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Our Dynamic Earth (Edinburgh)

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      15.06.2012 23:54
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      If you want to visit the Dynamic Earth do it as part of the Edinburgh pass!

      The entrance, cafe and shop are at the level of the entrance and is well spread out beneath the dome. The actual project/ museum goes below ground level. When arriving we were directed to the counter and served quickly with our Edinburgh passes. Other customers who pre-booked their tickets online seemed to take a lot longer in the queue. The project is an interactive way of showing visitors how the Earth was millions of years ago to how it has become in the present day. There are staff that guide you through the museum so its not difficult to navigate your way around and they introduce you into some of the main rooms that you enter. The conditions in the rooms change with the theme of the room. For example, the room that is designed to educate visitors on the earths centre and volcanoes is dark, the floor moves replicating tremors and there is grey smoke when watching a volcano erupt. One of the best sections of the dynamic earth is the 4d cinema experience of a simulated flight around the world. It combined 3D film with different things that stimulate your senses. Cold blasts of air, Soap suds blown out as snow and a sweet smell when flying over trees. It was fantastic and family friendly - nothing too scary for young children. Before leaving there was a short film on in the planetarium about some of the different extreme weathers across the solar system. This was done by an allocated time slot given to you with your ticket as you enter. We arrived to the showing half an hour early so we must have walked through the museum more quickly than others take on average. We were still allowed to view the earlier showing so thankfully we didn't have to wait. The chairs were comfy and leaned quite far back so that it is easy to watch the film on the dome shaped screen above your head. I watched about 50 % of the film partly because I was so comfy in a dark room that I fell asleep. This doesn't reflect on the film in any way, it wasn't extremely boring or anything it was quite good in the bits that I did see. The group of school children that were in at the same time absolutely loved the experience and were all giddy and excited throughout and on the way out. Before leaving we decided to have refreshments at the cafe. Like in most museums the drinks and food were quite expensive. It didn't put us off but I would of preferred paying less for a drink. The cafe was set out really well with plenty of seats and tables not placed close together - easy to get round with trays, bags, prams etc. This attraction was well worth visiting to make the most of the Edinburgh passes that we had bought from the tourist information. If you don't have a pass expect to spend £11.50 per adult and £7.50 for a child. The museum probably suits young families with children more so than maybe just two or a group of adults. I enjoyed it as an adult but it's really designed to educate children in a fun and less formal way. I hope this doesn't put couples off going because it is quite good but it is obviously aimed at a younger audience. If you were visiting I would leave 1 1/2 to 2 hours to walk around and check the last visiting times. I think last admission is an hour and a half before closing time. Another bonus is that it is close to the queens gallery (included in Edinburgh pass) and the House of Parliament (free admission).

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      19.07.2009 19:06

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      Not very dynamic and a very down to earth presentation.

      I'm visiting from the states and the most exciting part our child had while visiting this exhibition was the train ride there when a train was passing in the opposite direction. Not been to a single science exhibit of this stature in the UK or the US that fails to capture the imagination as this one does. Not only are their typos on their displays,they can't even locate Yellowstone park correctly on their earthquake map. It's not just the small things the mismatching of the video screens, particularly in the polar section, is really off-putting and maybe they want you to sit in case you get motion sickness and fall over? It's dull, I don't mean the topic but the whole experience, which they is in fairly low light, with loads of text to read to the young ones. Loads of text without a lot of contrast.E.G, The ocean section has sheets that undulate the text back and forward and unless you are right at the bar it's pretty hard to pick up. Food is basic and well it's edible so let's leave it at that .Here we have yet another ecologically aware science exhibit that sells utter crap in the gift shop for the most part. It would be nice if they could practice the kind of restraint the walls urge the visitors to do. It's not all bad the 360 theater is pretty impressive but a really basic movie was showing on the day we went. I.E., what's an astronomer? The movie overstates Galileo a bit and left Copernicus out entirely,that's nice but it's indicative of the cursory geology, astronomy, biology et all within the exhibit that tries to fit too much into a small space and everything suffers from it.

