“ The Museum for Children, Discovery Road HX1 2NE, Halifax UK. Tel: +44-1422-330069 „
At the moment the Stebiz household are experiencing a severe shortage of cash flow. Having already been fortunate to go on two holidays this year, the budget would just not allow a third. This has meant that I have been looking for cheap (or free) days out to entertain to the devil stebiz's over the Summer hols.
Last week whilst checking out the finances, I decided to cash in some Tesco clubcards, for days out vouchers. One on the Tesco list was Eureka in Halifax. So yesterday we all jumped in the car and travelled to Halifax. About an hours drive from Stebiz land in Liverpool.
Upon arriving I was met by a large modern building built in Yorkshire stone. Outside there was adequate parking but expect to pay for this. It cost us a fiver for the day. After parking the car we walked to the entrance to be met by a queue of about 40 - about 15 minutes in all. Well I guess it is te Summer hols.
After we got to checkout we were met by some really helpful staff. They were happy to take £40 worth of clubcard vouchers. This was an added bonus as the entrance fee is usually £8.95, and in our case we would need to times this by five. However they allowed us the family pass, at £40, which was superb, as Tesco Vouchers don't normally attract offers.
Unfortunately they would not allow us the free offer of annual membership, which is what they have on at moment, to celebrate their 18th Birthday.
Before I go any further into the review, it is important to note that this is a charity. It is also a childrens learning museum. All entrance fees attract the normal tax relief, if you gift aid, as you enter.
Our first visit was to the sound section. This is all very much hands on, much like the rest of the museum. You can try all kinds of devices, learning about sound, and how it travels. All very informative and which fascinated the two younger members of our family.
Then it was time for our five year old to dress up as a fox, and his older sister to dress up as a bat. All good fun.
After this I was ready for a bite to eat. They have a restaurant there, and the prices didn't appear to unreasonable. However we opted to go outside to have our picnic as the sun was just coming out. This allowed the children to have a play on the outdoor toys. There were picnic tables, and even an outdoor Marquee. In the case of rain there was also an old train carriage, that you were allowed to go in.
At the time there was also a bouncy castle as well as a merry go round, but this was charged extra. In the case of the bouncy castle a £1 and the merry go round £1.50.
After we went back in we moved on to the 'body' section. This taught us all about our body. How we see? Colour blindness, Pregnancy, Hearing, Weight, Height - all kinds really. Very interesting too, and all with lots of experiments to try and do.
After this we went to the Halifax bank. Not the real one of course. But the childrens one which had been set up to allow kids to try their hand at being a cashier. They could also go into a pretend bank vault.
After this is was a pretend Post Office sponsored by Royal Mail. A pretend supermarket, which allowed you to scan items, sponsored by M&S. There was also a garage and a childrens kitchen, as well as a bedroom.
After this we went to an eco friendly area. Teaching us all the benefits of recycling. This was quite interesting and plenty of chairs for us to sit on, whilst the kids explored.
When we were finally chucked out at 5pm, the kids went to play in a large sandpit outside. They really enjoyed this, and were sad to leave in the end.
I have tried to cover as much as I can in this review, but really there is so much to talk about, I could never give it justice, unless I wrote a book about the place. The museum is a great idea. It was opened by Prince Charles and he has his name and hand prints in reception.
I can highly recommend a very interesting days out here. Aimed more at the younger members of your family, there is still a lot to see and do for the older ones too.
Copyright stebiz 2010 - also on ciao.co.uk
I went to the Eureka! museum in Halifax for the first time today with my two-and-a-half year old twins. We found out about the museum through their website, which has a colourful and'playful' appearance, yet is very factual and useful. The entrance prices do appear a little high at first (£8.95 for adults, £2.95 for 1 - 2 year olds: there are varying prices for children of different ages, but babies under one year get in for free) but the entrance fee can be converted into an annual pass that you apply for in the main hall of the museum - you'll need to bring this and some photo I.D. with you on future visits to get in free for the next year.
