Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I promised my two year old son that I'd bring him to see the dinosaurs...thinking we'd head into see the Dinosaur Petting Zoo in the RDS...but I got my dates wrong!!!
It had finished last month. But fear not, I though to myself...I'd bring him to the Natural History Museum opposite Merrion Square...they have dinosaurs there. I remembered them from when I was a kid...problem solved.
The little man was all excited and dully woke me at 6.30 Saturday morning asking when he was going to see the "dinarsssus". Great start to the day!!!
Breakfast downed, bags packed, bob the builder doll in tow we all jumped in the car and made our way to the City Centre.
As any visitor to Dublin will know, the city is very compact and you can technically walk to most of the major attractions without breaking a sweat...the problem with Dublin is that it rains...even when the sun is splitting the trees...as I forgot to my displeasure.
A pleasant surprise at the entrance...it is free, as is a lot of the attractions in Dublin visitors will be happy to hear. Also known as the "Dead Zoo" the museum first opened its doors in 1857 and boasts over 10,000 exhibits...but as I was soon to find out NO dinarsssus!!! I must have made up that memory. More of that later.
The first thing that greets you, aside from a shop, is the Giant Irish Deer who roamed the Irish Landscape up until around 12,000 years ago. Truly huge animals as they are, my son was not fooled...they were not dinarsssus.
He was, as was I, very impressed with all the stuffed sharks, birds, squirrel that were literally stacked in presses and displays on the ground floor. Particularly interesting, to me at least, was the Native to Ireland animals...who knew we had sharks!!!
Now here is my first gripe with the museum - no lifts. This place anit, displays aside, the most child friendly of places. We were greeted at the foot of two stories of stairs with a sign that informed us that we were not allowed abandon the buggy. But no lift!!! Thankfully a very helpfull Dubliner who noticed my frustrated look offered to help me up the stairs with the buggy...gentleman.
Now this is where the Dead Zoo really comes to life. Lions, tigers, monkeys, ant eaters, gorillas...we were enthralled. Most impressive was the huge Blue Whale which hung from the roof. My son was well impressed.
We spent at least 30 minutes exploring the stuffed animals on display. Brilliantly kept and plenty of information attached. On the way around I noticed a very professor looking chap giving a tour to 20 or so genuinely captivated visitors.
When we reached the other end of this huge hall we were greeted with more stairs...and no lift. I can handle this I thought...steep as the stairs were. My son certainly enjoyed the experience as I dropped him step by step down the rather steep stair well. He seemed far more confident than I was that we had it all under control.
Thankfully the security man at the front entrance noticed my very obvious terror and ran to our assistance...much to the disapproval of my son who was really enjoying the adventure. At the end of the stair the guard informed me that they did have plans to put in lifts but the IMF were now taking it as part of the interest on the loans they gave to our banks...fair enough.
I was just positioning the buggy to leave the Dead Zoo when my son looked back with a sad face and asked "where the dinossarus?" As most who have children can attest...it is not always the easiest to bribe a child who really wants something so despite promises of McDonalds and ice-cream he was not buying it.
Thankfully I had another great thought...maybe the shop in the museum sells dinosaurs!!! They did...brilliant. The little man was delighted as we headed to the check out. That'll be €45 said the very pleasant woman behind the counter...OUCH!!!
Off we went to McDonalds happy but with a much lighter wallet.
In summary, the Natural History Museum is a very good attraction and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the city. Just a couple of warnings...don't bring a buggy and don't expect to see dinosaurs...unless you want to pay a fortune for one of the plastic miniature kind.