Address: Telegraph Way, Winchester, SO21 1HZ
Price Band: ££
We all know there are lots of places out there to take younger kids to 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 and it is absolutely 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, 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 but they still enjoy it all the same. For older ones it is ideal for linking in with topics they are studying at school as well as being fun.
As well as the permanent exhibits there are some scientist led talks and demonstrations downstairs as well as 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 and got a certificate for taking part!
For lunch there is an on-site cafe serving hot and cold food/drinks as well as lots of picnic tables both inside and outside so you can take your own if you wish. We didn’t use the cafe so I cannot comment on the food there as we took our own picnic instead. The indoor picnic area is very large so great if you go with a group of friends, plus there is some soft play and comfy sofas next to it. Outside is a garden with more picnic benches and a wooden adventure obstacle course so the kids can have a run around and let off steam for a while. We found this broke the day up well as we then went back in 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 and knowledge with a large variety of hands on activities and information boards on what to do. The kids loved putting themselves to the test and I think they take a lot more on board when they are physically doing things 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 and 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 and as the screen completely surrounds you it really feels like you are up there with them! If you suffer from motion sickness you may struggle a little with this as 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 4 years-adult. Under 3s get in free and 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 🙂