Monday Museum with Kids: St. Petersburg Zoological Museum
This week our family’s pick was St. Petersburg Zoological museum. My daughter has already been here 3 times, and she just raves about it. For my son (two and a half years old) it was the first visit.
Previously we went to museums on Sunday, but Sundays are extremely crowded and we chose a more relaxed Monday for the Zoological museum this time. Nevertheless, we found lots of people inside with kids from toddlers to pre-school, and at least a dozen of school groups and a couple of Chinese and Thai groups too. May people inside, but the cloakrooms and benches proved sufficient.
Zoological Museum and Comfort Facilities
I noticed a woman trying to enter with a baby buggy. 3 steps in the doorway and extremely heavy doors make it very hard to do. Inside there are ramps for baby buggies on the side of the staircase, so once you are in, you are welcome to use the buggy.
The museum does not have any changing tables, which can be a disadvantage for a family with smaller children. WC facilities are quite old-fashioned, reminding me of Soviet times. If there’s a chance to use the comfort faculties somewhere else – do that.
The other thing to take into consideration is that there’s a tiny cafeteria with 3 or 4 dirty tables and the food is not good. Microwaved buns, sweets and chocolate bars will probably be something my kids wouldn’t mind, but being a fussy mother I can’t agree to that. We went to eat somewhere else after our museum visit.
But enough speaking of drawbacks, let me tell you what kids really like here.
Zoological Museum collections
To boast first: our Zoological museum is one of the top 3 world museums dedicated to natural history. The impressive collection of the Zoological museum in St. Petersburg counts over 17 million species. As usual, the museum lacks exhibition space and currently on display there are only about 40000 exhibits. They range from enormous mammoth (that was found whole as one piece at the Lena River) and whale skeletons to stuffed animals and birds and a huge collection of butterflies. Here one can see mummified crocodiles from ancient Egypt, extinct animals and endangered breeds, and even spirited embryos purchased by Peter the Great as part of his scientific collection in Holland.
There are several display windows showing wildlife and that is something my kids particularly like. They like looking at animals and try to guess what they are doing and why. They don’t mind the fact that these are stuffed animals they are looking at. One novelty this time was a real aquarium showing a coral reef life.
Well – yes, the exhibition does feel old-fashioned. There are practically no technologies, such as interactive displays or multi-media presentations. Nevertheless the museum enjoys small visitors and the small visitors appreciate the museum.
Concise History of the Zoological Museum
The history of the extensive collections go back to the times of Peter the Great. In 1714 the Kunstkammer was founded – Peter the Great’s Chamber of Curiosities became the very first public museum of Russia. Its collections comprised a haphazard set of incoherent rarities starting from a variety of human and animal fetuses with anatomical deficiencies, a collection of minerals, Peter the Great’s set of surgery and dentist instruments and – quite a few zoological specimens too.Б.зЮ
In 1724 the Kunstkammer became part of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The collections kept growing due to that. In 1832 it was necessary already to split the Zoological collections into a separate independent museum.
In 1896 the Zoological museum moved to the former warehouse on the Spit of Vassilievsky Island, and this building has been serving as its exhibition space up to nowadays. It’s a beautiful frame to for an excellent zoological collection.
Zoological Museum Opening Hours
Wednesday – Monday: 11:00-18:00