Late at night last week, a huge skeleton of a Diplodocus dinosaur was delivered to the Natural History Museum, but when it goes on display, you won’t call it Dippy.

Long lorry delivery of the bronze Diplodocus cast arriving at the Natural History Museum (c) The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Although you won’t call it Dippy, the newly delivered Diplodocus is a brand new bronze cast that’s based on Dippy, which itself was a plaster cast donated by Andrew Carnegie to several major museums around the world at the beginning of the 20th century.

The new cast was needed because the museum wants to display a Diplodocus outdoors in its new soon-to-open gardens, and putting a plaster cast skeleton outside in the British weather would be a terrible idea.

Over the past couple of years, the museum has reimagined the five-acre site in front of the museum into an accessible, free-to-visit green space in the heart of London as part of its Urban Nature Project.

Visitors entering the garden from the Exhibition Road area will emerge into the Evolution Garden and begin their journey through 2.7 billion years of history of our planet told through a timeline of plants, geology, and representations of reptiles, birds and mammals.

A newly created canyon clad in ancient stone collected from across the UK will lead into the Jurassic garden, where the Diplodocus will loom out of a woodland filled with Wollemi pines, dwarf ginkgos and cycads – flora all chosen to evoke the feel of a landscape in the Jurassic Period.

When the gardens open – on Thursday 18th July 2024 – the new Diplodocus cast will also get a new name – just don’t call it Dippy.

The new bronze cast of the Natural History Museum’s Diplodocus being lowered into place. (c) The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Over in the west garden towards the Museum’s Darwin Centre, visitors will find the Nature Discovery Garden, supported by The Cadogan Charity. Here, different habitats will showcase the rich biodiversity that can be found in the UK’s urban spaces, and an accessible sunken pathway winds between the ponds, where frogs and newts have already been spotted.

The Evolution Garden (c) The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

The Museum’s Wildlife Garden was extended to double the area of native habitats within the grounds, with the aim of better supporting, monitoring and managing the animal and plant life diversity, and the pond area has been increased by 60%.

Visitors should book a free ticket in advance online for guaranteed entry to the Museum. Tickets are currently available for visits until 31st December 2024.

The actual Dippy will be going on long-term loan to another museum.


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