Discovery Museum

Discovery Museum – Newcastle upon Tyne

Sometimes the best laid plans are destined to go to pot and our planned Bank Holiday trip to the Lakes camping was just not meant to be!

Thursday started off inconsequential. A sweaty 5k run around Great Park with my ‘This Girl can Run’ group followed by a visit from my friend and hairdresser Jacqueline to top up the blonde on my barnet. Thankfully she had just washed the dye out and was blow drying it when we heard an almighty bang from the boiler in the kitchen!! A call to British Gas (thank goodness for cover) and a promise of a call by the engineer the next day was arranged.

Friday came and unsurprisingly it wasn’t to be a small job, a part had to ordered to be installed on Saturday.  At this point we decided to cancel the camping trip. To add to the stress a warning light had pinged up on the car – so that’s another job for next week to sort! Grrrrrr!

Discovery Museum

As we had been cooped up with boiler issues all day Saturday we decided to take a trip into town to visit the Discovery Museum on Sunday.  This is a bit of a rainy day favourite for us. It’s free, handy to get to and has lots for the kids to do. We parked up in the Grainger Town car park (£3 for all day Sunday) and crossed St James’ Boulevard and entered the museum.


Discovery Museum Turbinia

Impressively housed in the main foyer of the museum is the Turbinia boat, which was the first steam-powered vessel built here on the Tyne with a fascinating history. Abigail had fun limbo-ing under the boat and asked me to join in. I declined. A trip to the A&E would just top off this weekend!

Joicey Gallery – Newcastle through the Ages

Even though we have been here many times and I’m sure it was here when I was a kid, I still love this exhibition. I’m fascinated by social history and this exhibition perfectly sums up the history of Newcastle in a visual way that adults and children can enjoy. It doesn’t shy from describing the hardships but has a good balance of fun and education.

Discovery Museum

We dipped into the cinema news reel and watched a movie about Tyne Tees tv and their coverage of regional events. The opening day of the Metro Centre in 1986 with its cool fountains and permanent smell of chlorine in the air and the Gateshead Garden Festival in 1990 both brought back memories to myself to and Alan. I spotted some Guides in their cool Jeff Banks jumpers on the video and wondered if I was there on that day as I had visited with the Brownies on an uniformed group day. We came out of the cinema in the 1960’s so had to travel back in time to the 40’s to find the right path. Felt like Marty McFly.

Discovery Museum Print Shop

Imogen enjoyed spinning the ‘wheel of misfortune’….’bad luck…you have developed cholera’. This was cheery! As too was the iron lung! Lots to thank the NHS for here.

We came out of the exhibition in the modern-day. Well sort of. A Hello magazine of Cheryl and Ashley Cole’s doomed wedding (10 years ago this July in case you were wondering!) and a blow up Mr Blobby wasn’t exactly current but good enough. Arghhh am I now history??

The Discovery Museum does have its own cafe on the Third floor, which we didn’t try out, but there are plenty of places to have your own packed lunch and drinks. We stopped for a can of pop and a bag of crisps at the tables next to the Turbinia which was pleasant.

Discovery Museum

Imogen insisted we played table football and had her pound ready to put in. Me and Abigail against Imogen and Alan. They won 8-2 but as Abigail could barely see the table I felt I was at an unfair advantage! It’s harder than it looks.

Science Maze

Discovery Museum Science Maze

Next stop was the Science Maze. This area was packed and the under 5’s soft play area was heaving. We had a quick look around playing with magnets and a demonstration of gravity using a plastic ball in a tube. Some of the exhibits in here are a bit tired and could do with a revamp however it was a good half hour of free fun.

The Tube

On the way out we spotted a small exhibition room dedicated to The Tube a Tyne Tees music show filmed in their city road studios which ran from 1982 to 1987. The show was hosted by Jools Holland, Leslie Ash and the late Paula Yates and launched the careers of many bands in the 80s.

I loved the extracts from local teenagers who were given ‘punters passes’ due to their enthusiastic dancing and ability to whoop at the right time. No queuing up on a Friday afternoon for these cool kids. It’s a shame there is so much less music on TV now-bring back The Tube and Top of the Pops.

Time to go

We really enjoyed our few hours at the Discovery and could have stayed longer if we didn’t have jobs to do in town. Top tip take spare clothes and let your kids go wild in the splash area! This has been a big hit in the past and great that it is themed around the bridges of the Tyne. Again summing up the theme of this museum of being fun and educational.


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