Suitable for all ages
This is a large museum, spread over 3 floors, with something that will appeal to all kids and adults. Also known as the Auckland War Memorial Museum, this is actually only the theme for the top floor. The ground floor is dedicated to Maori culture and early 19th century settlers. There’s a whole building (Hotunui – meeting house) a canoe, the last one used in battle, objects used in everyday life to hunt, fish and generally live. There are taonga (treasures) representing Iwi throughout New Zealand.
The 1st floor covers natural history with dinosaur skeletons, stuffed Moa and other native and non-native animals. There’s also an area about volcanoes and within ‘Ancient Worlds’, an intact mummy. The area called ‘Weird & Wonderful’ on this floor is dedicated to kids allowing them to get interactive with items which the rest of the museum doesn’t really permit. All related to natural history, there are bones and rocks to touch, a bird’s nest to climb up to and sit in, microscopes to look through and colouring in sheets to complete and then transform into 3D images.
The 2nd floor is dedicated to New Zealand’s involvement in different wars in the 20th century. It’s worth remembering that the halls of memories (1 each for WWI and WWII) are tranquil places, so you need to stop littlies from running through these spaces. Of interest to some children though will be the full sized spitfire and zero planes, guns, and models of ships.
The Museum sits within the Auckland Domain, so there’s plenty of grass to run around on before or after your trip. You could also find a picnic spot outside or if the weather isn’t good enough, inside the museum is the ‘Kai Room’ with plenty of tables and chairs for eating your own food. There are free lockers here (as well as elsewhere in the museum if these are all taken) so you can leave your bags in one place and return to them when you need.
It’s a large museum with lots to see. Unless your family knows it well, you could give your children maps and let them guide you to things that they’re interested in seeing. You could easily spend half a day here. It’s a great rainy day option! If you’re planning a visit, it’s worth looking at their events calendar here to see if anything needs to be booked – especially if your visit will be during the school holidays.
Related tagsAuckland, Auckland City, Free, Rainy-day
Tel: 09 309 0443
Address: The Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland. There is free parking around the roads that go through the Domain. Check how long you can park for as times differ.
Open: daily 10am – 5pm. Closed Christmas Day
Price: General Museum Entry Auckland residents: Free. New Zealand residents: Donation appreciated. International visitors: Adults $28, Kids $14, Family $70 (2A+4K) all preschoolers 5 years and under are free. Packages including Maori Cultural performances and special events prices see here.