Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A Fun & Educational Experience at Glasgow Science Centre - A Review

Last week we were very excited to have the opportunity to visit the Glasgow Science Centre. If you are a regular reader to the blog, you may remember my post a few weeks ago regarding the company Letterbox Lab who send fun science subscription boxes through the post. The kit that my children received seemed to ignite a keen interest in the subject and a desire to learn that I had never seen happen with a single product before. Therefore when I found out that we were going to be in the Glasgow area for a couple of days, there was no doubt in my mind as to which attraction we should visit.

The Glasgow Science Centre is located on Pacific Quay in a wonderful building alongside the River Clyde. Their aims are to increase the awareness of science, as well as engaging, challenging and inspiring visitors. The website states that it is one of Scotland's must-see visitor attractions and so we couldn't wait to find out more and see exactly what it had to offer.

We had arrived by train into Glasgow Central at around 1pm and made our way to the Village Hotel which was located a short distance from the Glasgow Science Centre. The walk from the station took us approximately half an hour, but the area seemed very well served by trains, buses and taxis that could have made our trip much shorter. Once we had checked in at the hotel we made our way over to the attraction which was very easy to find and we also took a nice short walk along the River Clyde on the way.

On arrival we were greeted by Susanne who gave us a fantastic welcome and provided us with a map. Her enthusiasm and passion for the centre came across really well and I found her so friendly and happy that it actually made my day. Susanne made me interested in what she was telling us as if it was something she loved. We were told about specific areas on certain floors that the kids would enjoy and it was explained to us about how interactive the attraction is and that we could all get stuck in with learning, not just the kids! I couldn't wait to explore inside and we made our way up to the top floor.

Floor 3 is named Bodyworks, which is a huge hands on exhibit covering all aspects of the body, its functions and how everything works. There is so much to get involved with and my children began by making impressions of their bodies on the giant Pin Art board. They loved this, especially the boys and it helped them to compare their sizes in a fun and unique way.

The first area within the Bodyworks zone that we explored was all related to the cardio vascular and respiratory functions of your body. Each individual exhibit was fantastic and my children were fascinated to find out just exactly how your body looks inside. There were loads of experiments for us to try out including viewing our veins, monitoring our heart rate and watching how your lungs assist with breathing.

After this we learnt about how science can assist people with disabilities, or help to provide a new lease of life to people who have suffered an injury or amputation. Some of the mechanics behind these were amazing and my son spent some time trying to pick up a ball using a robotic hand as pictured in the exhibit below.

My son Ben found this area really interesting and it made us all think about how skilled scientists and surgeons are.

My daughter really enjoyed the competitive exhibits where you could test your body and then also compare it to other peoples scores. Everyone's bodies react at different speeds and we all have different strengths and skills, so it was great to be able to compare these and think about what makes us all different. In this game below you needed to watch for the buttons to light up and then press them as quickly as you could. My daughter had several attempts at this to try and beat her score each time.

There were plenty of exhibits to try that assessed both your physical and physcological ability and it was great to be able to test ourselves against one another. My youngest son Riley absolutely loved the sprint track and kept improving his time each attempt he made, much to his excitement.

My husband also enjoyed the grip test and took great delight in the fact that none of us could get even close to his score.

Emma spent some time on a really funny exhibit that shows you how your bones work when moving in a certain way. She began cycling on the bike and was then shocked when a skeleton appeared next to her that showed her exactly how her bones were working whilst pedalling.

The giant hamster wheel was also very popular with all guests and after a short wait my son and daughter both had a go at using their movement to create energy that would make the hamster wheel spin. Around this area we were also able to learn about our digestive system and find our more about DNA and what genetics are.

We absolutely loved Bodyworks and the fact that all the educational information was displayed and presented in such fun and interactive ways meant that my children enjoyed learning. They kept talking about what they had learnt and how they couldn't wait to tell their friends and teachers once they returned to school after the holidays.

Once we had finished in the Bodyworks area, we made our way down the stairs and headed to the Powering the Future floor where we learnt all about how energy is generated and what it can do. There were exhibits to teach us about the storing of energy and how it is transmitted, again using hands on experiments to help make the learning fun.

We were able to learn about how things are made, how things move and how energy that we often take for granted can be generated. We often switch lights on or plug things in without a second thought and so it was great to actually learn more about what happens when you plug something in and how that power is then created.

My youngest son Riley and I had a great time on the huge energy dance floor, where using our own bodies we had to generate enough energy to light up an on screen battery. My husband and eldest son Ben also had a wonderful time playing with the Scalextric track where they used hand cranks to power electric racing cars.

The lower floor was my kids favourite as it featured a large educational play area, scientific favourites such as pendulums and plasma balls, as well as a whole host of different optical illusions. My son Riley could have played in the water zone for hours and he loved watching how the water moved around. He could see where the water was generated and how different valves could change the flow or direction of the water. He also just quite simply enjoyed playing with the boats and moving them from one side to the other.

The crooked room also brought lots of laughter and confusion. This optical illusion made me feel really dizzy as my mind was telling me that the room was straight, but my feet were telling me that it definitely wasn't as I kept walking into the wall. My kids found this hilarious and also came up with fun ways to stand on the floor. If you look at the picture below it appears that the floor is straight and flat, however it is actually a steep slope. Very clever!

Another favourite was the optical illusion below, which made your body disappear using some very cleverly placed mirrors. We had so much fun trying all of these out and watching each other on the nearby television screens.

Overall we had an absolutely fantastic time and it will definitely be a place that we return to in the future. My kids haven't stopped talking about this attraction since we left and I am so pleased that they are so keen to learn at the moment. My husband and I also found out new things during our visit and so it was great as an adult to also be able to enjoy the experiments and interactive exhibits on offer. We found the attraction to be very accessible by car, foot and on public transport and full information on routes can be found here: Transport

There are also some additional attractions here that unfortunately we did not have time to visit which were the Planetarium and the Imax Cinema. For added convenience there is even cafe on site should you wish to have a bite to eat or grab a drink during your visit.

If you are planning on visiting Glasgow anytime soon then I would definitely recommend a visit to the Glasgow Science Centre! Fantastic!

Attraction Details

Address: Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1EA.

Opening hours: During the summer months the Science Mall will be open 10am til 5pm each day. Please check the website if visiting during other seasons.

Ticket Prices:
Science Mall Adult £11.00
Science Mall Child £9.00
Planetarium Add On £3.00
IMAX Documentary Add On £2.50
Glasgow Tower Add On £3.50
Glasgow Tower Only £6.50
Planetarium Only £5.50 (Applies to last show of the day only. Suitable for guests aged 7+)
Science Passport  Adult £27.00 (Valid for 12 months entry to the Science Mall)
Science Passport Child £21.00 (Valid for 12 months entry to the Science Mall)

All prices quoted include Gift Aid donation and VAT.

Children under 3 years of age are admitted free of charge.

Car Parking Charge for GSC Visitors: £3.00

For the most up to date information on ticket prices, events and opening hours then please visit their website here: Glasgow Science Centre

Disclaimer: I was provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.

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