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Less than Dynamic Earth
Our Dynamic Earth (Edinburgh)
Member Name: lenny0
Our Dynamic Earth (Edinburgh)
Date: 16/05/02, updated on 16/05/02 (185 review reads)
Disadvantages: Expensive, Unimaginative, Dull
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
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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