London day trips for you and your baby

Science Museum

Posted by on Thursday, 28 March, 2013 in Featured, Museums, Rainy day

Science Museum

If you haven’t already been, the Science Museum should be at the top of your “to do” list of London family destinations.  We were lucky enough to be invited to check out its attractions for ourselves this week – and we were not disappointed with what we discovered…

The Science Museum, located next to the Natural History Museum and opposite the V&A in South Kensington, is right in the middle of London’s Museum land. We think the Science Museum beats the others hands down for young children – both in terms of content, visitor friendliness and accessibility. The Museum is huge and, as with so many of the great London museums, merits more than one visit. We didn’t manage to cover it all, but saw some highlights and will return to see the rest.

Red Arrows Flight Simulators and 3D Motion Theatre

Red Arrows Flight Simulators and 3D Motion Theatre

We started on the third floor at the Red Arrows 3D flight simulation theatre – where you can experience what it’s like to fly in the cockpit of a Red Arrows jet. Unfortunately, due to the motion involved in the flight simulation it’s not suitable for pregnant women or very young children, which ruled it out for two out of three of our party. So, my husband was despatched to have a go and report back. Apparently, the combination of the 3D visual effects and motion of the theatre seats created a fun experience.  The show lasts about ten minutes and you need to buy tickets (£6 adult, £5 children).

Whilst on the third floor we had a look around the Science in the 18th Century gallery which is full of instruments used in the time of George III to explain basic scientific principles to wealthy audiences in some of the earliest science lectures. There’s also a fascinating gallery dedicated to Health Matters, which features some vintage medical equipment, from an iron lung to an early MRI scanner.

Exploring Space

Exploring Space

Our next stop was the IMAX theatre (tickets required, adults £10, children £8, family tickets available). We watched a film called Fly Me to the Moon on a screen as high as four double decker buses, looking very silly in our 3D glasses.  MJ loved the film (although wouldn’t wear his glasses), which was the endearing, animated tale of three adventurous bugs who hitched a ride to the moon on Apollo 11 with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. Heading out into the ground floor galleries afterwards, the rockets and spacesuits of the Exploring Space exhibition took on a whole new dimension for MJ.

Water play in The Garden

Water play in The Garden

One of the most impressive aspects of the Science Museum is the wealth and variety of interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. Our particular favourites, and those most well-suited to young children like MJ, were the Pattern Pod on the Ground Floor and the Garden in the Basement. The former is an interactive area full of patterns, with lights, sounds, projections and puzzles.  The latter is an interactive, educational play area based on physics with lots of opportunities to get stuck in – we had to drag MJ away from the water-based play area (waterproof aprons provided) when it was time to go home…

Interest rating

We only covered half of the Museum and yet couldn’t manage to cram everything we saw and did into this review (particular apologies to the Google WebLab). We would definitely recommend the Science Museum to any family – there’s such a variety of things to do that you will find something for all tastes and interests.

Admission cost

Google WebLab

Google WebLab

Entry to the Science Museum is free, although donations are welcome. You need to buy tickets for some attractions, such as the flight simulators, 4D motion effects cinema, IMAX cinema etc. We were lucky to be invited to the Red Arrows experience and IMAX cinema.  We probably wouldn’t have paid to do both activities during the same trip otherwise given there’s so much else to see.

Facilities

The Science Museum has great facilities for babies and young children.  The Museum is fully accessible to pushchairs and there’s plenty of space to park buggies near the interactive play areas. Baby changing facilities and a family room are available. The cafés provide high chairs.

The Museum runs an ever-changing programme of free events and workshops aimed at all ages, with a particularly active schedule in the school holidays. Check the website for details or check the digital displays on arrival at the Museum for that day’s events.

Café

There are several cafés located throughout the Museum from the large self-service café on the ground floor, to a milkshake/ice cream bar and a family restaurant with waiter service.  Kids’ meals are available.

Picnic

If you decide to bring a packed lunch you can eat it in one of the picnic areas located around the Museum.

Opening hours

The Science Museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm. The Museum closes an hour later during the school holidays.

Contact details

Telephone: 0870 870 4868

Website: www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

Getting there

Address: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD.

By train: The closest tube station is South Kensington (District, Circle and Piccadilly Lines).

By bus: 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430, C1

Map:

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