It was a rainy day in Stockholm, and a perfect morning to visit an indoor museum. Museeum Kids were really excited to visit the Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, the Swedish Museum of Natural History. This museum was not initially on our museums list for the trip, but after passing by a few advertisement banners around the city, it was a matter of time until the kids were asking to see dinosaur bones. We were so glad we made the visit - it was beautiful, educational and impressive.
Not only is it located next to the Stockholm University main campus, which is gorgeous, but it is also the largest museum building in Stockholm with an IMAX cinema which is the also largest planetarium in Sweden. There were some familiar and some unexpected exhibits. The way that many of the specimens were displayed was visually stunning. I found myself photographing more displays than scenery, which is quite atypical.
The Fossils and Evolution which housed the eagerly anticipated Dinosaur bones was a unique walk through. The exhibit went through the story of the beginning of life and evolution on this earth from the first living organisms to the dawning of the dinosaurs and beyond – it displays models and fossils of sea and plant life during the early time periods in conjunction with the dinosaur and animal displays. I felt that it painted a much more holistic picture of the eras without any specific emphasis on the dinosaurs themselves. The kids had a great time “digging for bones” in the small interactive kids play area. The exhibit rooms which lead into the Diversity of Life felt like a natural continuation of the story of the natural world – now moving into the modern era.
The butterfly display in this area was a particularly impressive one, a massive wall with thousands of butterflies mounted such artistic devotion was too enticing to pass by without pausing to view it all up close for a few minutes.
Live fish aquariums welcomed us into the Life in Water exhibit.
MuSEEum kids were excited to explore the interactive screens and microscopes, and the displays were personally educational. The giant squid acquired by the Museum in 1997, was the most interesting, although it spooked my son so much that he ran away in the opposite direction as soon as he laid eyes on it. The model fishing boat was definitely the most popular attraction for all the young ones to play in and out of. We didn’t know what to expect as we entered the Swedish Nature exhibit, but it was spacious and engaging. We spent quite a lot of time going through this one. I definitely felt like this exhibit was meant just for kids. It was developed by the children’s program of Friluftsframjandet (Swedish Association for Outdoor Life), "whose educational approach is based on play and the delight of discovery".
We had to make a pit stop at the Museum Café for drinks and snacks. The lunchtime meal items were quite extensive, ranging from salmon platters to sandwiches. We opted for some pastries, ice cream (a necessity at this point for any day in Stockholm) and drinks to recharge our batteries.
The Human Animal was perhaps the most unique exhibit in the museum, and perhaps our favorite. The floor was filled with interactive exhibits to test our strength, dexterity, reflexes and memory. Although geared more towards the older youth and adults, it was just as engaging for my young museum goers. The human body organ puzzle was a fun challenge to complete together and I really appreciated the human fetus lifecycle display. It was an important moment explaining what happens to our bodies during pregnancy and birth, as my daughter is particularly interested in the topic as of late. My son was so amused by the infrared camera – enthusiastically dancing and moving about the floor to see what happens on screen.
A gemstones exhibit is something I am always interested in seeing since I grew up the daughter of a jeweler and also since I am bit of a Geology nerd. The Treasures of the Earth’s exceptional stone archival cases were the most memorable for me. These pull out cases were something I could not picture seeing in the States on the public floor due to most likely safety and abuse concerns. I was glad that much of this type of over protective ideology didn’t apply there. This area was a nice quiet place to sit down to wind down the afternoon.
Our trip would have not been as full without a visit to Naturhistoriska riksmuseet. We are so glad to have made the trip through the refreshing Scandinavian rain.