We went to the Natural History Museum at Tring after exploring the Zog trail at Wendover Woods, which is about 15 minutes drive away. You won’t spend more than 1-2 hours here, but you can easily make a FREE day out of it either by visiting Tring reservoirs or Wendover Woods (only have to pay for parking)
Once the private museum of Walter Rothschild, the Natural History Museum at Tring in Hertfordshire houses an extensive collection of mounted specimens which he collected during his life. I can not understand why someone would collect all these animals for a private collection but then we have more Pokemon cards lying around in our house, so who am I to judge 😀
Anyways, the collection is pretty impressive, certainly nothing like I have ever seen. The over 49oo fascinating specimens are packed in glass display cabinets in five of the six galleries over three floors. All the animals are labelled. Some of them are actual life sizes and look spookingly real. You can stand tall against an emperor penguin and come face-to-face with a polar bear or a lion or a gorilla (or its skeleton). A giant whale and shark hang over your head in one of the galleries. There is an extensive selection of birds, insects, bugs, butterflies, fish, snakes and dogs, in addition to a life-size replica of his giant tortoise in the Rothschild Room. Lionel Walter bred hybrids between zebras and horses (zebroids) and a hybrid foal is also on display. He was frequently seen riding a zebra-drawn carriage; if that is not quirky then what is ;). There have been thefts of rhino horns from the museum, so, now there are signs up everywhere that the rhino horns are replaced with fake ones (yes, thats true!!).
I thought this visit will be a quick one but we ended up spending about one and a half hour here. The specimens held our interest all the way with Ay running from one to the other. Also, at the end of the dog gallery, there is a video on how taxidermy is done. It was super interesting. There are clipboards with blank paper and pencils at entrance, which kids can take with them. You can also pick up trail sheets from the entrance (2£/ trail) for children to take part in.
Gallery two is temporary exhibition space. The display at the moment includes all photos awarded in the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 competition, the Rising Star portfolio, and this year’s two Grand Title winners.
Address: Tring HP23 6AR, United Kingdom
Free parking on site
Toilets and baby facilities on site but you have to go outside to get to the main ones. There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor.
The Ugly Bug Cafe is open 10.00 to mid-afternoon but it was closed when we went. There is a pub close by
Buggy accessible though the corridors are narrow. You are not allowed to take pushchairs in.
Assistance dogs are welcome at the Museum