Whether you are a child or a child at heart, there will always be something compelling about going on a day trip to a big museum. As a kid, I loved going on field trips to these places (partly because it meant that classes would at least be cut short for the day. Yay!). As a part-time adult, I still enjoy getting lost in one whenever I’m fortunate enough to go on vacation abroad.
Adelaide has one of the best museums in Australia, perhaps in the world. Established in 1856 and ensconced in a breathtaking complex of buildings on the North Terrace, the South Australian Museum specializes in natural history and also functions as a research center. It is such an institution that many Aussie citizens on TripAdvisor get nostalgic when they talk about their school trips to this place.
Even if you aren’t Aussie-born and grown, there are still lots of reasons for wandering around the South Australian Museum’s Halls, and chief among them are:
1. It’s free!
Your wallet will thank you if you devote an entire day of sightseeing here (and with five whole floors of amazing displays, you could very well do that and not notice the time passing by). There is no admission fee, and while visitors are encouraged to make a contribution to the museum, you are not obliged to.
This ought to be a relief if you’ve been spending quite a bit throughout your Australian holiday.
2. The architecture is breathtaking.
The complex is more than a hundred years old. While additional wings were built over the years, much of the original Victorian Era-style buildings are still in place and they are certainly a sight to behold.
Besides, wouldn’t it be cool to have a nice selfie against a façade that looks as grand as Lara Croft’s posh digs?
3. Where else can you see a full-scale skeleton of an 18-metre sperm whale up close?
Or a mummy? Or a, wait for it, real-life dinosaur fossil (you know, the sort that those scientists in Jurassic Park keep bringing back to life)?
You can see the original sarcophagus and mummy of Renpit-Nefert in the museum’s Ancient Egypt gallery while the museum’s collection of Ediacaran and Cambrian fossils will reveal to you what dinosaur remains actually look like.
If you’re feeling peckish, you can drop by the Museum Café for a snack and ponder the gigantic sperm whale skeleton nearby.
4. The museum exhibits are bound to spark a curiosity about the natural world in any child.
Like any modern-day parent, you may have despaired at your kid being glued to the screen of an iPhone or an iPad. Bringing them to the South Australian Museum could just be the trick for getting them out and about, especially once they see all the stuffed fully-grown tigers and lizards up close.
With displays that range from astronaut suits to authentic Aboriginal paintings, there is plenty here that can wean your child away from that iPad, at least for one afternoon.
5. You can get some pretty unique souvenirs at the Museum Shop.
Lastly, natural history aficionados (or anyone in search of a cool toy for Junior back home) will have more than 10,000 items to choose from should they want a token to remind them of their day at this museum.