All things bright and beautiful

Yesterday the kids and I went with some of our homeschool friends to the Natural History Museum in Tring. It was incredible! If ever you need a reminder of the awesomeness of creation, this is a great place to go. By the end of the day I had a renewed appreciation of the beauty and wonder God has put into the world, and of His majesty and power.

The green field - I caught it on camera on the way back home.

Tring is about just over an hour away from us, but due to rain and road works the journey took us two hours to get there. It was a pretty grey day, and I was looking out the wet windows as we drove along the motorway, not seeing anything of particular interest. Suddenly, as we rounded a curve in the road, a gorgeous bright yellow-green field came into view. It took my breath away! I was awed by the simple beauty of the crop, as it stood out bold and cheerful though dull, damp air. Wow – God can sure paint a scene!

The view across the hills as we left the motorway.

As we drew nearer to Tring the weather cleared up a bit. The blue sky brightened the day as we turned off the main motorway and began to drive along the winding roads. The countryside here was soft and green, with rolling hills, grazing sheep, and dandelions providing spots of yellow colour. I wished I had time to stop and walk though it all, and really take it in. As it was I had to simply enjoy it as we whizzed past, and attempt some pictures with my HTC phone camera!

God is amazing!

By the time we arrived I already knew that I would have to share this wondrous beauty with you all today. Little did I know what was waiting inside to confirm that decision! The car park was tiny and subjected to construction work, and the building looked like it could hardly hold anything of value. I gathered a few of the kids while our driver kindly went to look for a parking space further afield, and we walked into the building. We were greeted by friendly people, who showed us where to buy some activity sheets for the children. After spending £1.50, gathering pencils and drawing boards, and checking I had the right number of kids with me, we entered the first gallery.  Wow.

I could have stayed in this gallery for hours. I think we did spend about 45 minutes there. It was a small room for a museum – hardly bigger than the square footage of my flat – but it was packed from floor to ceiling with animals. There were bears, wolves, gorillas, big cats and birds of all kinds. Up above we could also see glimpses of safari and ocean creatures, which we saw in more detail when we got upstairs to gallery three.

It’s hard to say what my favourite part of the museum was, but I can narrow it down to three top experiences:

  1. Seeing the incredible beauty of a huge variety of birds up close.  I  have never been particularly interested in birds, but I’ve been getting more taken with them as I get older. Yesterday upped my interest a lot!  There so many varieties, and all so beautifully and intricately designed.
  2. The delighted cries and amazed faces of the children.  From the moment we entered until we left the children were moving from display to display, calling out for us to look at each new amazing discovery. They loved being so close up to the animals, seeing what they really look like. They took time to learn new facts, compare and contrast species and draw their favourite creatures.
  3. The ocean gallery.  Prince is very into ocean creatures at the moment, and whenever he is passionate about a topic I find myself being drawn into it too. The coral, crabs and sharks were particular favourites of mine in this section.  There was such detail, beauty and power in these creatures.

We stopped for a yummy indoor picnic half way through our exploring, and then made our way around the last galleries in the museum. After browsing the gift shop (Prince bought a pen for drawing with his own money), and a last trip to the loo, we walked back to the car. It was parked down a little village street, opposite fields where a few handsome horses were grazing.  Just lovely.

In our bedtime prayers we all thanked God for the amazing day out, and for the creation which we were blessed with witnessing that day.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20 (NIV)

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