The museum is easy to get to, there is a very large car park next to it (it's not owned by the museum and you will need to pay to use it) and the museum is next to Halifax train station. The approach to the museum contains a large outdoor play and picnic area with a huge sandpit and an old train carriage converted into a dining area.
The museum exterior has a glass front through which you can see some of the exhibits and activities, and there is a large multicoloured illuminated sign and some small wind turbines attached to the building. Inside the building you are greeted by a huge wash of colour, with everything obviously geared to appeal to younger minds. Everything in the museum has an interactive element, keeping children interested and encouraging them to learn through doing things.
The main hall leads on to a Post Office, bank and supermarket, where the children can 'go shopping' and learn about healthy food and the processes that happen in a town by pretening to be a grown-up! There is also a garage with cars and a lorry that the children can play in, and a model house on three levels with interactive displays (my children particularly enjoyed the activities in the 'bathroom', where they could play with water and learn about water conservation and how the systems 'work'. The kitchen area had lots of things for the children to look at and touch, and they could learn about food and healthy eating in this area. The town space seems to be designed to function as one entity, but with all the children running around, it became a little chaotic - but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves!
Other spaces in the museum included a large exhibition hall on the human body, with displays that demonstrate how the human body works. There was an exercise bike next to a mirror that revealed a skeleton cycling when the bike was operated, a giant mouth that children could walk into and examine the teeth, and a machine that showed the chewing process when a bean bag was fed into the 'mouth'.
There was a special creative area for the under-fives, where they could make pictures, play with cuddly toys and puppets, and look at the fish in the tank. Also there was a play area aimed at very young children, but we didn't get a chance to go in here (not enough time!).
The cafe isn't cheap, but it's nowhere near as expensive as other museums, and the food is generally healthy and the atmosphere is friendly and the staff are nice. This was the case throughout the museum, with staff always being helpful and friendly, and obviously good with children. I would love to know what they put in the advert for the job that involves being the voice of an interactive talking robot (there's a concealed camera in the robot so the person operating it can see the child as well as communicate with them over the intercom in the robot)!
There is a lot to occupy the minds of children from birth to about age 11, but I would say a child aged between 6 and 8 would get the most out of the museum. Everything is designed to be fun as well as interesting, and it's fun for the adults too, although I was exhausted at the end of it, after running round after my children all day!
The museum is open 6 days a week (it's not open Mondays in term-time), an I was surprised at just how busy it was. We went on a Sunday, and it was packed! Apparently if you go at half-term you should get their early because you have to queue up for ages! The museum is great and deserves its excellent reputation - it's well worth travelling to for a great day out with the kids.
Eureka Museum is situated in Halifax quite close to the train station so it is easy to get to.
It is a children's museum (but the grown ups will enjoy it too!). There are lots of things for children to do and learn about and it is suitable from about age 2.
The first gallery you come to is a sound gallery and there is an interactive display with lots of things the children can touch to make sounds happen.
One of the most popular areas is the role play gallery. This consists of several real life scenarios where the children can play to their heart's content. There is a garage, a bank and, the favourite, a mini supermarket complete with little shopping trolleys so that the children can do the shopping and then go and pay at the pretend till. Great fun.
The human body section is very good although probably more suitable for slightly older children. My daughter visited this part when she was in year 2 and I think that is probably about the right age. There are lots of interactive displays here where children can learn all about how different bits of their body work. There is a passport you can pick up outside to fill in the different things they learn.
They have other areas at Eureka, but these seems to change. We have seen a 'green garden' and other numerous displays on the times we have visited.
Euerka isn't cheap to visit - £8.95 for adults and children 3 and over (Feb 2010) but this entitles you to return as many times as you like for a year. The car park is £3 for up to 4 hours.
I can highly recommend a visit here. My daughter would agree - when she was younger she got very upset when I called it "Eureka!" because she said it wasn't "YOUR-eka, it's MY-reka" which later appeared in one of their promotion leaflets.
