Address: Telegraph Way, Winchester, SO21 1HZ
Price Band: ££
We all know there are lots of places to take younger kids but what about the older ones? It can be hard to find somewhere to go once they get past the farmyard/soft play stage. Last summer we had the pleasure of visiting Winchester Science Centre. It is perfect for keeping older kids (and adults) happy as well as having lots of things for little ones to get involved in as well. With over 100 hands-on exhibits over 2 floors you can easily spend all day here. It is fully accessible with a lift between the two floors. The lift is clear glass which Lois and Cody thought was very cool!
The exhibits cover everything from movement to how your body works, the weather, our planet, how things are made, etc. You can make a tornado and test your reaction times. Find out how your body digests food and see how fast you can run. The little ones may not fully understand the educational side of what they are doing, however they still enjoy it all the same. For older ones it’s ideal for linking with topics they are studying at school.
As well as the permanent exhibits there are some scientist led talks and demonstrations downstairs, There are also activities the kids can take part in. While we were there one of the activities was to build a paper boat and see how much weight it could hold. Lois managed to build one of the strongest ones they had that day. She was thrilled to get a certificate for taking part!
For lunch there is an on-site cafe serving hot and cold food/drinks. There are lots of picnic tables as well so you can take your own if you wish. We didn’t use the cafe so I cannot comment on the food. We took our own picnic instead. The indoor picnic area is very large so great if you go with a group of friends. There is some soft play and comfy sofas next to it too. Outside is a garden with more picnic benches and an adventure obstacle course. Ideal for the kids to have a run around and let off steam. We found this broke the day up well as we then went back inside to do some more activities in the afternoon.
On the lower floor there are lots of opportunities for children to test their own building skills. There are a variety of hands on activities and information boards on what to do. The kids loved putting themselves to the test. I think they take a lot more on board when they are physically doing or making things themselves.
If you get the chance while you are there I would highly recommend a visit to the planetarium cinema. It is an unforgettable experience that I have never seen anywhere else. You sit back in the comfy cinema seats. The screen completely surrounds you 360° and curves over the top of your head. It is amazing! We watched a movie about astronauts in space and how they live. It was fascinating. As the screen completely surrounds you it feels like you are up there with them! If you suffer from motion sickness you may struggle a little with this. It can give you the sensation of floating but a quick glance to the side to ground yourself again and you should be fine. The planetarium does cost extra but its so worth it – trust me!
I would highly recommend this place for children aged 5 years-adult. Under 3s get in free. There are plenty of toilet facilities as well as somewhere to hang your coats so you can get involved in the activities. You can easily spend the whole day here so I think it is good value for money. The educational side of the activities is an added bonus! This is definitely the place for a mixed age range or older kids and ideal for a rainy day too.
Disclaimer: Winchester Science Centre have had no involvement in this review and all photos, words and opinions are that of my own 🙂