The Adelaide Museum is a fantastic place for families, but young children have short attention spans and it's not always possible to view every display in detail. What are the 'must do' bits of the Museum guaranteed to entertain the little ones before they get too tired?
Talk to the Animals
If your kids are anything like mine, they'll want the toilet almost as soon as you arrive. Ground-floor toilets are located behind the main elevator—once relieved, take the opportunity to view the nearby World Mammals display. Grouped in continental species, these preserved, full-sized animals have brought joy to countless generations, and the large floor-to-ceiling glass panels allow children to get as close to the action as possible.
For more animal attractions, make sure you head to the South Australian Biodiversity Gallery on Level 2, where a comprehensive arrangement of tasteful tableaus showcase a plethora of local fauna. Here, there are large cabinets showing sharks and other deep-sea fish, near-shore marine life (complete with a 'viewing pod' for a close-up view that the kids will love!), snakes, lizards, land mammals, and birds. All these creatures can be found in South Australia, and it's great fun to point to the displays and test the kids' knowledge of their local environment.
Anticipate an Attack of the Munchies by returning to the ground floor and the Balaena Café. It's impossible to miss the huge whale skeletons hanging prominently against one wall, and they provide excellent entertainment while you wait for your food. The children's menu has a number of good options at reasonable prices, and during school holidays food and drink items are sold together as meal deals. On sunny days large doors are opened allowing patrons to spill out onto the Museum's front lawn.
Level 3 is home to a number of exhibits, but be sure to check out the fossil gallery, which showcases the skeletons of dinosaurs found within Australia. Opposite is an interactive display allowing kids to fossick for bones—filled with imitation rubber soil, it's a great way to give the little tackers playtime without the mess of real dirt.
Kids will absolutely love the colourful display of rocks, minerals and meteorites, also found on level 3. Choose a colour and hunt for all the rocks of that colour. See the glassy smooth insides of a cut meteorite, and the spiky towers of a delicate crystal. Don't miss the full-sized space suit keeping guard nearby.
Housed in an old lift shaft is one of the Museum's most popular displays—the giant squid. Extending from the ground floor all the way to level 3, the full-sized model can be viewed on every level; it's particularly fun to look down it's length from the top floor, and the sheer size of the creature's bulbous head and reaching tentacles is truly terrifying!