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South African Museum and Planetarium

  • Marvel at the stars in the Planetarium
Marvel at the stars in the Planetarium  © Discott, License

South African Museum and Planetarium

The South African Museum in Cape Town is a treasure trove of millions of specimens and artefacts that have been collected and donated to the museum ever since the SA Museum was founded in 1825. As with most museums, the vast bulk of this material is stored away in dusty shelves for research purposes only. But from this repository the museum takes great care to select the most interesting pieces and presents them to the public in visual displays that bring them back to life.

The S.A. Museum consists of two major sections - a natural history section that examines the plants, animals and minerals of Southern Africa, and a social history section that explores the cultural history of the various tribes, past and present, that make up South Africa's rainbow nation.

NATURAL HISTORY EXHIBITS:
The Ancient Karoo Exhibit contains fossils of giant reptiles that pre-date the dinosaurs, including life-like re-creations of their environment.

The museum also houses an impressive collection of South African mammals, including the now extinct quagga - a curious horse-like creature with zebra stripes, and a cast of the first live coelacanth ever discovered - a rare fish that was long believed to be extinct.

Ornithologists will enjoy the bird exhibit, which focuses on the many aquatic birds of Southern Africa.

The ""World of Water"" exhibit has fascinating displays such as kelp forests, giant squid, the gigantic prehistoric Megatooth Shark, and a complete skeleton of a magnificent blue whale swimming across the main hall.

SOCIAL HISTORY EXHIBITS:
Rock Art Exhibit gives a fascinating insight into the mysterious lives of the San people who roamed Southern Africa for over 50,000 years. The Nguni Tribes Exhibit explores the culture of Xhosa, Zulu, and Swazi tribes who migrated down the eastern coast of South Africa over 2,000 years ago. The Sotho exhibit examines the way of life of the Tswana, Northern Sotho, and Southern Sotho tribes that farmed the Highveld regions.

ADDRESS:
25 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens (at the top end of the Company Gardens)

ENTRANCE FEES:
Adults - R10.00
Children - R5.00
Seniors / Students (with a valid card) - no charge
Sat - no charge

HOURS:
Daily 10:00-17:00
Closed Xmas Day and Good Friday

Tel: (021) 481 3800

PLANETARIUM:

Transform the way you see the world when you walk into the domed auditorium. Let your imagination run wild as you marvel at one of the only two planetariums in South Africa.
The planetarium recreates the night sky, showing constellations, planets and galaxies.

HOURS:
The planetarium is open daily, except on Worker's Day, Christmas Day and the first Monday of the month (excluding school holidays). There are shows from Monday to Friday at 14h00, at 20h00 on Tuesday evenings and at 12h00 (for children), 13h00 and 14h30 on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition, bring the young ones for a playful introduction to astronomy with Davy Dragon's Guide to the Night Sky at 12h00 on Saturdays and Sundays until 28 September.

ENTRANCE FEES:
Adults - R40
Children, students and SA pensioners - R20


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