My beautiful niece was visiting from Australia recently and her curious little mind needed stimulation. Athena is an incredibly energetic and intelligent 5yr old, she is always full of questions and keen to learn; The Glasgow Science Centre seemed like the perfect place to let her loose. The entire family was keen to spend plenty of time with our little Goddess, so our party ended up including myself, my sister & our dad. The prices initially looked a little steep, but when concessions were figured in it became much more reasonable. We decided to pay a little extra for a planetarium show, which was an excellent choice.
We arrived at 1.30pm and made our way to the first floor of the science mall, which introduces basic science concepts in a fun way. There are maths puzzles (some of which the adults couldn’t work out), tests of reaction speed, hissing cockroaches, optical illusions & even an opportunity to captain a ship. The exhibits work so well as they are all completely interactive. It’s a parents dream; kids are tackling & understanding a dearth of new ideas whilst having a ball. Athena particularly loved the fact that we could all join in. To be fair, we grownups enjoyed that too.
Next up was the planetarium show, which was a real treat. The night sky lit up above you is stunning. The show is fantastic, another enjoyable learning experience for the little ones. They are encouraged to call out & participate. Amongst all the hilarity we discovered constellations, how to find the North Star & how colour indicates the temperature of stars. My girl was delighted with the experience.
The 2nd floor of the science mall is aimed an older age group. It focuses on the world of work & includes lots clever tasks that allow a young person to identify talents, interests and what careers they might enjoy. As most of this was above Athena’s age level we moved on to the top floor where we discovered body works. These exhibits work really well for a range of ages. Older kids would gain a deeper understanding of things such heart surgery, how internal organs work & the amazing things our bodies are capable of. However, the same exhibits work equally well for younger minds. The human hamster wheel and machine that allows you to see the veins in your body were particular favourites. There is also an opportunity to test your heart rate at rest & during exertion, plus a chance to impersonate your heart and pump some blood. The displays relating to the dangers of smoking and alcohol are incredibly effective. Being able to operate both healthy & damaged lungs gives children a real insight into what cigarettes do to lung function. There is also an exhibit that allows you see what smoking and drinking will do to your face over time. All of which leave more of an impression than simply being told these habits are bad for you.
Body works is also home to a number of detailed models of the body. You can perform a virtual autopsy and take apart all the piece of the brain. Athena was a little freaked out by these items, but enjoyed the gross out factor when I pretended to eat brains. All three generations got involved in measuring our height, our ability to balance, sprint and hand strength. I was a little disturbed to discover my 5yr old niece’s grip was much stronger than mine. We rounded off our day by playing with a giant pin mould, which proved a big hit with everyone.
In conclusion, the science centre is excellent. We didn’t leave until closing time (5pm) & could have happily stayed much longer. The tickets may be a little more than some other attractions, but you really do get your monies worth. We saw children of all ages, teens and even some adults visiting alone. There truly is something for everyone. If you want your child to learn whilst they play, the science centre is the place for you. In one afternoon Athena gained so much. In the following days she asked an abundance of questions as her mind processed all the new information. Little minds are sponges and it is really rewarding to watch them soak up knowledge. All in all the science centre gets an A++. I’ll even let you in on a wee secret; I think Grampa may have had even more fun than his granddaughter.