I recently had the pleasure of revisiting a museum that I hadn’t been to in a while. The National Museum of Natural History and Science of Lisbon is an overlooked place but no less important than other museums in Lisbon. And no, it’s not as grand as the London Natural History Museum or beautiful as the Paris Jardin des Plants, but it still holds a remarkable collection that ranges from chemistry, biology, paleontology and much more.
The Museum is located in the busy and vibrant Príncipe Real, near Chiado. It’s a two-century-old establishment, with a big and imposing facade, though the side entrance is more commonly used since its where you access the Botanical Garden- which by itself deserves an article, so I’ll just say it’s one of the most beautiful gardens in Lisbon.
In the museum itself, you’ll be treated with a myriad of exhibitions (permanent and temporary) in a variety of subjects. For a younger crowd, there is always an attractive (albeit small) exhibition on Dinosaurs on the first floor, that has many incredible fossils (and recreations), including a full young Allosaurus skeleton.
There are more biology and zoology sections on the second floor if you’re more into wildlife like me, but a big strength of this museum is the geology area, with information on tectonic plates and global geological events in sort-of a macro-view of the subject, and also a vast variety of minerals and geodes, with all shapes, sizes and colors, a beautiful sight even for those not as into geology.
Lastly, there is physics and chemistry. In the first floor there is an old chemistry classroom and lecture amphitheatre, repurposed for people to visit and look around, while on the second floor there is the physics room, also a good experience for kids since it’s filled with experiments they can perform in order to learn about subjects like inertia, traction, light and other subjects of interest.
Be sure to check out this overlooked museum whenever in Lisbon and its wonderful garden.
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