With New Years Eve 2016 falling on a Saturday and my sense of adventure feeling stronger, we decided to go for a city trip to Newcastle by train (I realise that I am 3 months slow in posting this, oops!) to go to the Life Science Centre.
Getting to Newcastle from Leeds is much easier by train (about 90 minutes) and we took the 5 minute walk from the station to the museum and thanks to excellent signposting, finding it was a piece of cake.
Whilst the Christmas ice rink outside was somewhat appealing (see here for our eventual ice skating adventure!) we headed in to see what we could find.
In the main area of the “museum” (I call it that loosely as it was more a “hands-on learning experience”) there were loads of little experiments and areas to learn. One of the favourites was the thermal imaging camera showing the heat contrast between humans and a block of ice, for which we experimented by rubbing our noses onto the ice. Our other favourite was the spinning wheels where the children discovered centrifugal forces (almost!) The exhibits weren’t manned so parents were empowered to do the teaching, which is no bad thing!
Upstairs was a decently sized free play area for the younger children (I would suggest aged 8 and below) with a free soft play blocks/mats but also a small mock shop and kitchen. This provided a good breakout area after quite intense learning downstairs.
The special attraction at the time was showing the insides of animals, in terms of their bone and muscle structure which was perhaps the most suitable for a 3 year old as the models were VERY realistic but her enthusiasm for biology took over and seemed to learn a bit.
Our favourite part was the show in the planetarium. There was loads of shows going on throughout the day and some are more age specific than others. Due to the dark nature of the auditorium, there is likely to be tears from some of the younger ones, but I think that it is just one of those things!
Our one slightly disappointing part was that we weren’t allowed into the science lab to do some experiments. Children had to be aged 7 and over to go in and while I fully understand the safety concerns, the experiments that they were doing were ones that we do in our kitchen!!
Overall we stayed 5 hours or so and so it is good value for money. Making use of the lockers (£1 charge + refundable deposit paid in cash) was a good move (ask for a large one!) and the food was decent, although we were extremely tired when it came to having tea there, so it might not be the best assessment either way! You can come and go during the day, which we did and the toilets were decent.
The exhibits keep on changing and so when the time is right, we will make another trip up the country to do some more exploring at the Life Science Centre.
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