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      30.06.2007 17:02
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      Not worth it.

      Back in February my boyfriend and I were organised enough to get leave together (shocking isnt it!!!) So we headed north to see his family and have a few daysout. So we went to Edinburgh, did our usual find a pub to eat and start drinking, after a short time in the pub we decided to see what else there is in Edinburgh apart from a trainm station and pubs. So we headed off in a random direction and stumbled across the new Scottish Parliament building (ugly building isnt it?) and accross the road what looked like a smaller version of the Millenium Dome, intrigued we decided to take a closer look and found that the dome was a science museum, curious we went in. The concept itself is quite good but sadly as a pair of adults wanting to stay dry on a wednesday afternoon the only section that caught our attention was the final section where you are seated in a planetarium style room and watch an interactive show (and even then it was mostly because we could sit and hold hands as well as conduct whispered arguements about our decisions). The other sections are the first room where there are a few displays which are desgined to introduce you to some of the ideas and information that youll learn more about in the later stages of your tour. Then there is an announcement, 'the time machine wil leave in 1 minute' So you step in to a lift which descends in to the past. When the doors open you re greeted by your 'pilot' who takes you to the past, the next room is a volcano which is errupting, where there is a video which tells ou about the creation of the earths tectonic plates and how the edges of plates either sink or rise (but no mention of the proper terms for these areas). Following through there are several other areas including, the tropical seas and rainforest, antarctic (which was at the time closed for a refurb). And finally you walk in to the planetarium room where the time travelling guide explains the earths current trouble and lack of power sources and you are asked to vote on the solutions, then after each vote you are taken forward in time to be shown the results and asked to make another descision. Each persons vote can be seen by others in your seating section as the seat plan shows blue or red depending on your choice. Then there is the giftshop which tobe honest we didnt even glance at just went straight through and back to the outside world. The claim that this is the Edinburghs Millenium Dome is about as true as you can get, the building is a dome and its content like the london dome seemed to me like a pointless waste of time and money. I'm sure the site is a great place to visit but for whatever reason it didnt capture our attention in the slightest. There were some interactive items which were computer based but the heights of the consoles are very much designed for children and made it uncomfortable to keep stooping to use them, also the cartoons seemed unnescessarily lengthy and were most likely a source of our disinterest. The entry cost was around £10 per person but there are obviously child, student, OAP and family options.

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        25.02.2007 17:16
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        Only for those very interested in the environment and willing to read lots of text

        My, my husband and our two boys, 7 and 9 visited this. They are quite keen on volcanoes, dinosaurs, space, etc, so we thought this would be a great day out. We came away over 30 quid poorer but wiser. Many things were broken (the polar room was out of commission). My eldest son complained that it was like doing science homework - it was heavy on the reading and light on adventure. Some of the material was pitched too high for my 7 year old and there were lots of younger children than that looking bored. The place was clean and the staff (apart from a rather surly chap on reception) were helpful and friendly. The assistant who valiantly gave the presention in the tropical rain forest even though her microphone and torch had conked out deserved a medal (and she made her subject matter very entertaining for small children) The "interactive" future trip was good fun, and the glacier film were okay, but they didn't make up for the poor all-round experience. It was also terribly worthy about everything and it felt like a two-hour lecture on the merits of population and environment control. Probably acceptable if it was free (or as a school trip). Save your money and watch the Discovery Channel for a couple of hours when you get home instead.

