I approached this new exhibition, which has arrived in Cardiff as part of a UK tour.

My children had no such qualms. They were keen to see everything Snakes! had to offer, enthusiastically moving from one exhibit to the next, trying out the interactive displays, marvelling at the giant snake photos and watching the live snakes behind their glass cases.


Snakes! National Museum Cardiff



Snakes National Museum Cardiff

Snakes National Museum Cardiff

Yes, live snakes! There are four living, breathing snakes inside this exhibition, including a boa constrictor and a royal python.

We saw two of them moving around, while the others were curled up sleeping.

Their presence will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the new ticketed/paid-for exhibition, which has overtaken one of the ground floor galleries until September.

But even without the reptiles there’s plenty to engage families.

Snakes! National Museum Cardiff

Some of my children’s favourite elements included the weighing scales where you can see how your weight compares to some of the world’s biggest and deadliest snakes. Me and the three children combined didn’t even come close to some of them, which is a scary thought indeed.

My eldest two children, aged nine and seven, enjoyed the giant interactive quiz where visitors have to open the doors to see if their answers are correct, as well as a board featuring 12 draws, each of which opens to reveal some kind of snake trivia, including sounds and videos. My five year old also really liked the snake-themed colouring in sheets and foam block snake jigsaw and the three of them enjoyed the giant jigsaw.

Snakes! National Museum Cardiff


Snakes! National Museum Cardiff

We all found the skeleton of the Burmese python fascinating. Sitting alongside the skeleton of a piglet makes you realise just how deadly these creatures can be.

The display boards drip-feed fascinating history about snakes. Snakes first appeared around 100 million years ago, evolving from a lizard-like ancestor. Fossils show that early snakes had shorter bodies and four legs, with limbless snakes first appearing around 80 million years ago. A giant map shows where some of the deadliest species now live.

Snakes! National Museum Cardiff

Snakes! National Museum Cardiff

Snakes! National Museum Cardiff

The exhibition also focuses on the role of snakes in popular culture, with a video installation of famous films including snakes including Harry Potter and Indiana Jones. There’s also a nod to snakes in ancient culture too, with a statue of Perseus holding the severed head of Medusa, whose hair was famously turned into snakes and whose gaze could turn people into stone.

We were in the gallery for around an hour and a quarter, before heading off to explore the rest of the museum (which is free to visit). Some of our favourite exhibits elsewhere at National Museum Cardiff include the dinosaur area, featuring skeletons and reconstructions, the humpback whale skeleton in the natural history gallery, and the Clore gallery, where you can get hands-on with historical artefacts.

Snakes! National Museum Cardiff

Snakes! National Museum Cardiff
Snakes! is at National Museum Cardiff until 15 September 2019. Adults £9, children 4-18 £5, family – one adult and up to three children £17; two adults and two children £20. (Prices include charitable donation to the museum; cheaper tickets available without donation.) Buy your tickets on the day of your visit. Tickets cannot be bought in advance. Last entry 4pm.

See the website for details of Hissy Handling sessions on Wednesdays 7, 14, 21 and 28 August, costing £5 per person. Must be booked in advance. 

Snakes is a touring exhibition created by Blue Tokay, with additional content from the natural sciences collections of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. The exhibition is supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery

Snakes! National Museum Cardiff


Win a family ticket to see Snakes! at National Museum Cardiff

One lucky Cardiff Mummy Says reader will be able to take their family to see the exhibition for free, thanks to this brilliant giveaway, in association with National Museum Cardiff.

The prize includes one family ticket for Snakes! for two adults and two children or one adult and three children aged 4-18 to any available session subject to availability.

For a chance to win, leave your answer to this question on the Snakes! post on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.

Closing date for entries is Thursday 25 July at 11.59pm.

Q. Which character from Greek mythology had
a head of live, venomous snakes in place of hair?


Terms and conditions:

  1. There is one prize, consisting of a family ticket for four (up to two adults and two children or one adult and three children, aged 4-18) to see Snakes! at National Museum Cardiff.
  2. The exhibition is open until 15 September and the prize is valid for any session subject to availability and advance confirmation from the Museum.
  3. There is no alternative prize and the prize is non-transferable.
  4. Closing date for entries is Thursday 25 July 2019, 11.59pm.
  5. Entrants must be 18 years or over.
  6. To enter, leave your answer to the above question in the comments section of the Snakes! giveaway post on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.
  7. The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries submitted before the closing date. The winner will be informed with a direct Facebook message letting them know they have won. All reasonable attempts will be made to contact the winner. If the winner cannot be contacted within 7 days the prize will be forfeited and offered to another eligible entrant.
  8. Cardiff Mummy Says reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time. Any new terms and conditions will be published here.
  9. Cardiff Mummy Says reserves the right to end this promotion at any time and without notice.
  10. Cardiff Mummy Says cannot be held responsible for the failure of third party organisations to provide the prize, or for loss, damage or non-arrival of the prizes.
  11. Relatives of Cathryn Scott, author of Cardiff Mummy Says, may not enter the giveaway.
  12. Employees and their relatives of National Museum Cardiff and National Museum Wales may not enter the giveaway.
  13. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook



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