The Christmas holidays gave rise to lovely long relaxed days playing games or going for walks, and also to days out with friends to attractions that can sometimes be hard to squeeze in to life during term time. One of these was Birmingham’s science museum, the Thinktank.
We have been to the Thinktank a number of times since Chief was just 5 months old. It really does have something for everyone and we are never disappointed by a trip there.
Just beyond the ticket desk (on the 2nd Floor of the Millennium Point building) is The Street Gallery. This is home to an interactive recycling display which shows the process for breaking down materials used for everyday products and groceries and making them into new things.
Beyond this gallery is Kids’ City. Designed for younger members of the family, it boasts a doctors’ surgery, a café, an animation studio, a water garden and a mechanics workshop to name but a few.
Also on this floor is a Wildlife area (a big hit with our natural history mad Munch), along with dinosaur bones including a Triceratops skull and a prehistoric marine crocodile, and information on habitats around the world. All three of our boys are huge David Attenborough fans and have loved watching the Blue Planet II series, so the Marine Worlds exhibition was a big hit.
The Things About Me section is another favourite of ours. Through a variety of displays you can learn more about how the human body functions, including how your heart pumps, your digestive system, your senses and even basic human reproduction. Activities include a bop the crocodile style reflexes game and an exercise area (which The Loud One loved!).
We forgot to see it on this occasion, but just beyond this area is a dissected human brain which has been donated and is a fascinating organ. Aimed at an older audience this Medicine Matters area also has video footage of operations which is interesting although perhaps not for the squeamish (like me!).
Venture upstairs and further attractions include the Planetarium, which has shows throughout the day for a small additional fee, and a range of futuristic exhibits. RoboThespian is very entertaining, there is an interactive programmable drum kit, and you can see how far modern medicine has progressed.
On the ground floor level is a Discover the Past exhibit. Among the multiple exhibits in this section are a large steam locomotive, a Smethwick Engine (once used to pump water through Birmingham’s canal system) and a Spitfire which is suspended overhead. Our boys are becoming increasingly interested in this area of the museum. The robot ‘welding’ car parts captured their attention several times over on our most recent visit!
All this indoor activity gives a huge amount of choice during the cold or wet weather, but if you are feeling up to it, or during the warmer months, there is also the external Science Garden to explore. A giant hamster wheel, water pressure experiments, a miniature canal lock system and a pulley seat are some of the attractions that await you there.
With over 200 hands-on displays, the Thinktank is a lovely family day out. We easily lose a day there, learning about science and the world around us, and I would highly recommend it.
Which is your favourite science museum to visit as a family?
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