Half term fun at the Horniman

With our half term plans somewhat scuppered by illness, we ended up staying very local – but that didn’t mean it was boring!  The weather was glorious last Thursday, so I took the children to one of our favourite local haunts – the wonderful Horniman Museum.  Alex was beside himself with excitement when he saw the posters for the new exhibition there, “Dinosaurs: Monster Families”!  So armed with our membership card, we headed straight to the exhibition space.

As someone who has to commute through South Kensington where the Natural History and Science Museums are, I should’ve expected big half term queues – but my heart did sink a little bit when I saw how long the exhibition queue was.  But Alex wouldn’t be deterred so we joined the back, and amazingly, it moved really quickly and we were in within 10 minutes.  Phew!

The space had been transformed and the children were really impressed with the huge skeletons (as was I).  And it was great having the controlled entry as it meant it wasn’t too busy inside the space, so we could see everything really well.


Sophie and Alex immediately got stuck in with the hands on activities, doing a spot of colouring while being watched by a skeleton dinosaur family!


As usual in Horniman exhibitions, there were loads of things to touch and feel – here’s Sophie exploring a nest of fossil dinosaur eggs (and deciding to give it a big cuddle!)


Their favourite space was the dino dig area where Sophie spent ages excavating some dinosaur bones!  And Alex enjoyed trying to piece together a dinosaur leg bone (rather unsuccessfully judging by the lumpy outcome below!)


They did enjoy the exhibition, and I’m sure we’ll pop back again soon – hopefully next time they’ll allow me a little more time to actually read the exhibition panels so I can learn something!

After a quick bite to eat, we headed out into the gardens to enjoy the sunshine.  First stop was the brilliant music garden – Sophie followed her brother around like a shadow copying everything he did!


Here they are playing a duet:


After a quick visit to the Animal Walk, the children decided to run around the gardens, enjoying the steep slopes everywhere!


We enjoyed spotting all the colours of the new flowers and blossoms that are popping up (don’t worry, he was way too short to reach any of the flowers) – can’t wait for Spring to arrive properly.


After we’d exhausted the gardens, we hopped back on the bus and headed to Dulwich Picture Gallery for a quick visit to the Nikolai Astrup exhibition.  It was the first time we’d attempted an art exhibition with the kids, and thankfully they were really well behaved.  Alex loved the family trail and followed it throughout the entire exhibition.  I absolutely adored the Norwegian art and might have to go again before it closes.  While the kids loved the digital “Forest Folk” installation – they thought it was hilarious and sat watching the creatures wake and move.

Here they are on the way to the cafe for a cake reward for their excellent behaviour!


What a lovely family day – and all within a couple of miles of home!  A great reminder of why I love living here!

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