space suits hanging on a rail at the Space Store in Didcot

Space Store in Didcot

You may have seen on our social media that we recently visited the new Space Store in the Orchard Centre, Didcot.  Not just any old shop, the Space Store offers a gift shop, cafe and fun Space activities.  We went along to find out more.

A Place To Shop

When you enter the Space Store you are first met by the gift shop area.  This has a range of space themed goods for sale including clothing, games, gadgets and more. 

Merchandise for sale in the Space store

A Place To Eat

Further on inside is the cafe which serves hot and cold drinks (I hear the coffee and hot choc are both lovely!).  There is also a menu of light food options including freshly made sandwiches, paninis, cakes, etc. The cafe scores a 5 (Very good) on the ‘scores on the doors’ hygiene ratings.

Cody stood in front of the counter at the Space store cafe

A Place To Experience

Towards the back of the store is where it gets exciting!  This is the experience zone where you can take part in a variety of space themed activities.  We took part in the 2 hour ‘Fascination Space’ experience.  This is available on selected dates and needs to be booked in advance via their website (see link at the bottom of this review).

close up of junior space suit in the space store

Our experience started with a talk about space and the Space Store team members by a space scientist.  He showed us loads of interesting slides on a TV screen and asked lots of questions to get us all involved.  Despite being to many space events before I actually learned loads of new things!  The kids were all really engrossed and enjoyed sharing their own knowledge and ideas.

Presentation at the space store on tv screen

Next we moved on to learning about how astronauts eat in space.  I actually found this part really fascinating!  Did you know that bread is not allowed on the International Space Station?  This is because of the crumbs produced when eating it.  You don’t want bread crumbs floating around your zero gravity home!  Instead they eat tortilla wraps. 

Tortilla wrap in packaging at space store

We had a go at making our own wraps using some of the fillings astronauts have.  Cody went a bit wild with his crazy concoction!

Cody putting ingredients in a wrap at the space store

After enjoying our wraps and juice we split into 2 groups to have a go at some more activities.  Our first activity was to try out some interactive augmented reality cards.  You hold them in front of the Ipad camera and using a special app you can bring the object on the card to life!  The app allows you to move the object around, read about what it does and play videos.  These special cards are available to buy from the store and would make a great gift for any space enthusiast.

kids using the interactive cards and app on the ipads at the space store

After playing with the cards we had a close look at some different space rocks.  We also watched a video of a meteorite exploding as it entered Earth’s atmosphere above Russia.  It was amazing to see!  The Space Store has a piece of the actual meteorite in the video clip which you are allowed to handle.  It is fascinating!

Piece of a meteorite at the space store

Next we moved on to the virtual reality headsets.  The kids really enjoyed these as they are “super cool”!  They did a couple of different experiences on there.  Some people can find that these headsets make them feel a bit motion sick.  If thats the case the staff can adjust the settings or show you it without the headset on.  You can have a go at doing just the virtual reality experience for just £3.49 per person!

Lois wearing a virtual reality headset at the space store

The kids took it in turns during the VR experience to try on replica Tim Peake astronaut suits.  The store has these in a variety of sizes suitable from around 5 years up to adult size.  They put on the suit with boots, gloves and helmet then walked like space men around the store.  It was great fun and you can get some cool photos against the galaxy backdrop.  Again you can book this space suit experience separately for just £3.49 per person.

Cody wearing a replica Tim Peake astronaut space suit at the space store

The 2 hour ‘Fascination Space’ experience costs £14.99 per person and needs to be booked in advance.  You can check available dates and times on the website.  This is also available for birthday parties at the same price per person.  We really enjoyed the experience and learned so much.  I found a lot of it fascinating and different to other space themed events we have been to.  At £14.99 per person I think this is great value for money.  The staff were really friendly and great with the kids.  They were happy to answer questions and took time to explain things in greater detail when someone had a particular interest. 

Front entrance of the space store in didcot

The store itself is open every day and you are welcome to pop in any time.  You don’t need to have an experience booked to go in there.  The cafe is open to everyone and has a small play area for little ones to enjoy while the grown ups sit back and relax on the comfy sofas.  The big screens above the sofas show a live picture of where the International Space Station currently is on its orbit.  How cool is that?!  To find out more or book any experiences please visit their website here: https://www.spacestore.co/

Disclaimer:  We were kindly gifted our ‘Fascination Space’ experiences in return for this review.  All words, images and opinions are that of my own.

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