The morning we arrived in Wellington, we slept in late. We had both had a restless night, and the weather forecast was bad. Cold, high of 53 and rainy! Eventually we got our act together and walked about a half hour through the rain (thank goodness for slickers) from the pier to the Te Papa Museum with some of our tablemates.
Te Papa is free and came highly recommended by our port lecturer, and we were all impressed. We went through the “Mountains to Sea” exhibit first – what is given by the land, should return to the land – where we saw the world’s largest squid specimen, a colossal squid – scientifically larger than the giant squid. How cool!!! It has eyes the size of soccer balls! They had a 3-D short movie where you could see a squid catching other sea life in its tentacles. We also saw a huge whale skeleton and a model of the heart of a whale that was big enough for little kids to walk through!
We went upstairs to the “Blood Earth Fire” exhibit, where we learned about New Zealand landscape before people arrived, and the cool, but now extinct Moa birds (similar to emus I think). It was so loud in the forest back then!! There was also a sheep cam in this exhibit, which allowed us to see life through a sheep’s eyes.
Lastly, we went up again to see exhibits on the Maori, Pacific and European history of New Zealand. There was a life-size Maori meeting house, some cool musical instruments that the Maoris played, lots of jade (which they call greenstone), and even a beautiful ark cover/curtain from a synagogue. Elliott especially loved the cool interactive music exhibit. And for a touch of the surreal, there was a bull made out of dried beef tins!