If you find yourself in Central Durban and are looking for something to do you should seriously consider paying a visit to the Durban Natural Science Museum. Amazingly, it won't cost a penny in admittance because it's the only one of its kind funded by a local authority – the eThekwini Municipality. It is open to the public 363 days of the year and is one of the most visited science museums in South Africa. The average number of visitors every year is almost 300,000.
The Durban Natural Science Museum was founded on July 23rd 1887 and has recently celebrated its 130th anniversary. For its 120th anniversary two time capsules were sealed on the 23rd September 2008 in celebration of its contributions to the conservation of natural heritage. The first capsule will be opened in 2057 and the second in 2087. When the Museum is celebrating its bicentennial.
The mission of the Durban Natural Science Museum
The mission of the Durban Natural Science Museum is to acquire and disseminate knowledge about the Earth, its history, and life on Earth, both past and present. It is one of South Africa's smallest natural science museums but is the busiest. It is well-knows for the realistic dioramas, the life-size T rex model, an almost complete Dodo skeleton and Egyptian mummy, Peten Amen.
The museum is housed in a 2200m² interior of Durban City Hall. This setting is impressive in its own right thanks to its modern renaissance architecture dating back to 1910.
Also at this location is the Museum Research Centre that offers public access to the third largest collection of birds in Africa. It's possible for tours to be arranged for school parties and the general public. School tours are available on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10.00 and 12.00. General public tours take place on Fridays at 12.30.
Attractions close to Durban Natural Science Museum
- uShaka Marine Museum – this is a world class entertainment and tourism destination and is situated at the end of Durban's Golden Mile. It spans more than 15 hectares of prime beach front and is Africa's largest Marine Theme park. This attraction combines fresh and sea water, lush vegetation, natural materials and has also re-created a wreck of a 1940s cargo ship. It also contains the 5th largest aquarium in the world by volume of water.
- Durban ICC – this is the focal point of the Durban Central business district, the International Convention Centre. It has been voted Africa's Leading Conference Centre for six consecutive years by World Travel Awards.