I love how my children have no fear of bugs, beetles, insects and the likes. One of their favourite games is to play explorers in our back garden and to see what creatures they find. Mostly woodlice and slugs, I’m sorry to report, but every so often there will be a snail or worm or even a ladybird.
So I knew they would love Wriggle, The Wonderful World of Worms, a new exhibition exploring all things worm-like, which opened at the National Museum Cardiff on Saturday, and which runs until 30th September 2017.
I headed there on Tuesday with my two boys and they loved learning about different kinds of worms, from the common earthworm and how its poo helps plants grow, to countries where certain types of worms are eaten as delicacies, not to mention discovering some of the biggest kinds of worms, including the Minhaocao, which can grow up to 150ft long, and preys on large mammals.
Located on the third floor of the Natural Sciences gallery, after the humpback whale skeleton, the exhibition is perfect for children because it is so hands-on, with interactive displays, costumes to wear including scientists and the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and so much fascinating trivia.
As soon as we entered the exhibition, my boys made a bee-line for the Wriggloo, designed to give you an idea of life as an earthworm, complete with tunnels to crawl through, and animals above you, eyeing you up for dinner. Little Man O, my 4.5-year-old middle child, loved the glass-fronted wormery, where you can see the creatures burying through the layers of soil.
He also thought the “What kind of worm are you?” on-screen quiz was great fun and enjoyed learning about unusual kinds of worms, such as those which live on sea-creatures.
Toddler Boy I, my two-year-old youngest child, loved the glass-topped floor displays, which I remember from previous exhibitions in this gallery, but which are new for him.
There was a small section dedicated to worms in mythology and popular culture, such as Julia Donaldson’s Superworm and Roald Dahl’s Mrs Twit mixing worms in with her husband’s spaghetti. Toddler enjoyed flicking through the books, while his big brother watched the video just above of villagers from Ambon Island in Indonesia catching laor worms in nets, to then eat as a delicacy.
The real life of worms is certainly as exciting as their fictional counterparts – in fact, after visiting Wriggle I’d say even more so.
My boys had a great time exploring Wriggle – not to mention the rest of the museum. They can’t wait to visit again with their big sister, six-year-old Little Miss E, and maybe even take part in one of the many free activities taking place over the summer.
Wriggle runs at National Museum Cardiff until 30th September 2017, and is free. Please note the museum is closed on Mondays (apart from most bank holiday Mondays) and if you are visiting before 4th July, the Evolution of Wales gallery (home to the dinosaurs) is closed for maintenance and improvements (including the installation of a new life-sized recreation of the new Welsh dinosaur, Dracoraptor hanigani.
To read more about the rest of the National Museum Cardiff, read our review.