London's Natural History Museum is gearing up to host its most ambitious exhibition to date by showcasing mythical creatures and "fantastic beasts" from the magical world of Harry Potter.

Erumpent horn being brought into the Natural History Museum
Erumpent horn being brought into the Natural History Museum © Jeff Spicer

Fans of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts stories are in for a treat if they happen to be in London this spring. The Natural History Museum - one of the world's greatest collections of fossils, meteorites and rare specimens - will launch an exhibition that showcases props from the Wizarding World alongside 50 exhibits from the museum's world-famous collection. 

Through interactive displays visitors can compare the fantasy props to their real-world counterparts at the South Kensington institution. They'll see a tiger and a Galápagos marine iguana alongside the Erumpet horn from the Wizarding World. They'll even come face-to-face with a giant oarfish, the world's longest bony fish who is thought to have been the inspiration for "sea serpents" folklore.

Erumpent horn being brought into the Natural History Museum
Through interactive displays visitors can compare the wizarding props to their real-world counterparts © Jeff Spicer

"Bringing characters from the wizarding world together with some of the most fantastic creatures from the natural world will produce a captivating experience that will show how the natural world has inspired legends and stories that have enthralled generations," said Clare Matterson CBE, the museum's Executive Director of Engagement.

There's also a strong conservation message throughout the exhibition and visitors will learn that real-world animals need our help, just like the fantastic beasts in the fictional world. The museum hopes that visitors will take inspiration from the stories of dedicated conservationists and scientists, and leave with a better understanding of why we need to protect our planet for future generations.

Dippy the dinosaur at the Natural History Museum, London
The museum is home to a dazzling display of fossils and skeletons like Hope the blue whale   ©Fay Grant

"A spectacular celebration of science and nature packed full of surprises and mesmeric experiences, it will be impossible to leave without wanting to learn more about the wonders of our planet and how we can all better protect it," adds Matterson.

Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature is a partnership between the Natural History Museum, the BBC and Warner Bros. An accompanying documentary, narrated by Stephen Fry, will air on BBC later this year. The exhibition opens in spring 2020. For more information, see here.

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