The most IG-worthy spots in the new National Museum of Natural History
Don't miss these when you visit
May 21, 2018
Museums are no longer just like your grandparents’ bodegas filled with a hodgepodge of old items. The newly opened National Museum of Natural History proves as much.
Although it retains the heritage of the building it once was—the old Department of Tourism building—as can be seen in the building’s facade, interiors, and even the wrought iron across its windows, its modernity makes itself apparent once you step into the courtyard.
Spanning five floors, the National Museum of Natural History is teeming with informative exhibits. Here’s a quick guide to the most photogenic ones we know so far:
Tree of Life
The courtyard—divided into two “levels”—has two highlights: the famed Tree of Life, and the life-size replica of the world’s largest crocodile, Lolong.
The Tree of Life is at the very center of the entire museum, stretching up from the courtyard up to the top floor. The tree’s “crown” is a dome, which is pretty majestic and photogenic itself.
We also love the shadows and light the patterns of glass cast on the floor when it’s sunny.
The Tree of Life also houses the central elevator. It runs directly from the ground floor to the fifth floor, where it is recommended that you start your tour of the museum.
This particular elevator can only carry 10 people at a time though. But what’s great about the National Museum of Natural History is that they have numerous elevators on different sides of the building, there are several staircases, and there’s a huge ramp that passes through all floors. PWD-friendly!
Spanning 20.6 ft. (6.2 meters) and weighing more than 1000 kg., Lolong has been the largest recorded crocodile in the world. The replica of Lolong lies on the upper courtyard.
The Ayala function hall, on the other hand, houses Lolong’s real skeleton, which was arranged in an attacking position. It currently hangs over the function hall within which the 709,000-year old rhinoceros bones (which proved existence of early humans in Luzon) are on display.
The exhibit on early and modern naturalists has several interactive parts, which make for great photo and learning opportunities, too. Go back to your childhood by coloring over leaves (who remembers doing this in elementary?), or tracing shapes of endemic plants. Or you can channel your inner scientist (or Sherlock Holmes?) as you take a closer look at different flora and fauna with the magnifying glasses provided. (The butterflies look the most stunning, by the way.)
The Marine Realm
The entire space is Instagrammable, to be honest. It feels like you’re stepping into an aquarium or oceanarium. The Marine Realm exhibit has several must-see spots: first, the submarine, which features various underwater, deep sea, reef views in each “window.”
You can pretend you’re maneuvering the submarine, too.
There are also amazing details like a scuba diver/scientist “floating” nearby the submarine (taking notes on the underwater flora and fauna), and also the underside of fishing boats.
The replicas of dolphins, butandings, and a whole school of tuna also make for stunning backdrops or even photo subjects themselves.
Whether on this list or not, all exhibits in the National Museum of Natural History deserve a visit. Make sure you don’t just go to take photos though; take the time to read the descriptions, watch the videos, and interact with the exhibits. After all, the National Museum is not just a place to store artifacts; it’s a (fun!) learning space.
The definitive guide to Manila’s museums and galleries
MaArte Fair “residents” you need to visit this weekend
This bakery’s answer to food waste is a treat called the conscious cookie
Fashion designer Eddie Baddeo passes away
This art exhibit highlights the importance of a sustainable future
Viet Thanh Nguyen on decentering American narratives and offending everybody