Museum of Natural History and Vivarium

Founded in 1828 during the Dutch period, this first museum in the country opened its doors to the public in 1829. In 1839, the museum moved to a gallery and a square room designed by the architect Bruno Renard at its current location, the former brewery of the Saint-Martin Abbey. During its expansion and refurbishment, inaugurated in June 2001, the scenography took care to preserve the “cabinet of curiosities” which immerses the visitor in the atmosphere of the natural history cabinets of the 19th century, as well as a gallery of naturalized animals as rare as they are extraordinary. You can see the first elephant to arrive in Belgium in 1839, which has become a “Treasure recognised by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation”.

A living museum

The Natural History Museum is also characterised by the presence of a vivarium where fish, tarantulas, amphibians and reptiles live in reconstituted habitats. You can see such fabulous species as spectacled caimans, poisonous Amazonian frogs, rare Egyptian turtles and endangered Jamaican boas. Since 2019, you can also enjoy a scientific garden with various outdoor enclosures and a greenhouse for exotic butterflies.

A networked museum

The Tournai Museum is also… involved in programmes for the protection and reproduction of endangered fauna. The Natural History Museum of Tournai is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). This association brings together the largest European zoological parks and has as its main missions the safeguarding of endangered animal species through coordinated breeding programmes as well as raising public awareness of nature conservation.

LPeople with specific needs

Museum accessible to people with reduced mobility.

For more information, contact the museum directly.


Fun and educational activities with respect for the curriculum and the skills to be implemented. 1 € / student (freee if younger than 6 years)

Primary education: “The unloved!”, “Guess who I am?”, “My cry will tell you who I am”, “Bone story” …

Secondary education: “Classification of the living phylogenetic approach”, “The food chains”, “The actors of the balance of an ecosystem” …

lSee the offer


The first museum of our country was founded in 1828 and is housed in a neoclassical building designed by architect Bruno Renard. The ‘curiosity cabinet’ immerses the visitor in the atmosphere of natural history cabinets from the nineteenth century and presents thousands of species from all over the world. The Natural History Museum is also characterized by the presence of a vivarium in which more than 70 species evolve into reconstituted habitats. Guided tours by reservation at the tourist office on +32 (0) 69 22 20 45.

For more information, contact the museum directly.

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Practical information

Museum of Natural History and Vivarium

Cour d’Honneur de l’Hôtel de Ville
Rue Saint-Martin, 52
7500 Tournai

  • Classification des attractions en Wallonie (2)2 soleils
  • Discounts for vulnerable peoplelabel velo