Te Papa a feast for all the senses
Ihave been to Te Papa many times, but there is nothing like seeing it fresh through the eyes of a child.
took the kids in for a visit recently because I thought Ollie (21 months) was old enough to show some interest in the exhibits.
In fact, he spent two hours there in a constant state of excitement. He ran behind his big brother, pointing at everything and trying his hardest to describe what he could see and ask me questions – difficult when he can barely say fish or bird, let alone, ‘‘Tell me everything you know about the colossal squid’’.
We spent most of our visit exploring the Mountains to Sea exhibit, looking at all the native wildlife we have in New Zealand.
The exhibition is a feast for the senses, with so much to look at, touch and hear. There are models of animals, skeletons and taxidermy creatures enclosed in cases and hanging from the ceiling, bird sounds playing and a fantastic tree hut walkway to explore.
Many areas have buttons to press to hear information about the various animals.
While I’ve always thought it a little creepy in the past, I have a newfound respect for taxidermy.
The lifelike nature of the animals really made all the pictures the kids have seen in books seem a little more real for them. Ollie was very taken with the kiwi and other birds, though he found the wild pig, complete with sound effects, a little scary.
The pygmy blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling really helped the kids put the size of a whale in perspective, a far cry from watching the six-inch versions swimming on our laptop screen.
Bailey now wants to plan trips to Sea World to see real dolphins and whales. He has promised to contribute the $ 5 in his piggy bank to travel costs.
Nature Space is adjacent to the Mountains to Sea exhibit and is full of hands-on, interactive activi- ties for the kids, focusing on the natural environment.
There are puzzles, books, drawers full of rock pool creatures and insects, computer touch screens and much more to do with the history of our planet and how we can better look after it.
The boys thoroughly enjoyed climbing in the massive fibreglass model of a blue whale’s heart. I didn’t go inside, fearful that the largest part of my anatomy might get stuck in a ventricle.
The giant floor map of New Zealand was a fantastic tool for teaching Bailey about the different places in New Zealand. Hopefully we’ll no longer be hearing, ‘‘ Hey Mum, can we catch the train to Nelson today?’’
Other highlights visit included seeing the John Britten motorcycle, acting as biosecurity inspec- tors looking for uninvited critters in the Stowaways Container, pretending to be an alien using the interactive Survivor computer in the Blood Earth Fire exhibit, and finding out about tectonic plates in the Awesome Forces exhibit.
Not to forget the all-important trip to the cafe, where we found the ‘‘pick 5 items for $7.50’’ kids lunch bag a pretty good deal.
We really only scraped the surface and visited a small portion of the museum.
Te Papa has so much to offer all ages and interests.
It is definitely top of my day’’ activity list.
Exploring: Bailey, left and Ollie couldn’t get enough of the Te Papa exhibits.