A visit to Iziko Cape Town Natural Science museum

While we’ve been to the Natural science museum several times, this was the first time we took Hamish.

He was super excited at going somewhere that he could see dinosaurs.

As always we were greeted by the friendly museum staff and made our way to the various exhibits.

The first exhibit we saw was the Aquatic animals of Cape Town and Hamish was delighted to be able to name all the animals.

He also took some time to pose next to the hippo model. How cute is that smile?

Next we passed the Rivers of Africa exhibit, where we discussed which animals you can find at the river and why rivers are important to animals. Hamish watched as I traced the river outlines and he lay on the floor to get a better look at the crocodiles eye.

For me it’s important to follow his lead, which allows him the freedom to both explore and question what he’s seeing.

The climate change exhibit struck hard as I’ve been following so many news articles lately and as Kerri walked through, reading the various posts, I couldn’t help but wonder if her children will know the world as she does now or if climate change would have altered it to an unrecognisable state.

Brent was fascinated by the Howick falls poster and I was briefly reminded of home as I chased after Hamish to the next point of interest.

Our next stop was the travelling rhino exhibit and it is hard to put into words my emotions as I entered the crates that housed the rhino artefacts.

From this sad looking eye to a rhino bum display this was truly the most interesting display. I could have spent a lot longer here, understanding more.

After finding a coelacanth model we entered a room holding a variety of models, animals and an exhibit on early man.

Hamish kept asking me, in an excited voice ” what is this place?”

Explaining the concept behind a museum to an almost 3 year old is rather complex and so I simply gave him a name for the space and explained it was a museum.

Nothing was lost on him and he took in every detail, often showing us things we may have missed.

We moved up towards the sea animal exhibit, with giant whale skeletons suspended from the ceiling.

Sharks, dolphin, whale and fish of all shapes and sizes looked back at us as Hamish entered into the whale sound box to hear the beautiful call of the whale.

A little further in a set of giant jaws stood ready for us to take some photos.

Hamish spotted a shark looking at us and launched into a rather loud rendition of baby shark and kept telling his brothers how he touched baby shark skin.

The mammal exhibits are always my favourite and I remember as a young girl paging through my Oumas old black and white photo albums of all the mammals she had seen at the Pietermaritzburg museum.

From wild cats to buck, the animal kingdom is well represented.

We spent some time seeing how many animals we could name and pointing out the realistic backdrops painted to represent the animals natural habitat.

The mammals are divided into 3 places and I’m not sure if it was the way we walked or the museum set up but it seemed a little scattered.

I was also saddened by the cluttered room housing the elephant and buck. It was small and almost too full. Prohibiting you from fully enjoying the beauty of each animal.

Finally we found the dinosaurs and Hamish was beyond excited.

There were so many things to see from fossils, hatching Dino eggs, dinosaur models and stone bones

Giant skeletons stood looming over us and Hamish was fascinated with their skeletons.

This section is really interactive with fun opportunities for the kids to learn.

I saw a fossil room that I will be taking Hamish back to so that my mini paleontologist can see what real dinosaur scientists do.

There was a cute game teaching the kids to walk like a dinosaur and many opportunities to take photos of your children exploring the dinosaur world.

Hamish loved the hatching baby eggs the most and I am always amazed at how realistic they look.

Our visit was not over yet and we walked through the minerals exhibit and a small exhibition on the early people of South Africa.

We also visited the Wonders of the world exhibit which is a small collection of amazing pieces of nature.

And we made our way through the colourful, diverse bird section.

Finally we found a giraffe and I couldn’t resist getting a photo to compare Hamish and the giraffe in size.

Lastly we found the Nelson Mandela exhibit, which being Youth Day as well as Father’s Day today I thought was the perfect ending to our museum visit.

There was a wonderful display of this influencial man and chance for Kerri to share her views on a variety of topics with the question cards provided.

While she enjoyed learning more Hamish took some time out to explore the prison exhibit more.

It was such a fun morning. I love that even if I visited a museum every day I would still discover something new.

I was shocked at just how much Hamish learnt today. This has been one of the best places to take him.

I can already tell this is going to become one of our favourite places.

Museum times

  • Operating hours: Daily from 09h00 to 17h00
  • Closed on: Workers’ Day and Christmas Day
  • Tel: +27 (0)21 481 3800
  • Location: 25 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town
  • Adults: R30.00
  • 6-17 years: R15.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: Booked- R5.00; Unbooked- R8.00
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R15.00/ Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

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