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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Five Things to Do at Australian Museum Once the Sun Goes Down

Hang out with the king of the prehistoric predators, see cute pics of penguins and kick back to some live beats.
By Marissa Ciampi
March 02, 2021
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By Marissa Ciampi
March 02, 2021
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While these long, sunny days are still upon us thanks to daylight savings, we should be making the most of exploring our city in the twilight hours. The good news for Sydneysiders is that a bunch of cultural institutions are staying up late, so you can get your arty fix once you clock off from your nine-to-five.

As part of its Nights at the Museum program, the newly revamped Australian Museum is open to visitors each Thursday evening from 5–9pm right up till March 25. Whether you want to get up close and personal with some big ol' bones, chair-dance to live DJ tunes or embrace your inner kid in a prehistoric-themed playground, there's something for everyone. Here are just five of the things you can check out at Australia's oldest museum once the sun goes down.

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Alistair MacDougall

COME FACE-TO-FACE WITH A T-REX

Australian Museum's blockbuster summer exhibition will have you travelling back 66 million years to the time of the mighty T-Rex. Hosted in the Museum's brand-new exhibition space, Tyrannosaurs: Meet the Family is on display till March 14. So, if you're hoping to catch the show after dark, you'll have to head there on a Thursday before then.

Apart from the main 13-metre-long, saw-toothed skeletal attraction, other fossils include the feather-covered Dilong — a distant relative of modern birds — and the king predator Daspletosaurus, which predates the T-Rex by ten million years. And, as it is an interactive exhibition, you can also run for your life in a VR experience and hatch a dino egg. Tickets are required and can be purchased here.

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Anna Kucera

KICK BACK TO A LIVE DJ SET AT THE POP-UP BAR

Once you've enjoyed some thrills over at the T-Rex exhibition, head over to the luminous pop-up bar where you can listen to a live DJ set. The pop-up bar and tunes are taking over Hintze Hall every Thursday from 5–9pm and you can expect an epic lineup of local DJs, with the likes of Diola, Lo Sai Sai Lo and Ayebatonye spinning tracks.

For drinks, you can sip on wine, beer or bubbles while you chair-dance to the tunes. And the pop-up bar is also serving up some light nibbles, should you get peckish.

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Anna Kucera

GO ON A QUICK TOUR

If you haven't been to the Australian Museum recently, there's a heap for you to check out. We recommend joining one of the free, 15-minute Object Tours, running every half-hour. Open to the public, these speedy tours will examine the Museum's collection with a spotlight on three key specimens within the venue. They're a quick and fun way to learn more than you normally would just by moseying around.

The Australian Museum has also undergone some impressive renovations and a guided tour of the new space is available as part of the after-dark program, but to members only. If you aren't a member yet, you can easily join over here. Bookings for these tours are essential.

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Alistair MacDougall

CHECK OUT SOME NEXT-LEVEL NATURE PICS

If you're a nature enthusiast, make tracks to the 2020 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year exhibition, which is on display at the Australian Museum till May 9. Over 100 large format pics have taken over the Grand Hall for the show.

It features incredible photography that champions the biodiversity of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Antartica — from lush rainforests to the underworld of the deep sea. You can put your wallet away, too, because this exhibition is free.

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Anna Kucera

CHANNEL YOUR INNER KIDULT AT THE PREHISTORIC PLAYGROUND

You'll find a bit of kidult-style fun up on level two, where the Museum's Prehistoric Playground will be open until 8pm each Thursday during the Nights at the Museum dates. Sure, it may be geared towards little ones, but that doesn't have to stop you having some childhood antics.

Here, you can investigate real fossils in the Fossil Lab, including the 75-million-year-old Centrosaurus fossil. You can also explore Jurassic plants and animals via microscope, design and animate your own dinosaur using the on-site illustration projector and create a prehistoric flying dinosaur — like a pterodactyl — using paper cups.

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Nights at the Museum runs every Thursday from 5–9pm till the end of March. For more details, head to the website

Published on March 02, 2021 by Marissa Ciampi

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