The Natural History Museum at Tring was once the private museum of Lionel Walter, 2nd Baron Rothschild, and is located in the grounds of the former Rothschild family home of Tring Park. The building was constructed in 1889 to house his collection of mounted specimens and first opened to the public in 1892. The Rothschild family gave the Museum and its contents to the nation in 1937. Lionel Walter bred hybrids between zebras and horses (zebroids) and a hybrid foal is on display. He was frequently seen riding a zebra-drawn carriage. The museum's Zebra Cafe alludes to Lord Rothschild's love of zebras and has photographs of his trained zebras harnessed to open carriages.
The extensive collection, housed in several rooms, includes extinct animals and birds such as the quagga, thylacine, great auk and reconstructions of the moa and dodo. Oddities include hybrids and examples of abnormal coloration. The dogs display was relocated to the Rothschild Zoological Museum from the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London after World War II. This shows how domestic dogs have changed shape due to selective breeding and includes the tiny Russian and Mexican lapdogs as well as famous racing greyhounds. It became part of the Natural History Museum in 1937. In April 2007 its name was changed to the Natural History Museum at Tring.The site is also home to the ornithological research collections (Bird Group, Department of Zoology) and the ornithological library (Department of Library and Information Services) of The Natural History Museum, but these are not open to the public. There are small special themed exhibitions throughout the year showcasing specimens not normally on display, as well as activities for youngsters.
The Museum has six galleries, each one of which houses a different set of animals. Gallery 1. Meet the multicoloured mandrill, look a polar bear in the eye, and study birds from Antarctica to the tropics - all displayed in original Victorian glass cabinets. Gallery 2. Discover more stories from the natural world in their temporary exhibition space. Gallery 3. An elephant and rhinos are surrounded by marine animals and insects in this gallery, including an anglerfish, a spider crab, a crocodile and a tiger shark. Gallery 4. Explore a collection of odd-hoofed mammals - horses, zebras, three-toed tapirs, rhinoceroses and the extinct quagga. Gallery 5. See deer, antelope and marine mammals from around the world, and learn about the rarely seen okapi and saiga, and interesting members of the pig family. Gallery 6. Home to kangaroos and cassowaries that were part of Rothschild's live menagerie, the extinct Tasmanian tiger, reptiles, amphibians, and historic domestic dogs. Rothschild room. The story of one man's passion that created this Museum. Explore interactive maps, Rothschild's favourite birds and a life-size replica of his giant tortoise. Click here for a map of the museum.
At the Zebra Café you can enjoy locally made sandwiches, children's lunch boxes, cakes and hot and cold drinks on weekends and school holidays. During the week, hot and cold drinks and snacks are available from vending machines. You can reach the café from the Akeman Street car park or via the lift. Open 10.00-17.00 Monday to Saturday and 14.00-17.00 on Sundays (last orders taken at 16.45). Picnic areas You can eat packed lunches in the indoor and outdoor picnic areas. School groups need to pre-book the indoor area. Some outdoor picnic benches have lift-up seats for wheelchair users. The Museum has three entrances. The main entrance on Akeman Street has eight steps. The Park Street and car park entrances are step-free. There is lift access to the ground, first and second-floor galleries of the Museum and to the Zebra Café and the Akeman Street car park. Galleries 1-6, the Rothschild Room and unisex toilet are step-free. The shop is on the ground floor but has one step - staff can provide a ramp on request. Male and female toilets are located outside the Museum and can be accessed through Akeman Street car park. There's also a unisex toilet on the ground floor of the Museum. Both have baby changing facilities. The Museum's Akeman Street car park has 33 parking spaces, with one reserved for blue badge holders. Dawes Park car park has approximately 50 parking spaces, with three for blue badge holders and two parent and toddler spaces. There is a small cloakroom on the ground floor, next to the main entrance and the information desk. Items are left at the owner's risk. They welcome assistance dogs. Assistance dogs can also use the grassy areas around the Museum's perimeter and they can provide water outside the Zebra Café. For people with hearing impairment There are induction loops at the information desk, in the shop, in the Zebra Café and the Rothschild Room.
Location : The Walter Rothschild Building, Akeman St, Tring HP23 6AP
Transport: Tring (National Rail) then bus (387). Bus Routes : 61, 164, 387 and 500 stop 0.3 miles
Opening Times : Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00; Sunday 14:00 to 17:00.
Tickets : Free
Tel: 020 7942 6171