The NileGuide team has presented us local experts with another 5-dollar-challenge, this time it’s all about finding the best cultural thing to do.
How Cheap Is Cheap?
5 dollars, you say? Currencies fluctuate, 5 USD are normally somewhere between 25 and 30 NOK (kroner). Today, it’s closer to 30, so let’s keep it simple.
30 kroner is cheap. Very cheap. Plenty of Oslo attractions are free, including the excellent National Gallery, the medieval Akershus Fortress and the superb Vigeland Sculpture Park. But 30 kroner is a challenge, indeed. In fact, 30 kroner is neither here nor there, a symbolic sum at best. Museums and galleries that do have an entrance fee, tend to charge a reasonable 60 – 90 kroner.
30 kroner will get you a bus/tram/metro/fjordferry-ticket (with a bit of change), 2 litres of milk or 2 litres of petrol (half a gallon of gas).
The Best $5 You’ll Ever Spend
I’m tempted to suggest you spend the 30 kroner on a metro-ticket to Oslomarka forest or on a ferry-ticket to visit one of the wonderful Oslo fjord islands or go for a stroll at Bygdøy. Nature is without a doubt Oslo’s greatest attraction. And up here, nature is also culture. But that would be too easy.
Instead, I’m going to be a bit circuitous and tell you about my favourite attraction offering a student price of 25 kroner, the Natural History Museum. You get to browse two great museums – The Zoological Museum and the Geological Museum, as well as the lovely Botanical Gardens. Best of all, you will meet Ida, our 47-million-year-old auntie. Brought to Norway from Germany’s fossil-rich Messel Pit, where she was discovered, Ida is the oldest primate ever found.
Ever since she was introduced to the world in May 2009, Norwegian kids have pestered their parents to take them to see Ida. My daughters love visiting the Natural History Museum and little Ida is an absolute highlight. For my youngest, she even beats the dinosaur and fossils next door. And for a 9-year-old completely obsessed with dinosaurs, that’s really saying something. She could hang around this fossil for hours, making up all sorts of stories on what her life must have been like back in the Eocene Epoch. Actually, paleontologists know quite a bit about Ida. She wasn’t very old when she died, only 8 or 9 months – the equivalent of a 6-year-old modern human. She didn’t die of hunger, in fact she is so well preserved, scientists have found traces of leaves and berries in her stomach.
Now You Do It
The Natural History Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 11 am – 4 pm. The surrounding Botanical Gardens are open every day from 10 am – 9 pm on weekends and holidays and from 7 am – 9 pm on weekdays. Not only do students and children pay only 25 kroner to enter this museum complex; a group of four (2 adults and 2 children) is charged a very reasonable 100 kroner, well below 5 dollars per person.
What to Do With Leftover Change
You’ll have 5 kroner left and that will buy you a soft licorice sweet called Kick (delicious; try the one with lemon). That’s about it!
If You’d Like to Splurge
Grab a coffee at Tøyen hovedgård in the Botanical Gardens. It’s lovely outdoors in summer.