DD6 and I have been studying prehistoric life and paleontology with a focus on dinosaurs this month. She LOVES paleontology and her favorite dinosaur is the T-Rex. So today we took a field trip to the Natural History Museum here in Ankara. While it is no Smithsonian, it was a nice, FREE, museum with enough fossils and replicas to keep DD happy.
I was happy that it was so well-lit, clean, organized, and had the amenities one would need–good, convenient parking, bathrooms, and a nice gift shop! It took us about an hour to go through because all the signs were in Turkish and so we didn’t take any time to read it.
Read through to the end for a special printable bonus for kids!
Ground Floor–entrance, dinosaur replicas on front lawn, small solar system exhibit, gift shop, bathrooms. The gift shop was small, but cute. If your kid loves rocks like mine, they’ll be thrilled at the options to buy a cool rock/mineral by weight. DD picked a labradorite that reflected in the light. It was 250 tl/kg, and her palm sized stone came out to be 38 tl (or just over $6). Other options included amethyst, obsidian, pink quartz, and tiger’s eye among others.
1st Floor–Dinosaurs, Turkish animals and plants, vertebrates, invertebrates
2nd Floor–rocks and minerals, mining in Turkey
3rd Floor–empty except for a small “under water” tunnel that wasn’t really under water–instead it had screens over the tunnel with videos of ocean life. It was odd.
Photo Scavenger Hunt for Kids! Print this 1 page and let kids use a camera or your phone to take photos as they find things in each room. They check off items as they find them. Not into photos? They can also just check off items. When it says to take a photo of a favorite item, they could draw on the back.
What is it? Natural history museum with dinosaur replicas, fossils, displays on Turkish animals and plants, rocks and minerals, etc
In Turkish? MTA Genel Müdürlüğü Tabiat Tarihi Müzesi
Location? Not far from Armada Mall; 15 min from Oran, near Balgat https://goo.gl/maps/u2B2if5328Rfqjza8
How We Reached It? Very easy drive by car
Hours? 9-5, closed Mondays
Cost? free Camera Fee? free
Toilets? Yes. The bathroom we used had toilet paper and soap and even had kid-sized toilets and a kid-sized sink along with adult toilets and sinks
Stroller Friendly? Yes. Inside you move between floors via a series of sloping ramps. Wide spaces and good side walks outside
How Long to Visit? 1-2 hours. On the lower side if you don’t read Turkish, as all signs inside are in Turkish only
Parking? yes, free parking lot behind museum
Notes: This was a great museum. Well designed, bright, interesting specimens. As the signs are all in Turkish, some I used GoogleTranslate with, some names were similar enough to English, and some we just admired the specimens and moved on. We visited during a home study on Prehistoric Life and loved seeing things we had studied. My 6 year old’s favorite were the dinosaurs—both inside and outside.
Bonus Tip: Safa Park is a 3 min drive away on the way back to the main road Mevlana Blvd has a nice playground, benches, and areas to walk.