I’m 100% definite that this is one of the cooler museums we’ve ever been to. We parked the van at 9am, and didn’t get out until nearly 2pm.. we are nerds.
But things like this are why:
G.D. RAPTORS! Giant SQUID body! Bloody HUGE shark skeletons! So many cool things!
They have friendly red-vested volunteers at the door to explain things to you when you come in and it was explained to us that we were too early. So we had a couple of coffees in the cafe which was quite nice.
When you finally enter the first floor of the museum, that’s what it looks like. Low lighting with vibrant colours, with the sound of childrens brains whirring at 1000 km/h. There’s a spiraling platform that goes around a giant fake tree that kids are racing up and down, and ducking into holes like giant maniac mice. Around us there’s an amazing amount of taxidermied animals set up to be interacting in their natural environment. I really loved the displays here, they were set up with humourous anecdotes and didnt seem to take itself too seriously, it was definitely geared towards kids. In one glass case of birds, the Weka is carrying a silver spoon because it’s a little thief who will eat anything, and the furry snake like ferrets are gobbling up eggs from some poor birds nest. It really gets your imagination going, and you start asking questions like “wtf does that bird have a spoon in its mouth?”
If you walk in further the lighting changes to ocean blue and you’re looking at a giant squids carcass, encased in a domed box of formaldehyde. Coooool. Behind that is the “X-Ray Room” which is home to dozens of amazing marine skeletons. The small dolphin skeletons are especially awesome to me, due to their tubular shape. There’s huge crabs on display, and an amazing collection of shells, and cute little creatures like Slipper Lobsters that are like stubby rectangular versions of the real thing. Don’t think Im interested in slipping my foot into one though. The next room is known as The Whale Heart Room. It’s full of interactive little games and stuffed things you and touch and therefore is FULL of children. It also has an enormous, life size plaster make-up of a blue whales heart that kids can run in side of, and out the ventricles. SO cool!
Two Kea’s going at it! This display is super bad ass. Kea’s are endangered, and the worlds only alpine parrot! If you’re camping near them, they will steal your shit. So, watch out.
This is the largest bird to have ever lived, the Great Moa. They weighed about 500lbs and was an herbivore for some insane reason.
Above it is its only natural predator, the Haast Eagle, or Harpagornis (cool name). The largest known raptor, it had a wingspan of 3m and weighed 25 pounds. What a chub.
If a Haast eagle could catch a moa it would feed a whole family of eagles for weeks, but it usually died trying. The moa would wait until just the right moment and fall down onto its side, kicking with its gigantic drumstick legs and huge talons. Usually they would both die. They are both extinct now.. or are they? Some cryptozoologists (cool job) believe some could still be living in fiordland. Probably not though, pretty sure some backpacker would notice the 500lb chicken running around the mountains. But MAYBE!
Kiwi birds in 4 delicious flavours! They are probably the weirdest. Also they are somehow the Moa’s closest relative. It made some bad decisions somewhere along the line.
That wee little sack of bird lays an egg nearly the same size as itself. Look at that! No wonder they looks so sad an uncomfortable all the time. Can you imagine carrying that shit around? Where do its organs go? Crikey.
Aw the leg bone of a dodo. Dodo’s make me sad. All they wanted to do was to see whats up, and they got thunked in the head until they were all dead. I picture them like chicken shaped dogs, and I hate that people killed them. They didnt even eat them! Dodo’s were probably the only thing on the planet that actually doesn’t taste just like chicken! FOR SHAME!
Now. This is one of my favourite things in life, actually. I first learned about the Kakapo in Stephen Fryes BBC documentary “Last Chance To See”. Please, please, watch this clip. I just watched it again and laughed like an old man who needs an oxygen tank and is simultaneously finding something very funny.
Little rapist. God. His fat little parrot face just kills me every time. Just.. madly slapping the guy in the face.. good stuff.
So, the weird helmet in that picture above makes more sense now doesn’t it? Scientists made this special headgear to catch the parrots.. um.. special baby parrot makers.. so they could use it to make more parrots! Seeing as kakapos have very little interest in mating with anything other than the backs of silky human heads. Yay science!