Eureka, a fabulous day out for all the family! I have a long association with the Eureka ! Children's science museum, having visited as a child myself, worked there as an enabler as a teenager and now I take my own children there who are 6 and 9 years old. It is a favourite place to go when visiting my folks. The museum is situated in Halifax, just next to the railway station and a large outside carpark (although this is a pricey option!).
Current costs are :
3 years plus- £7.50
0-11 months- free
saver ticket (5 people)-£32.00
If you live in West Yorkshire it is worth considering using a metro dayrover on the train and buses and checking the local papers for discount vouchers to make it a cheaper day out. Also if you have a Leeds card check for special rates.
The centre is open from 10-4pm daily and 10-5pm at the weekends. Queues do get long, especially in bad weather or holidays so it's good to get there nice and early if you can.
There is a restaurant which provides a range of hot and cold foods which are tasty but costly. You can take your own food and eat it outside in the gazebos situated in the grounds or in an old train with tables and chairs which is nice.
As you enter the centre your hand will be stamped enabling you to leave and return to the building as many times as you choose within one day. Currently the museum is separated into six zones but exhibits do change regularly. An old favourite is the town square where children can go shopping in marks and spencers and learn about where are food comes from and how a scanner works or go to the bank and take play money out of a cash machine, dress up and be a postmaster or work in the garage. Children also like to explore Gordon the garden gnome's global garden. Upstairs there is an early years room especially for the under fives too. The museum has been designed with children in mind including children sized toilets and sinks in the bathrooms.
The only downside is that the only exit is through the shop where many things are relatively expensive. It is however, easily a whole day's education and shows that learning about science and developing a child's knowledge and understanding of the world is really just child's play!
Eureka is without doubt the best children's museum we have found, and even better - it's three miles away from our home! Our children absolutely love Eureka and with everything at Eureka designed to inspire children to find out about themselves and the world around them, it is the perfect space for little ones. I went myself a few times through my childhood, and at the time I never felt that I was learning, but as an adult you can sense that every part of the museum is aimed at teaching your child something new. There are 100s of hands-on exhibits, all with fun and learning at the front of Eureka's mission.
Eureka is an award-winning attraction and educational charity for children, based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, which is open 10 - 4 p.m. every week day, and 10 - 5 p.m. at weekends and during half-terms and holidays. It was recently named one of the top three favourite family days out by The Independent. I like that Eureka runs events and activities throughout the year which you can join in, for example in the summer we went to an open air viewing of High School Musical, which we watched sat on the bonnet of our car! Upcoming events include National Hawking School, which is a display of some of the owls used in Harry Potter; Eureka School for Witches and Wizards; The Witching Hour which is a late night opening with spooky stories and games, and a pumpkin parade; The Christmas Fair selling unique toys, gifts and homemade crafts; Santa's Magical Toyshop where you can meet Santa in his grotto; and Noon Year's Eve Party with an alternative, day time celebration with baby-raving, music and dance.
Children age 3+: £7.50
Toddlers age 1-2: £2.50
Babies age 0-11 months: free
Saver Ticket (admits 5 people): £32.00
After 15:00 from Monday-Friday during term time, visitors are admitted at half price. Eureka! is a charity and these prices include a 10% donation. A good thing to consider if your thinking of planning a trip to Eureka, is they accept Tesco Clubcard 'Days Out' vouchers, enabling you to get in for free! We always take advantage of this, and as a family of four, save ourselves over £30.
The Eureka Car Park
This is my one and only gripe of Eureka, and that on top of the admission prices, you have to pay for parking, even though Eureka is not really in the centre of Halifax.
Up to 4 hours - £3.00
Between 4 and 12 hours - £5.00
More than 12 hours and overnight - £10.00
Eureka can get very busy at times, we normally arrive when the doors open on a weekend and have the run of the museum for a couple of hours, being ahead of everyone else who arrives later. I wouldn't recommend arriving after lunchtime. It normally gets busier in Autumn and Winter too due to the bad weather - bear this in mind when you plan your visit.
