Do you have a child who loves dinosaurs? Are you looking for a school holiday outing that’s fun but avoids the rain? Then the Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators Exhibition is for you! This educational experience is running now at the WA Maritime Museum.
Strictly, the creatures in this exhibition are not necessarily dinosaurs. However, they lived millions of years ago while the dinosaurs ruled the land. Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators brings together real fossils from millions of years ago, life-sized casts of actual specimens and hands-on interactive experiences to bring these amazing creatures to life.
We recently had the opportunity to visit the exhibition with Miss 9 and her grandparents. On entering the gallery, you’ll walk through a replica rib cage of an enormous sea creature, leading you to the first of the Sea Monsters, the Ichthyosaur. This part of the exhibition includes the skull of the giant dolphin-like creature and interactive elements such as teeth your child can touch and examine.
Further along, we came across an interactive example of how different flippers and tails work on different creatures. The child lays down on the bench and uses their arms and legs to manoeuvre the flippers. Adjacent to this is an example of early movies. Turn the handle to make the cylinder spin and watch as the animated sea creature swims.
From this area, Miss 9 headed for the back of the gallery, where she found a large screen with colourful sea creatures swimming back and forth. A smaller screen is next to this where your child can design a sea monster with the best traits to survive. Adjacent to these screens is a table with coloured textas and another with colouring sheets and a scanner. Colour in your sea monster and select its traits according to the instructions on the sheet, then scan it. You will see your colourful creation soon swimming on the screen!
In addition to the screens, we also found a dress-up station. Select your costume from the dress-up box and snap a photo. There are all kinds of heads and tails to choose from.
In this section we also saw a huge fossil of a Prognathodon. There’s also examples of the Tylosaurus. This was described as “The T-Rex of the deep”. So if you have a kiddo who likes the scarier dinosaurs, they will love this one! There is an example of this monster’s skull, fossilized teeth and more to view. Miss 9 also discovered a burp button in this area, which made her laugh a lot!
At the centre of the gallery we found another fossil of a long necked plesiosaur, an Elasmosaurus. The size and scale of the creature is unbelievable! There is a smaller fossilized skeleton behind glass in addition to this, called Penny the Plesiosaur.
Walking around the exhibits, there are loads of interesting sea monster facts to read and things for kids to touch and explore. There is an example of giant turtle shells kids can crawl into to experience being a giant turtle, draws with information compiled by junior curators, another colour and scan activity and more! There is even a small theatre with a National Geographic documentary all about these magnificent creatures. This documentary runs on the hour for approximately 37 minutes. So, it’s not a long watch, and the theatre is open if you need to take the kids out for a walk and come back for a later showing.
During school holidays, the WA Maritime Museum also has a treasure hunt style activity available in the main part of the museum. Follow the bubbles, stand on the flippers with your guidebook and find the Lego minifigs to discover the answer to the questions. A couple of them are tricky, and my advice for these is to look up and look around. 😉
Once your child has completed the questions, head back to the activity tables where you can collect your prize. This is a craft activity you can colour and complete there or you can take it home to save for a rainy day if your kids are already tired like mine.
If you have the time, the rest of the museum is a great place to learn more about Western Australia’s maritime history. Read about the pearl diving in northern WA, about our naval history during wartime, about America’s Cup and more.
On the way out, why not pick up a souvenir to remember your visit? Miss 9 found a mermaid model, which she spent the rest of our day building when we got home, and I found a cute bag with a cheeky chippie thief that made me giggle.
We all enjoyed our visit to the WA Maritime Museum and had lots of fun with the Sea Monsters exhibition. If you’re looking for a rainy day activity for busy kids, this one is sure to be a hit! When asked what her favourite thing was, Miss ( said she enjoyed the whole thing. She couldn’t pick just one. I feel like she enjoyed the excitement of the treasure hunt a lot though.
Sensory-wise, we found this exhibition to be a winner. The lighting in the gallery is soft like it was filtered through gentle ocean waves, and there’s no loud or overwhelming noises. There’s plenty of room for prams and wheelchairs to navigate the exhibition gallery as well. My father-in-law walks with a walking stick for these kinds of outings, and we were glad to see there was seating around that he could stop to rest as needed. So your whole family should be able to enjoy visiting the Sea Monsters.
Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators Exhibition
Located at WA Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Victoria Quay Road, Fremantle.
The Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators Exhibition runs from Saturday 1 April to Sunday 16 July 2023.
Standard | $15
Concession | $12.50
Junior (5 – 15) | $12.50
Junior (0 – 4) | Free
Family | $50
If you find yourself in need of refreshments during your visit to the WA Maritime Museum, there is a café onsite behind the front desk selling hot drinks, cold drinks and toasties for example. If you find yourself wanting more options or the kids want more of a chance to run about, why not check out Gage Roads Brewery, located next door.
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