We recently visited Liverpool’s World Museum with our two children and had a fabulous day out. In our opinion, the World Museum is one of the best museums in Liverpool for families and kids. We would highly recommend it if you are looking for something to do with your kids on a rainy day, in the school holidays or as a home education trip. Here are 10 reasons why you should make a special trip or add it to your list of Liverpool attractions when you are visiting the city.
10 Reasons You Should Visit the World Museum in Liverpool
1. It has the second biggest ancient Egypt galleries in the UK (after the British Museum in London)
Let me say that again – the only way to see more ancient Egyptian artefacts on display in the UK is to go to the British Museum in London! If your child is doing ancient Egypt at school, then this is a hugely valuable day out (see my second reason to visit below). And even if they’re not learning about it at school, what kid (or adult for that matter) doesn’t love to look at mummies and coffins? There is something fascinating and a little macabre about them, don’t you think?
2. It will help your child with what they are learning in school
The museum has displays and galleries covering an incredible number of subjects and material that your child/children will be learning in school – looking at bugs and plant lifecycles, natural history, ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, habitats and food chains, endangered animals and habitats around the world, the solar system, marine life and dinosaurs. You will find them all at the World Museum.
3. Entrance is free
Entrance is completely free for most of the museum. The only things you need to pay for are some of the planetarium shows (although one of them is free) and for special exhibitions such as the recent Terracotta Warriors exhibition.
This means that you don’t have to make your visit into a big day out just to get your money’s worth on the entrance fee; you can dip in for a small part of it if you want to – brilliant if you’ve got younger children who tire easily or if you only have a few hours to spare.
Of course, donations are welcome and museums like this do need everyone to be generous, but on our visit, no-one approached us for any money and there was no-one there to make you feel awkward if you didn’t donate anything.
4. It is big enough to have some quality exhibits, but small enough that it doesn’t feel overwhelming
Some museums (and we found this with the Natural History Museum in London) are just so huge that you really don’t know where to start and you can only ever see a tiny fraction of what they have to offer in a single visit. It is easy to become overwhelmed with choosing what to see and navigating from one to the next.
Not so with the World Museum. It manages to have to some really significant artefacts and collections but never feels overwhelming – another big plus if you are visiting with small children.
5. It has something for everyone
Maybe you’ve got a pre-schooler who is mad about dinosaurs, or a tween who is fascinated by ancient Egypt, or a kid who can’t get enough about planets and rockets and space. You will find something for all of them at the World Museum.
The Museum’s biggest draw is its ancient Egypt galleries (did I mention they are the second largest in the UK after those at the British Museum in London?) but it has a great range of other exhibits too, such as a planetarium, an aquarium, a bug museum, World Cultures gallery, dinosaurs and plenty more to keep your little (or not so little) ones enthralled.
6. It is easy to navigate
The World Museum is super easy to navigate, so you won’t find yourself back in the same stairwell you just left, turning your floor guide upside down and round about trying to figure out how to get to the dinosaurs! It is arranged over 5 floors, with different themes on each floor so it is easy for you and your child to decide where to go next:
- Ground floor – Information desk, cloakroom/buggy park, café, shop
- First floor – Aquarium (currently closed – April 2019)
- Second floor – Bug House, Clore Natural History Centre
- Third floor – World Cultures, Ancient Egypt, Weston Discovery Centre
- Fourth floor – Dinosaurs, Endangered Planet
- Fifth floor – Planetarium, Space & Time
7. It has good facilities for families
The World Museum has put some thought into providing the sort of facilities that families need on a day out, such as:
- A CLOAKROOM where you can leave your buggy and all your coats and bags, so you don’t have to carry them around all day.
- TOILETS on every floor, so you are never far from one when your child suddenly tells you they need to go.
- A great PICNIC ROOM with tables and chairs and even a sink with handwash and paper towels.
- A good-sized CAFÉ with reasonably priced food, ideal for breakfast or lunch or just to stop for a rest and a snack. There are plenty of menu selections for children and highchairs are available. Café staff will even warm bottles for you.
- BABY CHANGING FACILITIES on the ground, first, second and third floors, so once again you are never very far from one when you need it.
- A BIG TABLE WITH BENCHES where children can stop for a while to draw, colour and rest if they are getting tired. Laid out at the side there are fun worksheets (like how to write your name in hieroglyphs) and colouring pages relating to items in the museum. You can find this in the Weston Discovery Centre on the fourth floor.
- A small GIFT SHOP on the ground floor selling toys, pocket money gifts, books and souvenirs.
The museum is also completely accessible by wheelchair or with a buggy. There is level access from the street and lifts to every floor as well as accessible toilets on every floor. But, be prepared to wait for the lift at busy times. If you are visiting with infants in a pram or buggy, you might be better to leave the buggy at the cloakroom on the ground floor and bring a baby carrier or sling.
8. There are plenty of hands-on exhibits
Children love to touch what they see and although a lot of what is on display is in glass cabinets, there are also a good number of exhibits they can get their hands on and get up close to.
In the Clore Natural History Centre children can see and touch lots of items from the museum’s huge natural science collections, such as a hippopotamus skull or mammoth tooth. They can also examine rocks, minerals, fossils and plants from around the world and look at specimens under video microscopes.
