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South Australian Museum

Learn about Antarctic explorers, conduct your own research and see a squid in an elevator shaft at this natural history museum.

South Australia is a place of natural wonder, and a visit to the South Australian Museum reveals many of the secrets of its diverse land and people. Explore the museum’s five floors of exhibits that cover Australia’s Aboriginal culture, flora and fauna, and fossils.

Join one of the free guided tours that run daily, or follow the self-guided trail to discover the many exhibits at the museum. Start on the ground floor to immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture, with a collection of objects from across Australia. Here you’ll see paintings, maps, boomerangs and early ethnographic studies on a range of communities.

Move upstairs to learn about what led the explorer Douglas Mawson to leave the Australian desert in favor of Antarctica’s frozen surface. Move up another floor to be surrounded by opal fossils, an essential part of South Australia’s history.

An impressive sight is the 18-foot (5.6-meter) long giant squid. This scale model is housed in an old elevator shaft, which has been transformed into a display that recreates the underwater world off South Australia’s far west coast.

See how scientists operate at the museum or do some research of your own in the Science Center, the first of its kind in Australia. Here you’ll have the opportunity to see behind the scenes at the museum as its staff conducts research, stores findings and discovers history.

Continue your learning experience at the information center, manned by knowledgeable staff, or visit the museum library, with almost 50,000 monographs, scientific journals and rare books.

Temporary and touring exhibitions rotate through the museum. Find program information on the museum’s website.

The South Australian Museum is located between the State Library and Art Gallery of South Australia, in the North Terrace cultural precinct on the northern edge of the city center. The Adelaide central train terminus is a five-minute walk away. Buses and trams stop nearby and there’s a paid parking lot across the road from the museum’s main entrance on North Terrace.  

The museum is open daily except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Entry is free.

Get the most out of your visit to South Australian Museum. Here's a list of the top things to do:

Waited eons to make it to this lovely attraction? Then you can't head back home without trying out an Astonishing Adelaide Self-Guided Audio Tour.

Check out our Adelaide things to do page to discover even more activities while you're here.


Guide to Exploring around South Australian Museum


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