With both the Teddy Bear Hospital and Peso from Octonauts making an appearance at the Thackray Medical Museum, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to take Heidi for her first visit there.
Heidi is obsessed with all things medical and while I thought that it might be a bit scary to see all the medical instruments, balancing it up with some child specific fun would be ideal. She already knows that she wants to be either a doctor and a radiographer so if anyone has a spare x-ray machine laying around, it would make a perfect Christmas present!
Thinking that the one-off events would be popular we headed off upstairs to put our name down for the hospital, and this was a wise move! While the allocated time is 30 minutes for each session, we were one of the last ones to leave, after 20 minutes. Here, you can get your little one dressed up and perform all sorts of medical tests and procedures on your teddy bear (don’t forget to bring one!)
As you can see, Elmo was in his bed and had a blood transfusion, x-ray (absolutely brilliant!) as well as medicine, injection and a bandage. While there are helpers, it is a parent led session so you do have to roll up your sleeves and help with the diagnosis and treatment! We play doctors all the time, and it was good to get a few different ideas, as well as play dress-up! This was only £2 and was well worth the money!
We then ventured to the meet and greet with Peso which was a bit of a fleeting visit for us as while there was a craft activity to try, neither of us are particularly skilled in it, and there was a projector showing a loop of Octonauts which was of much greater interest! Meet and Greet is at certain times, so it might be an idea to ask at reception so you can plan your time.
So onto the museum itself… The first thing to actually say is that it isn’t a child specific museum and so some bit might be a bit scary or not overly appropriate for toddlers. However, you can quickly bypass those areas without problem.
The top floor isn’t “hands on” and this caused Heidi some confusion – try telling a 3 year old that they can’t go onto an operating table! However, it only takes a couple of bits to spark the imagination. For us, it was the x-rays (obviously!) the dentist/false teeth as well as the child birth section.
However, downstairs is much more child friendly, where there are lots of little games/puzzles, hands on exhibits as well as the story of food going through the body. I mention this because there was a piece of rope the length of the intestine and it was somewhat difficult to explain the concept to a toddler!!!
Also downstairs is some more dress-up clothes as well as a lovely little exhibit showing what happens to the spine when you move while sat down. If we did this again, we would do downstairs first before a bit of tiredness set it (we were there for almost 2 hours)
In terms of facilities, while the museum is on a couple of floors, there are lifts so it is pushchair friendly. There is also a cafe, although we didn’t visit the toilets so can’t comment. The entry fee covers entry for the entire year so you don’t feel as though you have to cram everything in. As car parking is only £2, it makes for every cheap return visits!
The next Teddy Bear Hospital/Octonauts is on Thursday 25th August so try and make your way down there!!
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