Delightful duo

6th February 1998 at 00:00
Last year the opening of the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds stole much of the city's limelight. But it would be a shame to overlook some of its more established attractions.

It is well worth seeking out the City Museum, even though it can display only a fraction of its million and more items (its original building was destroyed during the Second World War - newspaper clippings of the time show mummies being rescued from the bombed site).

The Egyptian mummy of Natsef Amun, Keeper of the Bulls, which became known nationally when it featured in a television programme, lies in a coffin, together with pots, jewellery and a replica of his head.

The Romans are represented by mosaics, a kitchen with figures and some massive marble horses.

At the City Museum you will find the biggest collection of large stuffed mammals outside London. It includes a yak, bison, a giant panda and a 12-foot Bengal tiger. Among its skeletons is a gigantic elk - the largest in the country.

Tropical World, set in the 700-acre Roundhay Park, is home to the largest collection of tropical plants outside London's Kew Gardens. Different vegetation and climates have been recreated under cover. In the South American rainforest, behind a cooling waterfall, expect children to be tempted to splash bystanders. In the deserts of America and East Africa, look out for creatures among the cacti.

In the darkness of the nocturnal house are Egyptian fruit bats, skunks, bushbabies and a large number of rock cavies which are now breeding in captivity. The butterfly house, with 67 species among its banana and pineapple trees, is a colourful delight. And don't miss taking a look at the racks of pupa - you may be lucky and catch some butterflies emerging from them.

Betty Jerman

City Museum, The Headrow, Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 3AA. Tel: 0113 247 8275. Free

* Tropical World, Canal Gardens, Princes Avenue, Leeds LS8 1DF. Tel: 0113 266 1850. Free

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