Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The Vivarium at the Manchester Museum


On Black Friday (which is sadly now a thing in Britain too, but without Thanksgiving the day before) Christine and I decided to avoid the shops and go to the Manchester Museum. We’d stayed the night in Manchester to see Delain at the Club Academy and the museum wasn’t far from the hotel – and we both had all of Friday off work.

We’d been in 2013 and saw most of the museum, including its collection of stuffed animals and archaeological artefacts, but the vivarium where its lizards and amphibians live was closed. Thankfully it’s re-opened so we popped in.

A ‘vivarium‘ is basically any receptacle for keeping animals for observation and research, and the museum is at pains to state that this isn’t a zoo. The museum is attached to the University of Manchester and so the animals are kept as part of breeding and research programmes. Most of the animals are endangered in the wild.

It’s not a very big exhibit, and some of the frogs are particularly small and hard to spot. But they do have a particularly handsome chameleon, and lizards and snakes. There are also talks held on Thursdays.

I took a few photos, but only had my own iPhone on me – after all, we’d gone to Manchester primarily for a heavy metal concert, so I had left my SLR camera at home. Quite a few of the photos didn’t come out well so there’s just a couple up on Flickr – and it’s taken me until now to get these uploaded, despite visiting in November.

It’s a bit of a trek out of Manchester city centre: expect to walk around 15-20 minutes from Oxford Road station, or catch one of the many buses that run down Oxford Road past the universities. Entry to the museum is free (but donations are welcome) and it’s worth a visit, as there’s quite a lot to see there. When we went there was an additional exhibition about life in Siberia as well, which runs until March and was quite interesting.

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