In the Weston Discovery Centre there is a replica of the Rosetta Stone and lots of other items to touch and explore further. My daughter was particularly fascinated by a collection of tiny embroidered silk shoes in a display about Chinese foot binding.
9. You can follow one of their kid-friendly trails
The World Museum has also produced several self-guided trails to complete in different parts of the museum. These are great fun and are an excellent way to keep children interested as they search for the answers in the different galleries.
10. There is always something new going on
The museum has a special area with temporary exhibits that change every few months and there are all sorts of events and activities happening throughout the year, so if you’ve explored the permanent collections before, there is still something to come back for. In 2018 they had an exhibition of Terracotta Warriors.
What’s on at the World Museum, Liverpool this week? Click here to find out.
What Not To Miss When You’re There
There are so many top quality exhibits at the World Museum that you will be spoilt for choice where to go first. Here’s our pick of some of the things you really shouldn’t miss.
The Ancient Egypt Galleries
There is so much to see in the museum’s extensive Ancient Egypt galleries, that you could easily spend all day in this one area. These galleries were the highlight of our visit. Don’t miss the brilliant 5000-year timeline of ancient Egypt, with artefacts and images explaining what happened in the different periods and highlighting what was happening in the rest of the world at the same time.
They World Museum also has some completely unique artefacts, like the Ramesses Girdle (see below), a piece of clothing that once belonged to a pharaoh.
The Mummy Room
Another must-see is the Mummy Room. I counted at least 9 mummies, complete with their richly decorated coffins, as well as canopic jars and sarcophagi. There are also mummified animals – cats, crocodiles, birds, fish and more – and simple explanations as to the process of mummification, information about why the ancient Egyptians preserved their dead and what they believed happened in the afterlife.
The Ramesses Girdle
The Ramesses Girdle really stood out for me as one of the best exhibits in the museum because of its rarity. It is a piece of clothing dating from about 1185 BC that once belonged to King Ramesses III. It is made of intricately woven linen and was worn wrapped around the chest and fastened at the waist. Apparently it is the only surviving example of its kind and I find it astonishing that a piece of clothing worn by a pharaoh could’ve survived from ancient times and still exist for us to look at in a museum in Liverpool today! Don’t miss it!
The colony of leaf-cutter ants
I’m not sure why this was so fascinating, but we spent ages watching the colony of leaf-cutter ants busily traversing a thick piece of rope in the museum’s Bug House on the third floor.
Unfortunately the aquarium is currently closed for refurbishment, but it has long been one of the World Museum’s best-loved attractions. It looks like it will be even better when it re-opens later this year. Watch the Museum’s video below to see what is in store.
The Dinosaur Galleries
If you are visiting with young children, you really shouldn’t miss the full-size casts of a Megalosaurus and an Allosaurus in the dinosaur galleries. These enormous skeletons will tower over them and bring the whole, unbelievable world of dinosaurs to life. The museum also has some real fossils, including an Oviraptor egg, dinosaur bones and even some dinosaur poo for them to giggle over!
The gallery has models of some of the very different dinosaurs that lived in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and has a great display illustrating the difference between the two main classes of dinosaur (I can’t remember the names but it depends on the shape of their hip bones, apparently).
Make sure you leave time to see one of the shows in the museum’s full dome planetarium. These family-friendly cinema shows are on throughout the day and explore things like the different planets, the hunt for alien life, the birth of the sun, telescopes and more.
Top tip: When you arrive, check the schedule on the screen in the entrance hall and plan your day around the show(s) that you want to see. And make sure you get your tickets for the planetarium shows from the information desk on the ground floor before going up to the planetarium itself. The Night Sky show is free, but you still need to get tickets. All other shows cost £3 for adults and £2 for children (free to members).
The World Cultures Gallery
This part of the museum is probably more suited to slightly older children, as it required more reading and engaging with what was in the various displays, but it has some interesting artefacts relating to daily life and culture, religious beliefs clothing and furniture from around the world.
Don’t miss the Samurai armour, Native American headdress and moccasins and, my personal favourite, a collection of Inuit snow goggles. Hunters apparently made their own snow goggles from ivory, bone or wood to protect their eyes from the glare of sunlight on snow or water. These types of goggles were a precursor to today’s sunglasses and were used for over 4000 years by Arctic peoples.
So, there you have it, our recommendations for a fun day out at the World Museum Liverpool. We hope you get a chance to visit and that you enjoy it as much as we did – please let us know in the comments below.
Getting to the World Museum in Liverpool
The World Museum is in the centre of Liverpool, a few minutes’ walk from Lime Street train station or Queen’s Square bus station. We travelled by train and the museum is easy to find from the station. You simply exit the station onto Lime Street and go down the steps. Turn right and head across the front of the huge St George’s Hall with its imposing columns. Turn left at the end of St George’s Hall onto the cobbled William Brown Street and continue past the circular library building. The World Museum is on the right a little further down.
World Museum Liverpool Parking
There is limited parking in front of the museum on William Brown Street (pay and display) and a car park behind the museum.
Click here for full information on getting to the World Museum.
World Museum Liverpool Opening Times
The museum open daily from 10am – 5pm.
It is closed on 24, 25, 26 and 31 December and 1 January.
Entry is free, although donations are welcomed.