Last week, I decided to take T to one of the cheaper local attractions in Brighton; the Booth Museum of Natural History. I hadn’t been in years, probably not since my college days as I only went to college down the road, and T probably hasn’t been old enough before, and seeing as it was coming to the end of month I thought I’d give it a go.
The Booth Museum is one of the quirkier treasures of Brighton and is also one of the few FREE places to visit in Brighton, which is handy for if you’re stuck for things to do on a rainy afternoon before or after the school run. It isn’t the biggest of venues, however for a curious toddler or an older child who may be doing a school project or likes looking at rare animals – this is the place. There’s lots to see!
There’s no way of saying this lightly, but there isn’t much life in this place. With rows upon rows of pod-like displays that boast several different species of stuffed birds, butterflies, fossils and bones, as well as a few mammals, it’s certainly a peaceful place. Minus the death, the displays have been curated beautifully, with all of the animals set in their natural habit – some more realistic than others! Prey and all.
When we arrived I was curious to see how T would take it all in, but surprisingly he was fascinated for most of his tour and spent time telling me what he could see. Most of the time, birds were either ducks or geese with the occasional gull thrown in. He found it interesting to look at, but I imagine a lot of displays soon turned into one as very quickly he ran off to explore other areas.
This is where it took a turn. He was not at all impressed with the bones and fossils area. I don’t know whether it was a case of not being interested, or that it was a little bit scary, but he took a few steps in, had a look, and then promptly left. I managed to have a quick look around whilst T waited outside, before being told leave by the toddler.
From what I saw, this room contains and impressive collection of skeletons; ranging from land to sea creatures, with a human added to the mix as well. I found this area fascinating, as there were species in there I’d never seen in skeletal form. It was really interesting.
As ee left this area, we then promptly moved to the butterfly display area where there were literally hundreds of butterflies in beautiful display cabinets, as well as a selection of other creatures such as spiders and other bugs. Although I’m not the butterfly’s biggest fan, I couldn’t help but admire them from a distance. They were like something from a colouring book or a child’s wild imagination.
Moving on from this area, we entered a few random spaces that contained several mammals as well as an educational room that featured more interactive stations.
As mentioned, the museum is pretty small in size, however our tour wasn’t kept to our usual pace thanks to T flying through a few exhibits. Even the smallest of locations can be stretched to an hour, however on this occasion we only managed 40 minutes max. I’m still undecided whether T fully enjoyed his experience – I can imagine it was rather different in comparison to his usual experience with animals.
After the museum, we walked across the road to the play park, which is located a stone throw away. Attached to the park is a lovely little cafe as well as a small garden, and down the road is the main high street where there are several shops and cafes.
Seeing as our visit was cut shorter than I had expected, I popped into a local coffee shop to use up my parking ticket and treated us to one of the most expensive cakes I’ve ever had. It was delicious though and totally worth it.
Despite it’s size, I would still recommend popping along to the Booth Museum, although I can’t guarantee that it’ll suit everyone’s taste. It’s FREE, it’s certainly educational, and it’s something that little bit different.