Some Museums get better with age! I may have had work drinks at the South Australian Museum back in the 2000's looking at the taxidermied animals gallery, some of which are probably still at the Museum today but one thing is for sure - we love Museums in our family. I grew up going to Museums and Galleries in Paris with my dad every weekend and I wouldn't have it any other way with my kids. The best thing is, most Museums are free to visit and if they're not, entry or membership fee pays itself in knowledge!
We loved visiting the South Australian Museum on our last trip to Adelaide. The World Mammals Gallery, the Discovery Centre, the Fossils Gallery, the Ancient Egypt Gallery, the South Australian biodiversity and Whales & Dolphins are sure to keep your little ones busy and that's not all of the Museum and the best bit is general entry is free!
The South Australian Museum's Discovery Centre is a wonderful thing. Located on level 1 of the Museum, it is a place of wonder where many species are exhibited. Children can also see an impressive working beehive, live scorpions, stick insects and more!
Visitors at the Discovery Centre can get pretty hands-on (aka my kids - touch everything in sight ha!) and touch real fossils, minerals, rocks, animal skin and the like. Kids will love putting everything under the microscope and complete their own experiments. It was pretty impressive to watch the bees working away in the beehive, and watching them come in and out of the hive and going outside of the building.
Kids can easily spend close to an hour exploring the Discovery Centre as there are an array of things to keep them busy with and keep them exploring around the room. My little ones' favourites are all the insects species throughout the centre hung up in beautiful frames and classified in draws.
The Opal Fossils Gallery has a vast range of opalised fossils from Coober Pedy and Andamooka in the State's north to the largest ammonite ever found in Australia.
Other galleries include the South Australian Biodiversity Gallery. More than 12,000 individual models were hand-made to create this gallery, along with historical taxidermy specimens from the Museum’s mammals and birds collections. The Minerals and meteorites gallery has 35,000 specimens ranging in all sorts of stunning colours, shapes and sizes, some of which glow in the dark!
The Ancien Egypt Gallery would have to be on of our favourite gallery rooms. Originally established in 1939, it gives an insight into the religion, burial practices and everyday life of Ancient Egypt. The room features some of the 650 artefacts from the museum's collection, most of which are genuine pieces from Ancient Egypt, with only a few replicas and model casts.
While you're there don't miss Architeuthis dux, the 11 m long model of a giant squid which is a favourite among children. The display is in an old lift shaft and extends over four floors, complete with life-size models of other creatures that inhabit the murky depths. And if you didn't catch them on your way in, make sure you checkout the Whales and Dolphins skeletons at the front of the museum next to the café. The museum also has a Megafauna gallery with large animals including mammals, birds and reptiles. Don't miss the museum's Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery and Pacific Cultures Gallery as both galleries include large collections of artefacts.
The South Australian Museum is a fantastic museum for local and interstate/overseas visitors to visit. Allocate a minimum of 2 to 3 hours if you want to soak up most of the museum's collection and if your time is limited and make sure you visit the Discovery Centre.
- The South Australian Museum is located on North Terrace in the Adelaide CBD.
- The Museum is open daily except Good Friday and Christmas Day from 10am to 5pm. Anzac Day 12pm to 5pm.
- The Discovery Centre is open from 11am to 4pm weekdays and 11am to 3pm weekends and public holidays. It is closed from 25 December – 1 January.
- Admission is Free except for special exhibitions
- The Museum is pram friendly with lifts around the museum.
- Parking can be found across from the Museum or along the river and University of Adelaide.
- Be aware of current tram works extension.