Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs

Meet monsters from 252 million years ago in a period called the Permian, when you visit this fascinating, family-friendly exhibition.

252 million years ago life on Earth was dominated by extraordinary creatures – Permian monsters.

It was a time of fearsome sabre-toothed predators, giant insects and bizarre-looking sharks.

The Permian ended with a mass extinction that destroyed 90% of all life, paving the way for Earth’s next great rulers… the dinosaurs.

In this fascinating, family-friendly exhibition, which is travelling to the UK for the first time, you can discover more about this mysterious time period.

On display will be fossil skeletons as well as full-size models and animatronics that bring the Permian back to life.

Unfortunately, touch interactive areas have been removed or covered due to the pandemic.

Tickets for Permian Monsters

Permian Monsters has been extended and will be open until Sunday 3 January 2021.

  • Tickets must be booked in advance.
  • Tickets are valid for entry to the exhibition at any time.
  • Members and Benefactors go free – find out more about becoming a member or supporting the Horniman as a Benefactor.
  • Members and Benefactors will need to book free tickets, as we need to control the number of visitors and provide the required information for Track and Trace. Find out more about Planning Your Visit. Log in to the webshop to see your tickets.
  • Tickets are valid for single entry only.

You can also go free with an Art Pass.

Children under three may visit free of charge and carers accompanying visitors with access requirements get free admission. A family ticket is for two adults and two children aged 3-16 years.

Planning your visit

  • Book tickets in advance and print out or download your booking confirmation to your mobile device. The exhibition entrance is on Gallery Square on the Lower Ground level.
  • If you are a Member, you need to book your free time-slot and show your membership card at the entrance to each ticketed area.
  • If you have the choice, please travel light and leave your buggy or scooter at home. There will be no cloakroom facilities and all buggies and scooters must be left at the new buggy park by the entrance.
  • Our delicious Café will be open as usual, with seating outside only, and is expected to be particularly busy around lunchtime. There are also places to eat packed lunches: the Dutch Barn opposite the Bandstand and many spots in the Gardens. Please refrain from eating and drinking inside the Museum – this is not permitted as it encourages pests and endangers our collection.
  • If there’s anything we can help with, in advance, please email
  • Identify our friendly visitor teams are easily by their yellow lanyards. We will do our best to make sure you have a great time. Approach us if we can help with anything at all.


Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs is a travelling exhibition produced by Gondwana Studios.