By Car: Leave the M62 at J24 for Halifax. Follow the A629 to the Town Centre looking out for the brown tourism signs. Follow these signs to the museum.
By train: Eureka! is located next to Halifax railway. Steps located to the left as you exit the station lead directly to Eureka.
Food at Eureka
The Eureka Cafe serves a selection of hot and cold meals and snacks every day from 10.00am to 4.30pm, however in my experience over the years I have found that the café is not always open. When we have eaten here, we haven't always been overly impressed. I would recommend either takig a picnic or if your budget permits, visit Pizza hut round the corner!
Birthday Parties at Eureka:
A Eureka birthday party gives children the chance to express themselves through play as they explore the museum's interactive galleries with their friends. The parties include all day in the museum, one free adult admission per child, party bag, dedicated member of staff, party food, activities and invites. As my children are aged three and one, we haven't yet experienced a childrens party at Eureka, but would definitely consider it as a venue when they are a little older.
With six galleries there is so much to keep your children entertained, and you never know, you might quite enjoy it too! I will explain below the different galleries and what you might expect to find in each of them.
Desert discovery is for the under 5s, giving them a little peace and quiet away from the bigger children, and a chance to explore. There is a storytime tent, where you can make your self comfortable around the fire pit (not real of course!) and tell a story, or dress up with the costumes in the tent or even put on a puppet show. Desert in the dark is a particular favourite of my children where you can put your hands in the feely holes and try and guess what's inside, or stroke the friendly coyote and he'll yap and howl back to you. Within desert discovery there is also cactus construction where your child can move rocks and boulders around with wheelbarrows and buckets and also construct towers. Boulder mountain lets your child understand how things can move along, as they transport the boulders in the bucket lift and watch them fall down the other side. The baby oasis is a safe and secure area designed especially for children who are not yet walking. It has a soft, padded interior, and seating for parents to explore the space with their baby, while they play among the peek-a-boo palm leaves, look in the mirrors and feel the different textured shapes.
The living and working together gallery was my favourite as a child and is now my children's favourite. It is the town square of Eureka, perfect for role play. Children can explore the world of work as they become cashiers, postal workers and mechanics or try out some everyday grown up tasks such as writing cheques, going shopping and making lunch. Within the square is the Bank, which is fairly new, where you can be the cashier and play with cheques, bank cards and even the cash machine. Your child can explore different bank notes from around the world, with a light board and magnifying glass, but no doubt they will head straight to the bank vault where they must not set off the alarms! Great fun! In the square there is a musical fountain, a story tree with hundreds of books available to read, and they can even play a game of hopscotch. The dig is an area within the square which replicates an area dug out by the gas company and you can go into the dig and see underground pipes, try out the metal detector and even take a look at some fossils underground. The square comes complete with a Police Box and more importantly a Marks & Spencer's (unfortunately not a real one!), where your child can play being a customer with a trolley or basket, being the cashier and using the scanner and till or even the play being the Manager and sending money up through the shoots. The square also has a garage where they can pretend to drive a lorry, wash a car, or even put on some overalls and change a tyre. The last role play area is the Post Office, where there are uniforms and bags to try on and parcels to deliver.
The next area within the museum is the house, complete with all the rooms you would expect to find, teaching them a little about each area within the home. They can flick switches to see how electricity works, use the dressing up box in the bedroom or go through the magical star lit wardrobe. In the bathroom they can look through the see through toilet and bath and watch the water go down the drains or play at the big water table. Out on the balcony they can also learn about different seasons and investigate the weather.
Next is the me and my body area where they can find out how much they weigh and even how much their bones weigh, measure their stretch, reach and stride, and look in the fairground mirrors at the strange reflections. There is also the giant mouth where they can learn all about teeth, although my one year old got a little scared by this! You can also see an x-ray of lungs, and listen to how people breathe different when they are doing different excercises. There is also an area about how life begins where they can see a scan of an unborn baby (this area is perfect if they are going to have a brother or sister, as it makes them understand a little more), feel a baby kicking in the womb, and listen to the sounds which an unborn baby hears. There is also a passport area where your child can take one and write what they have learnt, and add their passport details to the database of other visitor's facts about themselves.
