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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

An afternoon at The Science Museum, London

The Science museum is located next door to The Natural History Museum and across the road from The V&A museum. All of these fab attractions are FREE and very easy to find on the doorstep of South Kensington tube station. I knew my son would love to spend his 8th birthday here so after a whistle-stop tour of the Natural History museum in the morning, we made our way over to The Science museum. There was no queue which is always a relief and again, no pressure to make a donation (although always good to do this if you can).


As soon as we entered I was completely blown away. There was so much to see and do and I really didn't know where to look first! We picked up a map from the information desk (free) and made our way along the ground floor. This featured lots of inventions that have shaped the modern world and a space section which was fantastic - I especially loved the model of Apollo 11.



The Science museum features new technology too and it was great watching the 3D printers in action and looking at some of the fab items that have been created (including a whole bike!).

Next, we stopped on the third floor and spent quite a bit of time in their 'futures' exhibition. There were lots of interactive computer games designed to make you question the future. Questions such as, 'Should parents be allowed to track their child's location through satellites or is this an invasion of their privacy?' were posed and explored using fun games (I loved pretending to be a child, sneaking out and dodging the satellite beam so I wouldn't get caught).



Next, we walked through the fly zone which featured lots on lots of planes from throughout history up to the modern day. It was very interesting looking at a cross section of a modern-day jumbo jet (they are huge!!) compared to the very first flying machines. There were some paid-for experiences in this section such as a 4D flying with the red arrows experience and flight simulator's that looked like lots of fun.


The main part of the museum I had wanted to visit was the launchpad which is where most of the hands on fun is. It is designed for ages 8-14 years but my 5 year old also loved it. It was fairly busy but I must say all of the children were very polite and everybody took their turn fairly. There are over 50 hands on exhibits that were lots of fun including looking through a brick wall (this had me stumped for a while until I figured it out!), launching a rocket, learning about viscosity through experiments, making waves and learning about magnetism. We had a fab time in this area and all absolutely loved it. 


There is a learning room within the launchpad where free demonstrations, talks and experiments occur throughout the day. There is no need to book a place, just listen out for the announcements. We watched the FLASH, BANG, WALLOP show which was all about explosions. Very exciting! The show lasted about 20 minutes and was very engaging with lots of audience participation. Lots of things were blown up and barbie was even fired from a canon! The show was really lots of fun and the presenter skilfully sneaked some learning in too - my children now know all about the combustion triangle!

At 3:30pm we hadn't eaten anything since lunch so decided to eat in the energy cafe by the entrance. In future visits I will definitely plan ahead and take a packed lunch to enjoy in one of the museum's picnic areas (including one right next to the launch pad) as the prices were very high. One small slice of cheese and tomato pizza was £6 and a can of coke was £1.70. Still, we enjoyed it and were in a rush and £32 for lunch for 4 didn't break the bank.

We left through the gift shop and again found some of the prices to be very high. A Rubik's cube for example was £18. There were lots of good pocket money toys to choose from though around the £2-£3 mark. My daughter loves her slime ball!

We left The Science Museum after 2 hours as we needed to catch our train home but could have easily spent a lot longer here. We all really enjoyed taking part in the hands on experiments and I loved how the exhibits were all modern, relevant and engaging. We will definitely return to The Science Museum in the future.

You can read more about The Science Museum here:- www.sciencemuseum.org.uk





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