Review: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (and Dippy the Dinosaur)

Knowing that Dippy the Dinosaur (the diplodocus skeleton normally resident in London’s Natural History Museum) is on tour around the UK (currently at Birmingham), how much my children love dinosaurs and how easy Birmingham is by train I decided that this was a must this summer… so a day trip was planned with my little brother (Max, only 10 months older than Logan).

We were surprised to find out it’s all free. Not just the exhibition to see Dippy, but also the entry to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. So that was a bonus. But I must say, having never been there before, and knowing it’s a free museum, we were pleasantly surprised not only of the quality of the exhibitions on offer, but also the interactivity layout and presentation of the place. It was fantastic. The regret we have is not having planned more time there. But knowing it’s free and easy to get to, I expect there shall be a return visit at some point.

There were various different permanent exhibitions, from Ancient History through to the history of Birmingham There were many artifacts on display, quizzes, electronic interactivity, models, example clothing and fashion as well as sections for the children to play on something related, for example the 1930’s kitchen in the above picture gallery.

Then it was time for Dippy, although it is free entry, you have to book in for your time slot to enter online here. It was a big hall with Dippy being the central focus. Some dinosaur related information and displays around the outer sections of the hall. And then towards the back the children were given the opportunity to write on a brown label, with a message for Dippy to take on tour with him.

The museum itself was about a 5 minute walk from the Snow Hill rail station, but surrounded by a lot of building works. It wasn’t that hard to find as it’s quite centrally located. However, using google maps on my phone for directions we ended up facing the task of getting a wheelchair up a enormous amount of steps. Luckily, Caitlin can walk, so she could get out and be supported up the steps whilst her wheelchair was carried. However, on exit we found that if you enter the museum from Edmund Street this is much more accessible. The Museum itself does have lifts, though the one at the beginning of the museum was the only one in use whilst we were there, so you had to walk back through the exhibition to get back to the lift to go down… or find a way down the stairs. Toilet facilities were good and clean, though had run out of toilet paper by the time we used.

Review: Adagio Aparthotel Birmingham

Again, retrospective.

Back in December, I actually had a night away from the children. A whole evening and night… It wasn’t the first time (I did 2 nights back in August staying with friends). However, it was the first time I had actually spent a decent whack of money in doing it. I was going to see a band I hadn’t seen for a long time (the last time I saw them I was a student at University, and I had caught the train to London – my student loan may have paid for my rent, but I worked my butt off to pay to see bands… constantly – massive passion for music). The band are called Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and actually they were doing an anniversary gig for the Don’t You Fake It album… the album I was most obsessed with (I literally mean obsessed… it’s not just a good album, it’s amazing). Anyhow, the review isn’t about them. Although, kind of thinking given my passion I should add a page about music to my site, but I would talk ears off!!!!

Anyhow, I figured, it’d be nice to be able to have a beer, and to not have to deal with the kids – so I booked a hotel as close to the gig as I could. One of the cheaper, but nicer options available (as in there was only something like a £30 difference between this and a hostel room in that specific location for the night) was the Adagio Aparthotel  Birmingham. So I booked it. Not only was it going to be a night away, but a night in comfort and luxury… and not in a bunk in a room with strangers and a shared bathroom, I’m over 30, hence, I am so over that life.

 

Anyhow, we (me and family friend) were greeted promptly and courteously on arrival, our room keys were quickly sorted and we were away. The room was clean and comfortable and provided everything we’d need (including a dishwasher). We had a view over the Bullring, which looked really pretty at night, I have to admit, I really don’t like it in the daylight… not my cup of tea. But lit up at night, I saw it in a new perspective and I liked it.

The room was only a “bed for the night”. So I didn’t really give it my usual thorough testing – got there at 6, went to gig, came home with  take away, (ample crockery in the room to plate that up comfortably), went to bed and got up and left. However I can say that room was quiet, despite its central location over a busy main road. I didn’t feel unsafe in the area at all. The car ark was just around the corner. It was very close to everything you’d need in all honesty. It was a welcome bit of self care.