Our global garden is the next area which helps children understand how different areas of the world look. Gordon Gnome introduces the children to their journey in short cartoons on the outside walls and hides in each of the seven gardens. The different gardens to explore are the town garden, jungle, ice, desert, ocean and country, each one showing what creatures live there, the noises you would expect to find, and in the relevant gardens the pollution that you would also find there.
The next gallery for some reason never seems to interest my children so we normally skip through it, I'm not sure if they are too young or why they don't like it, but I don't begin to understand how my children think! This area is all about sound, and has a space feel. You can make music in this area with drums, chimes, pipes and giant guitars.
The last area is the sound garden, and although it's not particularly for one age group only, I this is a perfect area for smaller children under the age of four. The sound garden is supposed to give the children the idea that they have been shrunk and because of this everything is giant sized. The leaf cradle within this area is perfect for non walking children with a soft, padded area where they can cuddle the friendly ladybird and feel her wriggle, play with the dew-drop xylophone and look at the butterfly flying above. There are flowers which play lullabies, and a tree trunk with animal dressing up things inside.
Hopefully, after all that I've kept you interested, but as a parent it is so hard to find different ways to keep little ones entertained so as a very satisfied customer of Eureka over the last 15 years I would recommend this to you all. My only advise is that to get out of the museum you have to walk through the shop, so try and avert their attention, or it will be costly!
For those of you who have just read this thinking it would be excellent for your children but you live no where near Halifax, but do live near London, you will be pleased to know that Eureka are hoping to open a new museum in London and a potential site has been identified in the new King's Cross development. I'm not sure when this will be opening.
Overall, I will be giving Eureka 5 stars (It would have been 4.5 due to the car parking cost and the shop on the way out), but I'll be generous and round up instead of down!
Thanks for reading.
Conveniently situated right next to Halifax train station so that those of us without a car don't have to drag the kids miles across town, Eureka is a fabulous place to spend an afternoon.
It's designed as a science museum but I've long since stopped pretending that my kids are learning anything there at all: it's a glorious collection of buttons to press & things to fit together & noise & levers & flashing lights, & that's fine by us.
Inside, Eureka is divided into different areas. The town square is popular: it features a mini supermarket where the kids can work the tills & scan the 'food' that they put in their trolleys. At the bank you can stamp banknotes, use the safes & try to get past the pressure pads & laserbeams protecting the vault. There are rainclouds that you control from the balcony & cause a downpour into the fountain. Then there's a lorry cab to sit in (a big hit) & a garage with a mock-up petrol pump & carwash, & a house with a big play kitchen, see-through flushing toilet & magic corridor.
One of the newest - & best - areas is the SoundSpace, with lots of hands-on high-tec experiments with noise & music, including touch-screen quizzes & mixing desk booths.
The 'Me & My Body' area is all about measuring & testing the body & its senses; there's plenty to do but it's starting to show its age a bit now & seems a bit clunky & dilapidated compared to the SoundSpace.
The Global Garden teaches about different world environments but there's too many information signs to read & not enough to do, & the exhibits are looking very tatty - time for a revamp, definitely.
There's a couple of really nice interactive spaces for under-fives & an art & craft room for them.
There's a cafe which I've never used but also a railway carriage outside where you can have a picnic, which my two love.
The shop is surprisingly small & has plenty of pocket-money souvenirs but not much else.
On the whole: a few sections that could do with some work to get them to the standard of the better exhibits, but still a great children's day out.
We recently visited Eureka for my daughter's second birthday and once again found it to be a terrific day out. The entry fee is reasonable and the attractions inside are suitable for all ages and as well as being entertaining, they are educational.