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          16.05.2002 20:01
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          Dynamic Earth trumpets on its website that it is "the most exciting, new high-tech visitor attraction for great days out in Edinburgh" which is undoubtedly true, but only becuase it is the only new high-tech visitor attraction in the city. Promising a journey through time, using the latest in cutting edge technology, Dynamic Earth is apparently the future of interactive entertainment. Again true, but only if you are a Macedonian goatherder and have never seen a television before. Entering the attraction via a flight of stairs, you find yourself in a large L-Shaped room which contain a number of TV screens fitted into the walls, demonstrating various elements which make up the world's weather. Most of these have some small element of interactivity, the best of which is a pad you can jump on which then plots a seismic graph on a wall screen, representing the earthquake you would have caused had you been a good bigger than you actually are. Others include a touchscreen which allows you to check out the weather world-wide and a sort of hour glass affair which you can turn round, although the purpose of this isn't particularly obvious. There are a couple of other TV screens in the room which merely show short videos of hurricanes and volcanoes and the like. At the rear of this entry foyer there is a set of lift doors which every five minutes or so begin a thirty second countdown, at which point they open and you are invited to enter the 'time machine'. This is a lift (or possibly just a corridor) with glass walls on either side and doors at each end, above which an electronic display counts down the years back into time. Through the glass walls a variety of images are lit up in sequence, to demonstrate the passage of time back to the Big Bang. This was quite nicely done, although hardly at the sharp end of modern technology, with even my six year old daughter less than impressed by the couple of dozens images displayed. When the counter reaches the beginning of time, the doors open and you are invited to move into the next room to learn about the creation of the universe. This consists of a short corridor with a handrail on either side and a large screen set in the wall, upon which a short (and less than enthralling) video is shown of the Big Bang and the processes which led to the creation of the Earth. No attempt is made to make the video child-friendly and, more than anything else, it feels like wathching an Open University lecture on physics. Once the video finishes, you move into the next room which is much of the same, only with a moulded plastic floor in front of the screen, representing rocks and lava while the screen shows a video about volcanic actions. At one point the floor shakes for a minute or so as a volcano erupts, then the video ends and you move onto the next room which covers the glaciation and the Ice Age. Guess what - it's a biggish room where you sit on the floor and watch a video about glaciers. In fact the video appears to have been pinched from one of those Doby Surround sound things you used to get before movies, with lots of swooping up and down over mountains and valleys. Completely dull and every child in the party we were with was by this point either wandering about exmaining the light fittings or saying 'this is boring - when can we see the dinosaurs'. I knew exactly how they felt. So we left viedo room 3 and headed for the center piece of Dynamic Earth - the bit with the dinosaurs. Bound to be lots of cool animatronic stuff here, we thought, loads of stuff to impress the kids, bound to be. Well, no actually - there wasn't. What you get is a large hall with some (non-moving) models of dinosaurs, a lot of wall plaques describing the various ages of the giant lizards and some truly appalling bits of tat designed presumably to captivate children's attention. This tat basically c onsisted of metal circles on the walls at regular intervals with a question on them along the lines of 'What dinosaur lived in Edinburgh ?', underneath which was a little flap with a handle. You pull up the flap and the answer is revealed. Hardly the stuff of dreams. One rather neat thing they did have was a computer screen which allowed you to morph dinosaurs into maodren animals, showing how the animals bodies changed to become modern crocodiles, birds etc. In fact the five minutes we spent on that (having waited about twenty minutes to have a go, since everyone else obviously realised that this was the best thing in the room too) was the high point of the entire day. Anyway, you wander through this hall and come to a clearly plastic model of a brain in some liquid (not entirely sure why it was there) and then head through another set of doors into the underwater submarine area. This (surprise surprise) is a short corridor with some wall screens showing yet more out-takes from Wildlife on One. At the end is a periscope you can look through, although it doesn't actually come down low enough for smaller children, so be prepared to hold your child in the crook of one arm while trying to move the bloody thing round with the other. Through the next door and you're in a room with a big chunk of ice in the middle of it which you can touch should you wish. Around the walls are niches containing a variety of apparently unconnected bits and pieces - stuffed birds were in one and some grass in another, and there a couple small TV screens showing eskimos and igloos. One more door to traverse and one more corridor lined with screens and you're at the Amazon exhibit with real live rain forest. God, this was terrible. The rain forest consists of a mock up of a forest about twenty feet long and going back about six feet with a vert small stream running along it. A sound effect tape plays some animal noises and occasionally a pair of lights which are meant I presume to be animals eyes light up. The the monsoon starts - ie the sprinklers get turned on for a minute and you are entertained by watching some water hit the exhibit. When we were there there was plenty of room at the railing to watch this since most people seemed to have given up and were sitting on the stairs waiting for the whole sorry experience to be over. Never mind, it soon was. The last part of the tour consists of a large room in which you ar einvited to lie on the floor to watch yet another video projected on the ceiling. Actually it's not a video as such, just a set of faces and snippets from videos I suspect we'd already seen while a voice over solemnly intones something about saving the planet for future generations. I might be wrong about that last bit since by then I had started playing peek a boo with a baby sitting beside me. And that was that - out the final door and back into the real world, our journey into the past over. For which I can ony thank God, since I have seldom spent a more dull and uninspired hour and half in my life (and I'm a Hearts supporter, so I know what a dull 90 minutes can be like). Whatever you do with the kids this summer, don't take them here - it truly is a deadful experience. Prices for those who just can't resist are as follows : Adults (16 and over) £7.95 Child/OAP £4.50 (Under 5's go free) Disabled child £3.45 Student/Disabled/UB40 £5.50 Family 2+2 £21.00 Family 2+3 £24.00 Family 1+2 £13.95 Family 1+3 £17.00 Opening in the summer is from 10.00am to 6.00pm.

