Published: September 28, 2023

Creepy Conservation Week scuttles its way to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this October half-term

Meet all kinds of interesting new friends this October half-term as Portsmouth Historic Dockyard launch Creepy Conservation week!

What better way to celebrate the Halloween season than by discovering the secret world of insects big and small? Join us as we welcome some creepy-crawly guests for special events around conservation and biology, in partnership with Airbus and Newton co-sponsors of the National STEM Program.

Learn about the impact invasive pests have on our mission to protect our historic ships and collections. Discover why insects are so important to the our world and what would happen without them. With all this and more, get up close to some multi-legged beasties have fun with Creepy Conservation week. 

What’s more all events that are part of Creepy Conservation week are included with a valid ticket to the participating attraction. Our Ultimate Explorer ticket offers the best value for money, so you can enjoy all of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for an entire 12 months! 

For those who prefer their adventures to take place under the water than in the undergrowth there’s our brand new exhibition Worlds Beneath the Waves. Create your own AI Sea Creature and watch it become part of the exhibition, then email it home to keep! Or immerse yourself in the incredible Dive the Mary Rose 4D cinematic experience, a full sensory journey under the water.  

Find out more about Creepy Conservation Week below:

The Great Victory Bug Hunt

Victory Bug Hunt (October 21 to October 29)

If you want to know about where some of the creepy crawlies hide in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard start with the Great Victory Bug Hunt. Explore Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, and discover the secret world living within her wooden walls.

For a more modern perspective, learn how we protect ships and objects from bugs  at the Victory Gallery. Our special Conservation Station helps explain this vital process and you can search the gallery to find out more about these various pests.

Create a Critter (October 21 to October 28)

If you head over to the Mary Rose Museum you can make your very own creepy critter to take home with you. We’ll supply the materials – you just need to bring your immagination! 

While you’re getting creative don’t forget to explore our pesky pests fact sheets. Learn about the unique challenges faced by the conservation team and maybe get some inspiration on your artistic creation. 

Create a Critter
Create a Critter

Create a Critter (October 21 to October 28)

If you head over to the Mary Rose Museum you can make your very own creepy critter to take home with you. We’ll supply the materials – you just need to bring your immagination! 

While you’re getting creative don’t forget to explore our pesky pests fact sheets. Learn about the unique challenges faced by the conservation team and maybe get some inspiration on your artistic creation. 

Bugfest logo - part of Creepy Conservation Week

Bugfest (October 24 to October 25)

Head on over to Action Stations to meet creepy-crawlies of all kinds at Bugfest!

Learn about the importance of invertebrates to the survival of all life here on planet Earth. From Deathwatch beetles, to giant centipedes, scorpions and much more, get up close to a wide range of interesting new friends. For the grown-ups in attendance, you’ll have the opportunity to handle some tarantulas (just be careful as they’re very delicate).   

Wreck Invaders (October 24 to October 27)

Join Dr Alexzandra Hildred, Maritime Archaeologist and Head of Research at the Mary Rose Museum, for her talk on the Wreck Invaders.

Hear about the weird, wonderful, and sometimes scary critters encountered during the excavation of the Mary Rose. From spider crabs to eels, these amazing facts and stories from the excavation of the Mary Rose will entertain children and grown up’s alike. What’s more, after the talk there is a Q&A – so you can learn all about underwater excavation. 

Wreck Invaders!
Wreck Invaders!

Wreck Invaders (October 24 to October 27)

Join Dr Alexzandra Hildred, Maritime Archaeologist and Head of Research at the Mary Rose Museum, for her talk on the Wreck Invaders.

Hear about the weird, wonderful, and sometimes scary critters encountered during the excavation of the Mary Rose. From spider crabs to eels, these amazing facts and stories from the excavation of the Mary Rose will entertain children and grown up’s alike. What’s more, after the talk there is a Q&A – so you can learn all about underwater excavation. 

Under the Microscope! Bugs up close!

Under the Microscope! (October 24 to October 27)

Ever wondered what a flea looks like really really close up? What about the opportunity to get hands on with real lab equipment? Under the Microscope! offers you the opportunity to do both.

Meet members of the Mary Rose Museum conservation team and learn how they use high tech microscopes. Then take a close-up look yourself at some of the creepy critters linked with the Mary Rose. Explore the science and conservation required to preserve a ship like the Mary Rose, meet the team, ask questions, and learn amazing facts!

Ugly Bug Ball (October 27)

Hosted by our special guests, Children’s Party Entertainment Ltd, take part in a celebration of all things creepy and crawly. This event has music, games and minibeast magic for family audiences, especially those aged 4 to 10 years old.

Dressing up as your favourite bug is encouraged, so get ready to boogie like a beetle and spin like a spider. This event is included with a valid ticket to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, however space will be limited on the day. We advise visitors to book in advance to avoid disappointment.   

Little girl dressed as lady bug
Little girl dressed as lady bug

Ugly Bug Ball (October 27)

Hosted by our special guests, Children’s Party Entertainment Ltd, take part in a celebration of all things creepy and crawly. This event has music, games and minibeast magic for family audiences, especially those aged 4 to 10 years old.

Dressing up as your favourite bug is encouraged, so get ready to boogie like a beetle and spin like a spider. This event is included with a valid ticket to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, however space will be limited on the day. We advise visitors to book in advance to avoid disappointment.   

One of the many sea creatures visitors can generate with AI

Want something different?

If creepy crawlies aren’t for you there are plenty of other things happening this October half term!

We’ve got the brand-new Worlds Beneath the Waves exhibition open at the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Delve into the extraordinary tale of HMS Challenger and discover the vital role of our ocean. Using AI and AR technology, you can create never before seen creatures or control water levels as you shape the earth.

Want more undersea adventure? Then Dive the Mary Rose 4D is a never-before-seen theatre experience that explores the history of the Mary Rose. See her story unfold in incredible, immersive detail, and witness the saga of world’s largest underwater excavation.

Our Ultimate Explorer ticket offers the best value for money.  Enjoy 12-months of access to all the attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with one ticket.