Love among the dino bones: a safari on Valentine's night

 

Museums at night have a certain romance and none more so than London's Natural History Museum, though romance may not be the most appropriate word when you are standing next to the gigantic dinosaur in the main hall. A drink next to the dinosaur is just the prologue to an imaginative bi-monthly evening that the museum has started. Called Night Safari, it involves small groups going to several rooms where they meet scientists who introduce them to the institution's most cherished animals, from Guy the Gorilla to a killer shark.

I went on Valentine's Day and had a healthy dose of anti-Valentine's with the shark expert showing how the male sharks use their teeth to court the female sharks, inflicting considerable damage alongside the compliment; another scientist introducing us to various live venomous reptiles and insects with ingenious ways of spreading poison; and another showing how her work with specimens helped the police with their forensic investigations.

The theme of Night Safari changes for each event, meaning you can delve deeper into your favourite aspect of natural history. This intimate, informative and occasionally scary night at the museum makes a normal daytime visit with the usual crowds feel far too safe.

Night Safari, National History Museum, London SW7 (www.nhm.ac.uk) 8 April, 10 June, 12 August, 31 October and 9 December

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