Country Kids: St. Fagan's Natural History Museum

In the north-west corner of Cardiff there is a (not so little) treasure. Up until recently, we haven't been able to partake of its resources because The Boy has been a little bit too young, but now that he's becoming more and more curious it's ideal.

St. Fagan's Natural History Museum is an outdoor museum that houses a multitude of buildings from different times throughout history. It's also set in beautiful woodland with lots of areas to explore and a farmhouse with some animals in the yard. This was originally why we went, but we gained so much more! (We actually popped in on Saturday for an hour before closing, and decided to go back on Sunday as there was so much more to see. As it's free entry, it's a good day out)

It's called a museum but it's so much more than that. A museum is not traditionally somewhere children can immerse themselves in the past by being in the place, but at St. Fagan's that possible because of the reconstructed buildings. The newest addition is St. Teilo's church which was originally thought to be five hundred years old (until they found paintings in it that were three hundred years older than they first thought), and my favourite is the Rhyd-y-Car Ironworkers' houses, which is a row of six terraced houses and gardens, each decorated as they would have been at various points from 1805 to 1985. It makes Mr. TBaM and me chuckle to see the huge video players from our childhood.

The Rhyd-y-car houses were one of the things that The Boy found most interesting, the houses of 1955 (when nanny was a little girl) and 1985  had recognisable features to him: Did nanny have those lights?Is that what a tv was like when you were little mummy? It was an excellent way to introduce him to the concept of history in a way that he can equate to as most of the time he has difficulty remembering what he had for lunch! He was horrified at the concept of outdoor toilets!

We had great fun pretending to be chickens in the cockpit (we glossed over what the chickens would have been doing there), buying bread from the old bakery using flour ground on site, sitting in a Celtic roundhouse and pointing out he wouldn't like to live there because 'it's silly!' (which we went onto discuss meant different), and exploring the woods. The real gem was finding out there was a small, hundred year old, vintage, children's funfair there: his first go on the swingseats!

As it's a museum it's free, although parking is £3.50 a time. I actually bought a year parking permit for £17.50 because I can see us going there lots of times over the forthcoming year to explore the many different buildings, take part in the arts and crafts at different celebrations, explore the woodland, or just for a picnic and a play in the excellent playpark there.

Linking this up to the fantastic linky 'Country Kids' over at Coombe Mill. Fiona does an excellent job of promoting and encouraging us to get outside and play with our children, and her linky is one year old this week!

coombe mill

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  1. Jenny Paulin says

    That look like. Fabulous place to visit time and time again and it's free which is so refreshing because so many places costs so much knew to go to. I love the swing ride and that big tree he is crossing. What fun!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I'm hoping we can go and explore the woods some more another time. I object to paying £3.50 each parking trip but didn't have a problem with the £17.50 for the year, far better value.

  2. says

    Wow that really is a hidden treasure and free to go too! Well worth the parking fee and I don't blame you for signing up for the year. This is such a great way to learn about history and make it interesting too. The Boy is clearly having a wonderful time there and who could blame him. Thank you for linking up and the lovely explanation of Country Kids.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      He has no concept of history really, although he's starting to get yesterday and tomorrow, and knows days of the week etc. He asks about things being earlier or later. When we talked about houses from a long time ago he was quite interested and seemed to understand. Contextual learning is so much more effective.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      It's such a treasure trove and has so many different and new buildings there. They're moving an old pub from the centre of Cardiff at the moment to one of the plots there.

  3. says

    I visited St Fagans about 20 years ago (eek! am I really that old?) I've always said I'd like to go back but have never had the opportunity. I remember it being great then and I am sure it has improved since. It is great to have places on the doorstep that you can revisit again and again.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      You should have a trip down here when Bud and Little Miss are older, it's one of the great places around here. Thanks for your comment.

  4. says

    This looks like a fab day out for all the family. Now that we've successfully made our first to trip to Cardiff (by car), I'm sure we'll be back soon and this looks like something Amy would really enjoy x

  5. says

    I dont even think I knew that existed. When I saw Fagan I thought of Les Miserable, (he's a character in it right?) It looks like it be worth a visit when Z is a bit older

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