Into the Tuatarium

Live tuatara can be seen at Southland Museum and Art Gallery in Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand. I was there on 14 March 2018 and would like to share something of the tuatara experience with you.

I REALLY like the colourful tuatara logo they use at both entrances into the Museum!

[UPDATE 2021: The museum is no longer open, has been closed for a while now. Some tuatara are still present but can only be viewed from outside the museum – through the large glass windows.]


The cafe in the museum is very good; also the staff were kind enough to let me model one of their aprons – the above logo is embroidered onto the apron. The museum staff also have this logo on their grey shirts.


Closeup of the embroidery logo


To give you an idea of what a tuatara looks like, here is a larger-than-life statue that’s located out the front of the museum


Let’s get back on track to the tuatarium!


The first two photos are taken in Henry’s living space and I think this is actually Henry, he has some female company at present. The tuatara are behind glass, hence the reflections. First photo by Liz and second photo by Nigel.

HENRY is around 120 years old … isn’t that incredible!



And Nigel took this photo of a different, far smaller, tuatara that was in a separate enclosure. I think, probably, its mouth is open as a cooling strategy.


Further Reading

Tuatara at Southland Museum and Art Gallery : web page with pdf brochure available right down the very bottom of the page

Later addition: Too late for many of you but here is a very good web page from San Diego Zoo

Text by Liz; Photos by Liz and Nigel; Exploring Colour (2018)

28 thoughts on “Into the Tuatarium

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    1. Seriously? There’s a lot on offer in Southland and Otago – these regions have really become home to us. And many things would have changed since 2010. I would think there’s a lot more excellent cafes, art galleries, renovated historic buildings, wineries and walking/cycling tracks, and various other attractions, since then. You’d love doing another trip!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Just stopping by again to say how much Benjamin and I enjoyed the link to the San Diego Zoo. The Tuatara are not on public display there, but the information was very worthwhile. Benjamin was delighted that they go back to the age of dinosaurs. We will continue to try and find more about the amazing Tuatara. Thank-you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so pleased with what San Diego Zoo had put together and its wonderful you came back to update me – I was hoping you’d find that page really helpful! Let me know if you find anything else that’s particularly good – I could add those to my Further Reading list. Lovely to hear from you!


  2. I’ve heard of Henry before but not seen him…he’s the one who became a father for the first time at over 100 isn’t he? We had the pleasure of seeing one in the wild on Tiritiri Matangi island near Auckland a few weeks ago…it made the mistake of moving as we walked by and then was subjected to a photo shoot (at a respectful distance). Very interesting creatures, I really love the third eye part.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Liz, and pics of the Tuatara! It is not an animal I was aware of, either. The life history info from the San Diego Zoo site is amazing. With that long incubation period it’s a wonder they ever survived. Nice pic of you modeling, too!


    1. Thanks Ellen! I treasure every opportunity to see them … they are so timeless. Interesting creatures – most of the time they’re like little statues but they can move very fast for a short burst, very surprising when it happens!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Benjamin is absolutely enchanted by the Tuatara! He says : “They look like teeny dinosaurs, I love them!” He loved the “humongous” statue too. The logo and embroidered apron are beautiful. We are going to try and find more information about these amazing little Tuatara. Thank-you so much! P.S. Benjamin also wants me to add : “Miss Liz , you are so cute in the apron!” He loves the name Nigel!

    Liked by 1 person

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