I’m not one of those people who finds normal kid behavior annoying generally.  When I realized, based on the queue, that there would be a high number of kids inside, I expected a few meltdowns and overly tired children getting upset in various ways.  What I didn’t expect, especially given how proper England generally seems, was children who would shove their way past other children and adults to push all the buttons on a display, then run to the next one, shove someone else and do it again.  Worse, this wasn’t just one set of children.  Even more terrible, their parents just watched like it was no big deal.  I didn’t have the same experience at the British Museum, so maybe parents perceive this place as somewhere you can let your kids run free and do whatever they want?  Considering all the fossils and historic items here, I find that rather shocking.  When I say that, on the whole, this was the worst behaved group of children I’ve ever seen, that is coming from someone who goes to OMSI, the zoo, has been to the Boston Museum of Science, the Imaginarium in San Francisco, etc.  I’m no stranger to checking out places for learning, which also happen to be populated by lots of little people.

In short, by the end of my day here, I was very appreciative of how well-behaved French children seem to be on the whole and ready to return “home” to France.  My day started off with a proper English breakfast though!  It was quite lovely to see bacon and eggs for a morning meal!  I also received a coffee that is MASSIVE compared to France . . . unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as French coffee!

I suppose the queue full of families (and extending down the block) perhaps should have been a warning, but again, I don’t generally find the normal behavior of children particularly annoying – I actually like kids typically.  In fact, there was an adorable 2-3 year old in front of me who just could NOT understand why she couldn’t go inside to see the dinosaurs . . . which is completely understandable at that age – what is this queue business anyway?!?

I was suitably distracted while waiting in the queue by the incredible building the museum is housed in.  I’m sure we do this in the US too, but I really love the use of old buildings to house museums!  I have no idea what this place used to be, but it’s really gorgeous – love the pinkish and bluish tint to the stones!

Although I don’t know what it used to be, having seen so many of them, the design screams “church” or “abbey” frankly . . . I haven’t been sufficiently motivated to look it up!  The interior was equally amazing and I just stood around checking it out for a bit, then took a photo, which just happens to include the giant dinosaur skeleton as well.  I did learn something fascinating about dinosaurs – their bones show signs of not only healed breaks, but cancerous growths (!) and arthritis.

I headed off down the wing away from the dinosaurs, figuring (correctly) that the crowd when thin out when the little ones tire later in the day.  On my way to check out all the good human fossils, earthquake fun (also a terribly overcrowded area) and other earth science, I came across this guy and was surprised to learn HE LIVED WHEN HUMANS DID.  Yeah, imagine that lumbering towards you!  Sadly, we turned out to be more dangerous than he was and they were extinct shortly after the arrival of man to their native area.

Forgive the blurry picture on this one, but by the time I made to this room, it was sort of an endurance test to just see what I could and get out of there before I started disciplining other people’s kids!  I did find it intriguing that, of all the gemstones, rubies, emeralds and sapphires have long been prized through various cultures.  And proof that even after visiting many of these, I can still learn new things – I was unaware before that rubies and sapphires come from the same mineral, corundum.  They’re just different colors of it!

Nothing like wandering through a museum and seeing a warning about radioactivity – I thought it was for fun until I read the sign that there was ACTUAL radioactive material in there.  It has a lead-lined case for your safety, but it still creeped me out a bit – I mean, this stuff is just hanging out in a museum!?!

That pretty much wraps up my trip to England!  I thought it would be great to be surrounded by English-speaking people again, but I’ve grown so accustomed to the French accent that I found British people difficult to understand.  All-in-all it was a largely enjoyable trip, but I was happy to get back to my cottage in Civray!