The Natural History Museum at Tring (or Tring Zooseum as middle child likes to call it) is a weird and wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. I mean, this place really is unique. In summary, one of the super rich Rothschild clan loved animals (he used to have zebra pulling his cart and declared at 14 he would open a museum). So he set about building a huge collection of natural history specimens. This museum was built to house them and is now open to the public. I’m not sure there is anything else like this, on this scale, elsewhere in the UK. We love it. It’s in Hertfordshire, but only a few minutes drive from Aylesbury.
Inside there are thousands of taxidermy specimens of all kinds of animals. There’s polar bears, gorillas, birds, fish, zebra (obviously) and an extensive collection of dogs. They also have the skeleton of a Giant Sloth! Not everyone is going to like the idea of this place. Most of the specimens are real, dead, stuffed animals. Also, at the end of the dog gallery there is a video on how taxidermy is done. It includes a video about skinning the animal and it goes into a fair amount of detail. It’s interesting but you have been warned!
All of my kids love this place though and it’s a good way to see creatures you wouldn’t normally get to see so close. It’s also a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. I recently took Smallest Child along for her first fully walking day trip. She spent ages toddling up and down the corridors stopping periodically when she spotted one she liked. In fact my banner image on this website was taken in the galleries at Tring Natural History Museum!
They run toddler / pre-school sessions on a semi regular basis called mini explorers. For my review of the mini explorer session at the Tring Natural History Museum click here.
What is access like at Tring Natural History Museum?
Access-wise, it’s an old building so it does have access issues. There are lifts and level entry points for disabled visitors but you’re not allowed to take pushchairs in. The upper gallery is exactly that, a gallery with some lovely ornamental (and therefore very climb-able) railings. The gallery has a big drop and it’s quite narrow so Middle Child practically runs through this bit as he’s a bit scared of it. The part of the museum that is more modern (Galleries 4, 5 and 6) are much more spacious though.
The museum is very popular and it does get very busy. Especially so especially during the school holidays and wet weekends. This is particularly evident in the upper gallery. You certainly get up close and personal with fellow visitors. Visiting hours are Monday-Saturday 10.00-17.00, Sunday 14.00-17.00. If you are able to go during the week I would recommend you do.
For more information about upcoming events visit their website.
Our Natural History Museum at Tring review
We love it! You won’t spend more than a couple of hours at Tring Natural History Museum, but they will be memorable hours and the kids find it fascinating. The exhibits never change (they do have exhibitions that change though), but the kids don’t care. We must have seen the Polar Bear 50 off times in the past 10 years and the kids still love it! It does get very busy, particularly on wet weekends and school holidays. Best combined with a visit to Tring Park to get the most out of the day.
Entry – Free, donations accepted.
Parking / How to get there
Address – Akeman Street, Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 6AP
Parking – On-site and free. There is a very small car park on site which is almost always full but there is a car park around the corner. They’ve recently done a lot of work on it so it’s actually usable now. Should those both be full there is limited on-street parking.
You have to go outside to get to the mains ones but they are clean enough. There is also a diabled toilet on the ground floor (as if you were going out towards the picnic area) which is huge and easily large enough to get a pushchair in there.
There is a new cafe (Ugly Bug Cafe) and it’s a vast improvement from what used to be there. It is now a proper cafe with a decent hot and cold menu. Kids boxes are £3.95 for 5 items. They do some lovely cakes which are all hand-made in Tring. I had the millionaires shortbread which was lovely. I then had massive food envy when the lady next to me was served a HUGE slice of cake . The only downside is that there are only five tables, even on a weekday at 11:30 it was full.
If you’re taking a picnic, there is an outside picnic area, or take a stroll across to Tring Park and eat over there.
I’m Vicky and I am a mum of three living in Aylesbury. I set up Free Time with the Kids to review free and cheap family days out in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, mainly because I kept forgetting all the fabulous places that were recommended to me!! I love getting out and about with the kids (and hubby of course) and we have adventures all over the place. My reviews tell you all the things you need to know about the family days out and activites we’ve done such as how much it costs, if there’s parking, toilets and if there’s a cafe or if picnics are allowed. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch email@example.com or get in touch via Facebook