On a cold Sunday morning we took a visit to the Life Science Centre in Newcastle city centre. Arriving for the opening time of 11am we joined a short queue and handed over the £25 entrance fee. Maps, timetables and tickets in hand we were all set to get our inner science geek on!
It had been over two years since three quarters of the Hoopers last went to Life Science Centre. The date is etched well in my mind as we had our friends Jamie, Chris and their daughters Emily and Mollie staying with us from Great Yarmouth. On the morning we were due to visit I started feeling really unwell. Sloping back to bed with paracetamol and a hot water bottle I was no better when they returned. Six months later and one useless gall bladder removed the source of the pain was sorted! No grudges are held against the Life Science Centre and happy to report was feeling top notch this morning.
The Life Science Centre
The Lego exhibition was in it’s second day and had brought a steady crowd. Who could resist North East Lego Landmarks like a lego Angel of the North and Baltic? Lego brings out the inner geek in Alan and he wouldn’t gladly pack in his day job to be a lego model builder. There’s much more the the Life Science Centre though and we were keen to explore the other attractions to make a full day out.
What’s included in the Price?
Planetarium: Edge of Darkness
The planetarium show lasts 25 minutes and occurs at hourly intervals throughout the day. Plonking our bums in super comfy reclined seats we took a journey to ‘Edge of Darkness’. I have to admit that the darkness and the comfy seat did cause me to ‘rest’ (ie shut) my eyes for a few moments. Lots of interesting stuff about comets, planets and Pluto if I remember correctly. When the lights came back on they were bright!!
Chuffing Contraptions: Science Theatre
This show reminds me of Royal Institute lectures on TV that Alan always watches at Christmas. Hosted by a staff member, the show talks about the concept of ideas evolving into inventions that have changed the world. Each invention is evolved into a better one with a little bit if abstract thinking. The underlying theme is engines and power. There is a collection of exploding demonstrations that certainly got the kids attention.
Alan and Imogen headed off to the experiment zone as it is strictly for over 7’s. Abigail, was given the option to watch, but started to feel a little left out. Out of 6 different science tasks, they completed 3. All the experiments were on a theme of forensic science and how it could be useful at the scene of a crime.
Extracting DNA – This involved mixing solutions with wheat germ to extract it’s NDA strands. Then adding Ethanol over the top it slowly displayed a layer of DNA, floating.
Powder X – This test was visually interesting. Four different powders were tested with different chemicals to produce a reaction. Then an unknown powder was tested to find out how it reacted. Which was then referenced to the known ones.
4D Motion Ride: Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs
The ride follows the journey of Sid the Sloth as he escapes from a T-rex with a little help from his friends. There’s plenty of special effects and enough tilting of the seats to give a sense of nausea. Imogen loved it so much she made both me and her Dad ride it. Sadly Abigail was too short to go on as you need to be over 1.2 metres, but she didn’t complain.
Young Explorers Zone
Located on the first floor passing some models depicting the age of man. Abigail loudly said ‘Mam, it looks like a sausage!’ as we headed to the Young Explorers Zone. This was probably the most disappointing aspect of the Life Science Centre. It just needed a little bit of love and improvement. The crafts on offer were very basic. We settled to make and cut out a snowman from a paper template and struggled to find any pencils that weren’t completely blunt. The soft play area and the recycling zone was a little on the crazy side with kids whacking each other with the foam shapes. She declined to get involved! As she couldn’t do the Experiment Zone or the 4D Motion Ride this area would benefit from a revamp and a little more to occupy ages 5 to 7.
Brick History and NE Lego Landmarks
We loved this exhibit so much we gave it it’s very own blog post. See here
Around 4pm we headed back from the the Life Science Centre after a very busy day. We debated upgrading to annual pass but in hindsight there are so many other things to do in the north east I’m not sure we would get our money’s worth. All in all, a great time was had by the whole family. We are tempted to come back for the Maker Faire in April, as we’ve been in previous years.