Weekend Bonding Idea: 6 Tips For Visiting The National Museum

Thinking of an activity for you and your kids this weekend? The National Museum of the Philippines is an adventure worth taking!

Set aside one whole day to discover the National Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Anthropology, and the newly renovated National Museum of Natural History. These gems feature art and interactive exhibits that encourage curiosity, introduce unknown worlds and subject matters, and offer unique environments for quality time with family. 

Before the trip, I built excitement around the National Museum of Natural History with my son Manu, 9 years old. 

One of its main attractions are the skeletal remains and exact replica of Lolong, the largest saltwater crocodile ever captured. 

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your weekend bonding. 

1.    The 3 museums are in 3 separate buildings. I wish I had known this sooner because I would have packed lighter to prepare for the short walk between museums. 

The walk isn’t too bad though. You get to pass through the back part of Luneta park where there’s a giant statue of Lapu Lapu. Research ahead to share fun facts about this historical figure with your kiddo.  

2.    Arrive early, like 9AM, which is an hour earlier than opening time and start at the National Museum of Fine Arts. Manu and I lined up at the National Museum of Fine Arts when it opened at 10am. Arriving early has it perks. We were able to park easily. 

Entrance to the museums are free. All you need is to be a little patient with the lines. As a tip, bring a small umbrella since the stairway to the National Museum of Natural History does not have shade. It could get really hot while waiting to enter or it might be raining at this point so best to be prepared.  

Lines can get long on a weekend.

Lines can get long on a weekend.

3.    One of the highlights of the National Museum of Fine Arts is Juan Luna’s masterpiece, the Spoliarium. Teach your child to appreciate the work of art (and all the rest you’re about to see) by spending at least 10 seconds staring at big paintings, and 5 seconds on small artwork. 

Manu appreciates the Spoliarium. 

Manu appreciates the Spoliarium. 

There are rooms upon rooms of art so make it interesting by picking a piece that you want to talk about. 

4.    The National Museum of Natural History has an amazing architectural feature called the DNA Tree of Life. It’s a double-helix steel structure that resembles a tree and its branches. You can opt to explore it through the scenic elevator or go floor by floor with the stairs. 

5.    There are lots to see and learn in every floor. Manu and I spent the most time at the Mangroves, Beaches, and Intertidal Zone and in The Marine Realm, both in level 3. The displays are world-class. Take your time reading and absorbing all the new knowledge. Encourage your child to try out the interactive exhibits because they really are educational and fun. 

6.    Follow museum rules! No touching of the displays and no use of selfie-sticks are strictly enforced. Follow museum rules and get your selfie with the star of the show, Lolong. 

A day visit to our museums is quality time well spent as we get to know our kids better while strengthening the family bond. 

A museum bonding activity encourages imagination and a spirit of exploration in our kids. It also uplifts nationalist pride knowing that our country has so much beauty and natural wonder. 

The museums are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. The National Museum is located along Padre Burgos Avenue, Ermita, Manila. There is no age limit so it’s definitely an experience the whole family can enjoy and learn from. Have fun!

Contributed by Judy Malabanan