Are you an adult who loves dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures? Are you looking for outings where you’ll be out of the rain? Are you caring for grandchildren and looking for something to entertain them these holidays? Then the Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators Exhibition might be just what you’re looking for!
Located at the WA Maritime Museum, the Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators Exhibition is an interactive immersive experience. This exhibition brings together real fossils from millions of years ago, along with life-sized casts from actual specimens and hands-on interactive displays. The exhibition features over 70 exhibits, including an incredible ichthyosaur specimen giving birth and a five-metre-long fish that died after swallowing another fish whole.
We had the opportunity to visit the exhibition recently with my 9 year old daughter and her Grandpa and Baba. On walking into the exhibition gallery, you’ll walk through the rib cage of some giant sea creature. This leads to a replica of an ichthyosaur skull (not an “ichy-sore-arse” as my cheeky in-laws kept calling it!). There’s examples of the teeth and beaks of these creatures in this section among other things.
Further along, we found an example of how different tails and flippers work. This is a great interactive section for the grandkids to try out. The child lays on the bed of each example and uses their arms and feet to maneuver the flippers. Next to these these found an example of early film. Turn the handle to make the cylinder spin and see the sea creature within swim along.
Adjacent to this, we found an interactive screen where visitors can tailor a sea creature so it can survive. My daughter loved playing with this! There is also a colouring in activity in this section which children will love. Colour in your sea creature, select its traits per the instructions on the sheet, and then scan it using the scanning bed. Then, watch as your sea monster comes to life on a large screen.
There is also a dress up activity in this section. Dig into the costume box and dress up as a sea monster. Despite the look on her face here, my daughter enjoyed this activity and loved posing for her Baba.
In addition to all these fun activities for the kids, this is where we found a large fossil replica of a Prognathodon. Looking at the teeth on this thing, I wouldn’t want to meet him on a day out swimming! There are also specimens of the Tylosaurus, fossilised teeth and a giant prehistoric turtle skulls. If you or the grandkids like the scarier dinosaurs, then these will tickle your fancy!
Walking around to the centre of the exhibition gallery, we found a huge long cast of an Elasmosaurus skeleton. The sheer size of this beast is unbelievable! Behind glass, there is also a fossil of a plesiosaur, called Penny the Plesiosaur. This is very well preserved and its amazing to see all the tiny bones in this creature.
Heading back to the front of the gallery, we found another colouring in and scan activity. My daughter enjoyed colouring in the different sea creatures and adding them to the screen.
Walking around the exhibit, you will find different draws you can open an examine. These parts of the exhibit we’re creature with the assistance of Junior Curators, children from around Perth who have contributed. So be sure to check these out.
Located nearby in a small theatre there is also a short documentary to enjoy. This National Geographic feature runs on the hours for approximately 40 minutes and is included with your entry ticket.
In addition to this exhibition, the WA Maritime Museum are hosting school holiday activities for children. One part is a treasure hunt style activity. The guides running this will give the kids a booklet with clues and questions to answer. Follow the bubbles around the lower and upper floors of the museum to find the divers flippers. Stand on the flippers and look around for the Lego mini figures. There will be one or two of them, and these will have a plaque with the answer to the question for each number. There are seven to find in total. My daughter loved it, but a could where a little tricky. So my hint would be to look up, and to look around. 😉
Once the children have completed their hunt, return to the museum guides for a prize. This is a craft activity that can be completed at the museum or, like us, you can take home to complete on another rainy day.
We all enjoyed exploring the rest of the WA Maritime Museum. If you haven’t already been before, it’s a great opportunity to learn about WA’s maritime history, from the early days of settlement, the pearl trade in northern WA, to America’s Cup. My husband was excited to discover a Sandman, kitted out like it had just come from a surfing trip.
Before leaving, don’t forget to check out the giftshop for a souvenir of your day out. There’s a good mix of items for both adults and children. We found educations children’s book, puzzles, games and more that would make great gifts. I almost bought a lip balm and a hand moisturizer made with Australian native plum. In the end, my daughter picked out a build your own mermaid model, which she spent the rest of her afternoon making, while I found this cheeky seagull bag which made me laugh. So I bought that for me.
Overall our whole family enjoyed this outing to the Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators Exhibition. Grandpa walks with a walking stick these days for outings such as this, and we were grateful to see plenty of seating is provided in the exhibit and around the museum for those who may need a rest now and then. There’s plenty of space for anyone needing a wheelchair or wheeling a pram as well. When asked what her favourite thing was, my daughter said she couldn’t decide, she liked it wall. However, I get the feeling she loved seeing her coloured in sea monsters on the big screens. She seemed really tickled pink with that! Her grandparents enjoyed exploring the main part of the museum and seeing the replica skeletons of the sea monsters. Especially the afore mentioned ichthyosaur.
So, in short, if you’re looking for a multigenerational outing or you just want to indulge your own love of prehistoric monsters, then we think you’ll get a lot out of this exhibition too.
Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators Exhibition
Located at the WA Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Victoria Quay Road, Fremantle.
Standard | $15
Concession | $12.50
Junior (5 – 15) | $12.50
Junior (0 – 4) | Free
Family | $50
If you find yourself in need of a bite to eat or refreshment during your visit to the WA Maritime Museum, there is a café onsite behind the front desks. This serves hot drinks such as tea and coffee, cold drinks such as juice and fizzy drinks, foods such as toasties and more. Alternatively, if you’re wanting something more substantial or you have grandchildren with you in need of a run around, then there is Gage Road Brewing Co located next door. This features a great range of seafood and non-seafood items, a kids menu, locally brewed beers and a kids playground.
If you’re looking to make it a whole day out, why not also consider a visit to the WA Shipwrecks Museum, also in Fremantle. If you’re minding grandchildren, this also has school holiday activities available for children, and entry to this museum is via a small donation.