Look through the arch at the eastern end of the Grand Gallery, and you’ll see a Tyrannosaurus rex peering through at you. This giant dinosaur guards a stunning series of galleries about the Natural World. Here we ask the big questions: how does the world work? What do we know about it?

Hundreds of fascinating animals are brought together here to illustrate the extraordinary variety of life on earth. Our dramatic Animal World gallery introduces the main themes of behaviour and interaction with the environment. Here you can explore the lives of animals from around the world, from the Arctic to Australia, and even see how you measure up – do you weigh more than a chimpanzee?

Animal World gallery

Above: Tiger in the Animal World gallery.

Explore how animals communicate in our Animal Senses gallery on Level 3, or move up to Survival on Level 5 to learn how they have evolved to thrive – or faced extinction. Meet endangered species such as Ching Ching the Giant Panda or our Scottish Wildcat, and marvel at the spectacular array of swimming and flying animals in the Wildlife Panorama.

Children can get hands on in our interactive Adventure Planet gallery, whether they’re uncovering the skeleton of a dinosaur, dressing up to dive to the bottom of the sea or crawling through the roots of a giant oak tree to discover the species living there.

Adventure Planet

Above: Stegosaurus in Adventure Planet.

Next to our animal galleries, Earth in Space, on Level 1, explores our place in the universe and how our understanding of it has developed, while Restless Earth, on Level 3, investigates the geological processes that constantly shape and reshape the planet. Explore astronomy with our magnificent orrery and mighty Schmidt telescope, and see natural processes in action with our rich geology collection.

Earth in Space gallery. Photo © Jenni Sophia Fuchs.

Above: Orrery. Photo © Jenni Sophia Fuchs.

On display

Amethyst geode

This huge amethyst geode formed over 130 million years ago in lava during a period of volcanic activity.

Ching Ching

Meet Ching Ching the panda, one of the world’s most endangered species in Survival at National Museum of Scotland.

Muonionalusta meteorite

Discover how an extra-terrestrial exhibit was made ready for display in the National Museum of Scotland.


We trace the story of the Australian mammals in the Natural World galleries at the National Museum of Scotland and meet the rare numbat.

Orbicular granodiorite

Uncover the origins of this stunning specimen of polished igneous rock.

Scottish wildcat

Rarer than the tiger, the Scottish wildcat is Britain's last native cat species. Find out more about this elusive feline and the efforts being made to ensure it has a future.

Tyrannosaurus rex

Meet the 12 metre-long, spectacular life-sized skeleton cast of a T.rex, one of the star attractions at the National Museum of Scotland.

Westlothiana lizziae

This very important fossil, affectionately known as ‘Lizzie', was discovered in Scotland in the 1980s and could be the earliest known reptile.

Congreve rolling ball clock

Discover a fascinating clock that kept time in a whole new way and find out how our assistant conservator of technology has strived to keep it accurate.

Schmidt telescope

Find out how this revolutionary telescope was invented, and how it found a home at the National Museum of Scotland.

Sendtner orrery

The story of this 100-year-old planetarium provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of science interpretation, as well as a behind-the-scenes peek into early 20th century museum politics.