Learn about extinct and modern land and sea animals and ponder the mysteries of the universe at this popular Cape Town institution.
Enter the South African Museum and Planetarium for a scientific journey of discovery. Examine fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old, see skeletons of ocean mammals and other natural history specimens and watch fascinating projections of the night sky.
Allow at least 2 to 3 hours to wander through the museum’s corridors and exhibition halls. Go to the Wonders of Nature exhibit for the petrified skull of a 250-million-year-old mammal-like reptile. You will also see a fossilized freshwater fish from the Triassic period. At the African Dinosaurs exhibit, view dioramas of ancient landscapes and models of South African dinosaurs.
Study a cross-section of a Norfolk Island pine tree that was planted about 1850. Gather insights into Darwin's visit to the area in 1836 when you stop by the Darwin and the Cape exhibit. Observe casts of whales and dolphins and a large model of the jaw of a megatooth shark. This extinct species lived millions of years ago and was one of the largest predators the world has ever seen. Other marine exhibits include a life-size model of a giant squid.
After your museum visit, settle back for some starry action in the planetarium, housed in the same building.
The museum and planetarium are open every day except Christmas Day and Workers' Day, which is on May 1. The planetarium also closes on the first Monday of each month except school holidays. There is an admission fee, with reductions for children, senior citizens and family tickets. Children 5 years and under enter for free. Pay a separate charge for the planetarium and its celestial shows.
The South African Museum and Planetarium are in the Company’s Garden on Queen Victoria Street and are well served by buses and taxis. Drive and use the free parking. The museum is within a short drive of the shops, restaurants, aquarium and other attractions of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.