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Nairobi Museum is more than a place for history

Built in 1929, Nairobi National Museum is the flagship museum for the National Museums of Kenya. It houses celebrated collections of Kenya’s history, nature, culture and contemporary art.

Curators at the museum, say it was started in 1910 by a group of naturalists under the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society who needed a place to preserve their collections.

Larger building

The museum’s first site was at the present Nyayo House. Since it was too small, in 1922, it was moved to a larger building where the Nairobi Serena Hotel stands today.

In 1929, the colonial government set aside land for the construction of a museum at Museum Hill which was officially opened in September 1930.

It was named Coryndon Museum in honour of Sir Robert Coryndon, one time governor of Kenya.

After independence, it was re-named the National Museum of Kenya.

After an extensive modernisation and expansion project, the museum was re-opened in June 2008 as the Nairobi National Museum.

It is a lovely family outing spot especially during weekends as visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities as well as botanical gardens that offer a serene environment.

The artworks and materials used on outdoor sculptures, the landscaping and botanic gardens, offer Kenya’s rich heritage to visitors. The museum also hosts events such as workshops and cocktails among others.

You will find a guide at the door who will give you useful information about the various sections at the museum.

At the people section, you will find displays of cultures of various tribes in Kenya.

The museum also contains dinosaur fossils found in Kenya.

There is a beautiful restaurant within the museum with a large balcony that offers a great and breathtaking jungle view. It also has tourist shops that deal in local handmade jewellery, African artefacts and souvenirs.

Snake park

Another major tourist attraction within the grounds is the snake park which has just been refurbished. It provides refuge for abandoned and unwanted reptiles.

On display are cobras, puff adders, mambas and the large African rock python (non-poisonous) which is only found in Kenya. Others are several species of crocodile found in Africa, the American alligator, fresh water terrapins and tortoises.

The coral fish from the East African lakes and rivers are on display at the aquariums. There are discounted joint tickets that include admission to the snake park. Adults pay Sh200, children Sh100.

The tours at the park are something to write home about.