We have been trying to go here for several weekends, and we finally made it there on Saturday, after a rather tricky and unlucky journey, but ultimately we had a good time.
It seemed like nothing was going our way – some days you just find that every traffic light is red and everything that can go wrong – does, well it was one of those days – BUT we did persevere and had an overall great day.
The things that went wrong:
- Nate was in a grumpy mood, pretty much all day.
- When we arrived at the train station our train was just pulling away.
- We had a 30 minute wait for the next train.
- The next train left from a different platform than we were told and we missed it.
- We got on the next train, which was wrong and went past Tring so we ended up in London.
- When we finally arrived at Tring station we had missed the bus, which only comes every 2 hours.
- We had to walk (with a toddler) 40 minutes into town, which took us 1 hour 5 minutes, due to little legs.
Now for the good stuff…
The Natural History Museum in Tring is free, it is pretty big (on 3 floors) and full of every kind of animal you could imagine. The downside is they don’t have any dinosaurs, although they did have the skeleton of a giant sloth from the Pleistocene period so I fibbed and told Nate it was a dinosaur!
It’s looks like a dinosaur doesn’t it? He didn’t care anyway, he was in awe of all of the animals. He kept pointing and opening his eyes in wonder, it was lovely to see. He did speed past the animals pretty quickly though, I would have liked to have looked at them more closely. For older children they have dinosaur coloring pages and activity sheets for them to take round the museum.
I have to say though that I was both amazed and disconcerted at the same time. Some of the animals are actually stuffed, which (although amazing to look at), makes me feel a bit sad, it feels somewhat morbid, but then I am also fascinated so I am very torn. The dogs particularly made me feel uncomfortable. However, seeing an actual Anaconda, a giant armadillo and a Komodo dragon, without having to trespass in their habitat etc. is pretty darn amazing and there are no other times or situations where you could see them, they are not exactly in a zoo.
I’m going to reveal a ditsy moment I had. I wandered into the second floor and came across this huge armadillo and I thought “Wow! I didn’t know armadillo’s were this big, how cool is that? Maybe I should go to Mexico”. Then I read the card that said it was a giant Armadillo from the ice-age! Oh well I left it too late.
A 5-10 minute walk from the Museum, on the high street, is a fantastic coffee bar called the “Espresso Lounge”, which was recommended by a friend, who said it was the best coffee and brownies in the world. I don’t drink coffee so I cannot vouch for that but the hot chocolate was pretty good and the brownie was actually delicious, I also really enjoyed a bacon sandwich on wholemeal bread that was pretty special.
The museum was a private museum created by Lionel Walter Rothschild. He bred hybrids of Zebras and Horses called Zebroids and he would use them to pull his horse-drawn carriage, pretty strange. The museum has had some thefts recently of their birds and rhino horns, the thieves sold them on ebay. The Dodo is a replica, but some of the real (stuffed) animals have become extinct since Rothschild collected the specimens.