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London has so many amazing things to offer for everyone, kids included. One of the things we braved doing this past weekend was visiting the Natural History Museum of London with a toddler. I always heard of people visiting museums with toddlers and the thought of it kinda scared me at first to be honest. I thought it would be overwhelming and not very enjoyable with an energetic toddler. Boy, was I wrong! It was an incredible experience both for us, and for Victor (our almost 2 year old).
I cannot wait to take him as he grows too, so that we can take our time and read all the fun facts together. But for now, here’s our experience of visiting the museum with a toddler.
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1. The museum is FREE!
This still blows my mind. We recently moved to London, so we didn’t really have a clue on most of these things. But we quickly learned that all or most museums in London are free entry. How amazing is that?! I think it’s awesome that everyone gets a chance to visit these beautiful sights, regardless of your budget. Of course you can donate to the museum to help keep it going, which I think is nice to do, but that’s completely up to you.
I find it so stress-free and no-pressure because of that. It’s nice that you can pop in and out whenever. When you pay a fee to get into a place you kinda feel a bit of pressure to enjoy it and make the most out of it…you know, since you paid for it. This was refreshing and I can see this whole museum-going becoming a regular thing in our routine.
2. Go early
We went to the museum on a Saturday, from morning until noon. By the time it was 1 pm, it had gotten quite crowded in there. It was alright, but when it gets too full it’s hard to enjoy everything the museum has to offer, especially with a toddler who just wants to run around.
My advice would be to go at opening time, so that you make the most out of your trip there before it gets wild. If you can go during the week, I’m guessing it’s a lot better than weekends. I haven’t tested that theory yet though, so I’ll get back to you on that one.
Getting all the Hogwarts vibes down these halls 🙂
3. Don’t try to follow a strict path.
There are so many interesting things to see around every corner, that I think trying to follow a certain path will only lead to frustration on your part. When you’re with a toddler, it’s much easier to just follow their lead. They will love feeling in control and you know…happy toddler = happy everyone.
It’s nice to have a few things in mind that you’d like to see (like the dinosaur section), but being relaxed about it is the best way to go in my opinion. We did manage to get to the dinosaur section though and it was incredible to see.
4. Is it pushchair / pram / stroller friendly?
Yes. There are plenty of lifts to get you to any side of the museum. We found it quite easy to go through the entire museum with the pram. We did want to go on these escalators going inside the moon though, so for example in that case we just folded up the stroller and carried it since it’s quite lightweight.
However, if you don’t want to take the stroller with you inside the museum, there is a cloakroom at the entrance where you can leave it.
5. Are there any child-friendly food options or baby changing rooms?
Yes. There are lots of little cafe-restaurant areas that have high-chairs and baby-friendly meal options or snacks. There were also lots of toilets with changing rooms throughout the museum, which is so convenient when you’ve got a toddler in tow.
6. A few things my toddler enjoyed.
If you’re wondering what sections might be interesting for your toddler, here’s what our little one enjoyed. First of all, the dinosaur section (obviously). There were animatronics pretending to have a fight, full on dinosaur skeletons – what’s not to like, especially if you’re a little kid.
He enjoyed the row of suitcases that you open up to reveal different types of rocks and bones. So cool. He loved opening up each one. Multiple times. Let’s just say we spent a whole half an hour looking at those. But hey, whatever floats his boat – that’s what I always say 🙂
There is a yellow supermarket-like room that mimics an earthquake. You basically step on a platform that starts shaking, while all the things on the walls start moving as well. Victor was quite confused as to what’s going on, but he did seem to enjoy it.
It is overall an amazing experience both for parents and kids. I would highly recommend visiting the Natural History Museum with your toddler if you’re ever in London. It’s such a great activity for little ones.
I hope you found this helpful! Have a great day!