From the very outset of my visit to the Australian Museum, I found myself struck by the creativity, whimsicality and variety of the displays on show. Approaching the steps of the museum, I was greeted by this amusing diorama, along with a plethora of vibrant posters announcing the current Tyrannosaurs exhibition which will be showing until the 27th of July 2014.
- A welcome from a window
This Tyrannosaurs exhibition is the first of its kind worldwide. As the name suggests, the focus is on tyrannosaurs. The various specimens, multimedia exhibits and information provided on this family of dinosaurs are showcased with spectacular success.
- Butterflies from the Birds & Insects exhibit
Tickets for the Tyrannosaurs exhibition also allow for general admission to the rest of the museum, so I would recommend that visitors set aside a minimum of three hours to allow for exploration the other exhibits. (Also be sure to pick up a map while at the front counter so you can plan your journey around exhibits you are keen on experiencing.)
- A sole tyrannosaur display guards the entrance to the exhibit
Located on the ground floor, the opening of the Tyrannosaurs exhibition is impossible to miss. The bold, green ‘Tyrannosaurs’ splayed across the wall hints toward the bold, vibrant creativity you will encounter within. Inside, visitors discover that tyrannosaurs were so much more than their general reputation for being enormous and terrifying. They came in a wide variety of shapes and forms, ranging from a mere one metre in length to much, much larger.
- A large tyrannosaur
The Tyrannosaurs exhibit makes use of multi-media forms and interactive activities which thoroughly engage its visitors. Near the entrance of the exhibit, a fun hypothetical question was posed: what if tyrannosaurs came to Sydney? This hypothetical was then explored through the visual simulation of tyrannosaurs of varying sizes clambering through the city, wandering near the Harbour Bridge and up the steps of the Opera House.
- A fun hypothetical and a creative visual display
Another exhibit I particularly enjoyed involved the shadow of the largest tyrannosaur skeleton on display.
- A tyrannosaur practises shadow puppetry
Following this, you will discover skeleton displays, dioramas, jaws, claws and other bones, each with their accompanying explanatory notes. But it is the variety which sets this exhibition apart. There are fossils for visitors to touch; documentaries to watch; interactive games to play, and through it all, the roaring of tyrannosaurs (or what is believed to be the sound of tyrannosaurs) is intermittently heard through the rooms. Children, families, adults and couples wander through the exhibition exclaiming, touching, reading, and of course posing for photographs besides the more intimidating displays.
- Tyrannosaurs may have been covered in feathers
The tyrannosaur exhibit did not take too long to explore; only approximately half an hour to an hour. Afterwards, my friend and I set off to explore the rest of the museum.
- A creative insect display
Also located on the ground level is the Skeletons display. As you enter the hall, a sign proclaims, You are standing in Long Gallery hall. We are the oldest museum in Australia, and opened to the public in 1855. If you are interested in the history of Sydney or cultural studies, you are sure to appreciate the rest of the information that was on that sign.
- More dinosaurs
I must say that I very much enjoyed the skeleton hall, and my favourite display of these was the fish.
- skeletons of massive fish in the Australian Museum’s Long Gallery hall
A touch of the whimsical is once again witnessed through displays like the following, also found in the Skeletons exhibit.
- A touch of the whimsical
The last exhibition to be found on the ground level was the Indigenous Australians exhibition. Showcasing the art and culture of Indigenous Australians, this exhibit is also well worth a visit.
- The Indigenous Australians exhibit
Level 1 of the Australian Museum has a vast collection of minerals on display. These were a great source of fascination for my geologist friend who accompanied me on this trip to the museum. And though I was no expert on minerals or rocks, I did appreciate the way the shiny ones sparkled. (I kid, the ones that did not sparkle were a source of interest also.)
- From the Mineral Collection on Level 1
However, it was level two that contained the greatest variety of exhibits. From Surviving Australia, the Extinctions Gallery, more Dinosaurs (including non-Tyrannosaur ones) and Birds and Insects; the exhibits were colourful, varied and spectacular.
- The dinosaur exhibit, including non-tyrannosaurs.
Be sure to always look up for the unexpected displays which hang from the ceiling. Also note that some of the animals are alive. I confess I suffered a bit of a shock when a lizard I had been gazing at intently suddenly started moving. However, this lovely little creature I did recognise as live from the moment I saw him.
- A live exhibit at the Australian Museum
Lastly, be sure to visit the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, showing until 1 June 2014. This was another personal favourite of mine. I truly enjoyed reading the captions as they tended to tell the stories behind the images. Unfortunately, due to lack of time, I was not able to stay at this exhibit for as long as I might have wished.
- Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, showing at the Australian Museum until 1 June 2014.
- Photography exhibit - be sure to read the captions
Overall, my experience at the Australian Museum was engaging, informative and thoroughly enjoyable. Be sure to visit before the 27th of July 2014 to see the Tyrannosaurs exhibition.
- Sea Life
For more information visit:
Tyrannosaurs exhibition: http://australianmuseum.net.au/landing/tyrannosaurs/
Wildlife photographer of the year exhibition: http://australianmuseum.net.au/event/Wildlife-Photographer
Where: 6 College St Sydney NSW 2010 (on the corner of College Street and William Street). The Australian Museum is also conveniently close to Hyde Park and St Mary's Cathedral.
Why: For a fun, interactive and enjoyable insight into the world of science.
Cost: Tyrannosaurs Admission (includes general entry):
Family (2 adults, 2 children): $62
Child (5-15 years): $14
Children under 5: FREE
Purchase tickets online, by phone or in person.
For more information visit http://australianmuseum.net.au/landing/tyrannosaurs/#more
When: The Australian Museum is open from 9:30am-5:00pm every day except Christmas.
Good for kids: Most certainly. Young children are likely to appreciate the interactive displays, the colourful exhibits, and particularly the intimidating dinosaurs. For very young children, be sure to visit Kidspace located on level 2 of the museum.