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            31.08.2001 19:50
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            My son was interested in visiting the dome in London but in view of the distance this was not possible and we decided on a trip to Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh instead. It is an impressive looking building situated in Holyrood Road close to Holyrood Palace. It is at the top of a flight of stairs and looks like a ship in full sail. It is open all year Easter to October 10am to 6pm November to Easter Wed----Sun 10am to 5pm Mon & Tues Closed Also Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day We choose to travel by bus as there is always a problem parking in Edinburgh. It you do go by car there are a few spaces available at Dynamic Earth. It is also easily accessible by train. Once inside it is disabled friendly with all areas being accessible and wheelchairs available but have to be pre booked Disabled toilets are also available. Admission Prices Adult £7.95 OAP/Child £4.50 Disabled Child £3.45 Student Disabled/UB40 £5.50 Family 2+2 £21 Family 2+3 £24 Family 1+2 £13.95 Family1+3 £17 Season Tickets are available and prices can be found on the web site www.dynamicearth.co.uk So onward into the museum itself and into the time machine that whisks you back through 4,500 million years from the Space age to the Ice age. This gives the impression of moving very fast with time flashing past and can cause dizziness. Experience the Big Bang and discover how the earth was formed hold on tight as you enter the world of volcanoes and feel the ground shake as an earthquake rocks you. Our journey through time continued from the freezing tundra to the dry heat of the savannah and on a flight over huge mountains and glaciers at very high speed. This made me feel very uncomfortable and so dizzy I could hardly stand up so this is really not advisable for anyone with a balance problem. My son helped me out into the polar region and I could have quite happi ly slumped onto a giant iceberg till I discovered it was real. Once recovered, we continued our journey through the history of evolution and even discovered how dinosaurs died out. Travelled in a yellow submarine watching the sea creatures through the portholes. We all felt the heat and dampness of the tropical rainforests. It was a very well laid out exhibition and my son really enjoyed his visit, I on the other hand took a while to recover and would advise caution to anyone visiting with balance problems. There is also a shop selling lots of interesting gifts. A café is available at ground level and it is possible to use the tables to eat your own packed lunch. There is a soft play area to keep the younger visitors happy. All in all it is a very interesting place to visit and I would recommend it.

