Possibly, it wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had to visit an indoor science centre for children on an extremely rainy bank holiday Monday. The Winchester Science Centre sits just outside Winchester, it wasn’t difficult to find and arriving to a full car park, clearly, other families also had no problem finding it either. Efficiently directed to an over flow car park, my heart sank a little, clearly it was going to be very busy.
Hurrah! There was no queue to get in, just a big sign saying that all the exhibits had been checked this morning and 99% were working. We walked straight to the reception desk to be met by a friendly member of staff. The automatic barriers had been opened, to ease access in and out. I was impressed with their response to the crowds. Queues and children really don’t mix and tend to create unhappy adults.
The project was packed, bursting to the seams almost, however, it is spacious, the ceiling is high and there is so much to do, that even amongst the crowds my 6-year-old was able to try the exhibits that interested him. The project is very, very hands on. Every exhibit requires some type of interaction. Ideal for curious young minds. We tried balancing and ball spinning and discovered the science in the direction of the balls. We turned a handle until arms ached to create a water vortex – some of the exhibits are not without effort.
My son enjoyed the under sea area, he is fascinated by sea exploration. The recycling, waste buster challenge proved a nice conversation starter about things we buy and use. K’nex tables which have various bits to connect and build gave us all a bit of space just to sit and tinker. I learnt why my mobile doesn’t always have the signal I’d like. There is a proper periscope, which fires the imagination. We glimpsed the fields outside, as if captains of our own submarine.
Winchester Science Centre has a cafe, which was, on the day we visited, very popular. It sells a selection of sandwiches and food. Fish Fingers in a wrap with lettuce and tomato ketchup or tartar sauce at £3.95 seemed very reasonable. We ate in the picnic area, which was clean and there was plenty of space, considering the crowds.
The planetarium is an additional cost (as it is at our local science project) of £2.20. We saw a half hour show “Back to the Moon: For Good”. It was fascinating, the screen seems to float across the ceiling, giving an amazing perspective on views from the moon. We thoroughly enjoyed it. There are ‘chatterbox’ shows on week day mornings, when children don’t have to be quiet for the show, which is a lovely idea.
The Winchester Science Centre coped admirably with a full house on the day we visited. There is loads to do and it clearly appealed to children of all ages, I saw as many toddlers trying exhibits as I did older children, all despite the crowds and the noise children were enthralled. On a less busy day, it would clearly be a brilliant day out, even on the busiest day, it was unexpectedly fun. We would definitely visit again.
Entrance fees (at time of writing) Adults £10.00 and £7.00 3-16 year olds.
Disclosure: We were given a family entrance ticket for the purposes of this review. All words and opinions are my own.
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