Hangouts

Meet a menagerie of creatures dead and alive at the Horniman Museum & Gardens

The Horniman's child-friendliness doesn't detract from the adult appeal of the museum – unless you really hate kids

What?: Picturesque Victorian museum renowned for its internationally important collection of taxidermy and anthropological objects, its vast assortment of weird and wonderful musical instruments, and its super-chilled aquarium. The Horniman might pride itself on its child-friendliness, with hands-on exhibits and crawler-compatible floor-standing cabinets, but none of this detracts from the adult appeal of the museum – unless you really hate kids, in which case maybe give this place a miss.

While the stuffed animals are guaranteed to fascinate and freak out visitors of all ages, the museum is also home to a rather more dynamic menagerie, with the free Animal Walk inviting visitors to walk through the alpaca and goat enclosures, and entry to the mesmerising aquarium costing a just few pounds per person. There is also a temporary exhibition space, currently housing the Robot Zoo display; Nature Base, where little ones can discover how to find and identify wildlife; Hands on Base, featuring a compendium of objects that kids are invited to handle and wear; and an interactive Music Gallery featuring an unusual assortment of real-life instruments to bash the shit out of.

Where?: Just under a 10-minute walk from Forest Hill station (Ginger, mainline).

Facilities: Baby changing, breastfeeding room, step-free access, cute cafe offering nice kids’ menu and a lush outside dining space.

Best Bits: Bab enjoyed venting her frustrations on the drum and the digital piano in the music room, though she was a bit confused by the curious percussion instrument that you were supposed to whack with a flip-flop. The garden is epically beautiful with its nuptial-worthy ornamental greenhouse and tranquil bandstand with its breathtaking views across London.

Worst Bits: The Anthropology gallery was closed for maintenance and Hands on Base is only open for 90 minutes on a Sunday, which is a shame.

Would We Come Back?: I’m keen to try out the museum’s interesting-looking kids’ calendar, which includes Busy Bees events for under-fives, themed arts-and-crafts classes and story-time sessions. I’d also love to come back on a nice day and just crash in the garden with a picnic and a bottle of Mummy’s Special Ribena.

www.horniman.ac.uk

Bab attempts to find Nemo at the Horniman Museum & Gardens, Forest Hill

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