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              05.09.2000 09:49
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              Ever wanted to take a time machine back to the Big Bang, or ride on a tectonic plate down into the centre of the Earth? Then you will have fun in the Dynamic Earth Exhibition in Edinburgh. Are you more interested in educational experience? Then you will also enjoy it. This exhibition is a strange - and mostly but not completely successful - mixture of impressive multimedia fun and good education. In the first half, you are - in groups of visitors - taken on an imaginary journey back in time. First you enter the time machine - a glass elevator which brings you down to the Big Bang, while you see historical events passing outside. The Big Bang you will see from the windows of a "futuristic starship": Elementary particles, atoms and stars forming. In the next room, you are suddenly inside the Earth - allegedly standing on a tectonic plate which is subducted under a continent, the ground shaking, and hot magma and little vulcanoes around you. After the heat of Earth's interior you then experience the cold of an Ice Age. After this first, heavily multimedia-centred part follows a quieter but still entertaining second part, which you can explore at your own pace. First you will go through a corridor called the "Timeline", following the history of life on Earth from single cell organisms to our present animals. All along this corridor are models of characteristic animals and plants which lived in each of the epochs, all in original size - which means that you only get a dinosaur foot, not the whole animal.... Narrower gates in the "timeline" symbolize the major extinction events, no more dinosaurs after the last one! At the end of the "timeline" you are back in the modern world and now go through different regions and habitats: the oceans, the polar regions, and at the end you are in a tropical rain forest with real trees and real rain (as if it didn't rain enough in Edinburgh already!). Now, the first part clearly should not be taken too serious. Neither the idea of watching the Big Bang from a spaceship nor sitting an a tectonic plate deep inside the Earth has much realism to it. Even if it was possible, nothing much would be visible: You would not really see elementary particles whizzing around at the Big Bang! So I would view this part mainly as a very impressive and hugely entertaining piece of multimedia art, only loosely based on science. Obviously it wasn't meant as an educational part anyway, as the background information is really kept to the absolute minimum. The second part, however, is designed to be a serious - but entertaining - educational experience. The models in the "timeline"-corridor are exact images of nature, you can touch them and get them to know in a very "hands-on"-way. The same is true for the other regions, and my personal favourite was the very realistic, life size rain forest, where there is so much to discover. Furthermore, as far as I could see, all displays were generally scientifically sound (although I did notice one avoidable blunder) - something that cannot be said of some other allegedly educational multimedia-shows that I have seen. However, while I enjoyed it very much now, I believe that I would have given my parents a hard time had I visited this exhibition at the age of say 8 or 10. Why? The exhibition does not give you much background information, it is all "see, feel and enjoy", and as a child I would have asked hundreds of questions that my parents could not have answered, and they would not have found the answers in the exhibition either. Well, now, after years of University work in Earth Sciences, I can make sense of everything that was on display, but I believe that most visitors are probably not in this fortunate situation. I feel that the curiosity of children is underestimated. For example, as children, my friends and I had a lot of fun memorizi ng all these funny dinosaur names and the names for geological epochs - but in the "timeline" corridor, the epochs are not even mentioned! To be fair, they employ a lot of people who are there to answer questions, and the staff I met seemed well trained and friendly, so this is probably much better than having written information everywhere. However, I wonder if it is still easy to ask somebody on a busy Saturday afternoon with thousands of visitors around... Another slightly negative aspect is the lack of interactivity: while you can touch a lot, there is not realy much you can *do* with the displays. True, there are the occasional computers on which you can play a little educational game, but they they gave the impression of being added afterwards to add a bit of interactivity to an otherwise completely static exhibition. And, of course, there may be a fundamental problem with this kind of exhibitions: They do give the impression that doing science is always fun and easy. Well, in reality it is not, but it is mostly hard work, although the results are very rewarding (intellectually, not financially....). One cannot and should not expect to learn much without reasonable effort and serious thinking. However, it would not be entirely fair to criticise an exhibition for this - exhibitions have to be designed to attract people. Still, I think that every science exhibition should also make some attempts to help visitors appreciate the importance of serious efforts when you try to understand the world. Would I recommend it to a friend? That depends on the friend. If she is the type who finds the whole idea of diving on a tectonic plate into Earth's interior completely and utterly ridiculous and thinks this invalidates the rest of the exhibition, then I would not recommend it to her. If she can accept the fun part, and otherwise enjoys exploring the world and trying to make sense of it, then I can recommend it. I would, however, also recommend that she takes somebody along who has a bit of background in Earth Science, who can direct the attention to some of the fascinating things that she might not notice on her own. --- Dynamic Earth Exhibition 107 Holyrood Road Edinburgh EH8 8AX http://www.dynamicearth.co.uk

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