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Out & About: Museum Goes to Town 'Jurassic larks'
Monster: Holly Talkington, Lily Griffey-Hill and Jess Steele tackle the Utahraptor at Blackwell’s in Broad Street
I recently received a call from concerned members of staff at Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History to inform me that one of their Utahraptor’s (that’s a dinosaur, to you and I) was roaming the aisles in Blackwell’s on The Broad and some rather gruesome creepy crawlies had been plaguing Turl Street Kitchen.
The world-famous institution is currently closed for repairs and while work is going on, some of its residents have (according to my sources) sneaked away under the cover of darkness.
But, fear not… you won’t have to make like Indiana Jones across an OX1-based Jurassic Park. The 12 specimens that have temporarily popped-up across the city centre are actually part of the museum’s exciting programme of public engagement.
Tracking down the whole dozen only takes an hour or so and children (especially big kids, like me) will be endlessly fascinated by what they find in each and every location – from the story of the flightless Dodo to the 360 million-year-old Trilobite.
May I suggest a little respite during your travels at the aforementioned and utterly charming Turl Street Kitchen – where you can indulge in coffee and cakes in their chilled-out parlour… or, maybe try some edible insects? Yes, you read that correctly! As I learnt, bugs are actually one of the most nutritious, cost-effective and environmentally friendly food sources available. Either way, you can leave refreshed once more to complete your pilgrimage of learning.
Like pretty much everything in life these days, “there’s an app for that” – which I found to be most useful for navigating my way around.
Plus, if you too unearth all 12 anytime between now and January next year – not forgetting to make a note of the ‘Danger’ and ‘Rarity’ ratings of each – you can enter a competition to win special prizes.
Log on to the museum’s excellent blog which documents its year of closure to the public – while the original 1860 glass-tiled roof is stripped, cleaned and reinstalled to prevent rainwater from leaking in. Readers can get an insight into the painstaking work taking place, behind-the-scenes glimpses into the various departments and advance notification of the special plans for the reopening next year. See goestotown.com
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