The place itself is easy to find as it is well signposted by road and it is situated right next to Halifax railway station. There is a huge pay and display car park where you can park for several hours for £2.50. It would be nice if this was refunded when you bought your entry tickets.
Once inside there are several aras to explore including a fully mocked up Marks and Spencers shop, a Halifax band and a play garage to put petrol in your car and change tyres etc. There is also a full size house with several floors which includes one of my sons favourite things, a fully operationalbathroom which showed you how a toilet, shower and spa bath works. The day we went the children could also make a Chinese New Year lantern and could get fortune cookies (a nice touch).
Other areas include a wildlife section and a whole area devoted to the human body. Overall there is loads to do to run the energy off your children.
Finally, we came to a new part of the exhibition (to us anyway). A robot called Scoot who could interact with the children. The beauty of it was that it was not pre-recorded but someone in a room somehwere using cameras and a microphone. My son thought this was wonderful as he could hold a proper conversation with the robot. This made his day and it is all he has gone on about since.
One bit of advice is to go on a school day if possible and once the school parties start to disappear at about 2.30 ish, you could quite easily getting the place largely to yourself.
Overall a great day out and our kids absolutely love the place. We would definitely be members if we lived a bit nearer. To save some extra money, use your Tesco vouchers for the entry tickets.
I joined Eureka last year whilst pregnant with my 2nd child and it was an absolute life saver! Somewhere for my energetic toddler to run around a learn things at the same time, whilst I could watch and enjoy. She's two now and finds something new to experience every time we go. Her favourite activity is the toddler-height touch-screen computer in the 'sound garden' where she can paint a butterfly and then watch it 'fly' onto the projection screen... she could spend hours there. And through the summer the huge outdoor sandpit was definitely a hit.
The best thing about Eureka is that they've obviously consulted with mums/dads and children at every level. There are separate areas for under-5s and baby areas within even these, and lots for older kids that we've not really been to yet.
Weekdays are the best time I'd say to visit as it's empty enough to be calm but busy enough to keep my little one occupied. The cafe menu can be a bit limited but there's a train carriage outside for picnics that my little one loves visiting... and they do take-out coffee for the grown ups :-)
What an amazing day out! I travelled from Leeds to Halifax to visit this magical place. It took me 40 mins and was clearly signposted. There was ample parking in the form of pay and display. For 5 hours it cost us £2.50 which wasn't too bad - though would have been better had it been free! It's also situated just opposite Halifax railway station so it's easily accessible.
The building itself looks very impressive with lots of colour and lots outside surrounding it. There are plenty of picnic tables, adventure playground, a marquee (though not sure if that was just up for a few weeks or whether it was a permanent feature).
I managed to get hold of a 2 for 1 voucher from the Walkers Brit trips promotion so that was a great saving when paying for the tickets. It's very baby friendly too with loads of places to leave the buggy whilst checking out the exhibits. The facilities are excellent. The café was closed for maintenance/renovation so that was a shame but the kiosk outside offered sandwiches, ice creams, crisps and drinks so we managed ok. The shop was impressive and I could have spent a fortune!
I went with my 20 month son, my friend and her 2 year old on a Monday mid June. It was packed with school kids and the place was buzzing!
There was so much to see and do. You can easily spend a full day here and not get bored. There are 2 areas specifically designed for the under 5's; Desert Discovery and the Sound Garden. The Desert area is great, the kids can dress up as construction workers, have story time, go into little caves, feel what's inside the holes and much, much more. The Sound Garden has loads to do too. You can play in the leaf cradle, feel the ladybird vibrate, pretend to water flowers, smell pretend flowers, spin the colourful flower, play with the painting programme on the computer where you colour in a butterfly onscreen and then let it fly away and watch it on the projector over head, tap the bamboo stems to make noise or music, wind the watch, dress up and so much more.
Other areas open to all ages include the little M&S where the kids can take a mini trolly and fill it with fruit, veg, milk, meat, cheese, fish, bread and then take it to the check out and scan it and pay for it. There are also other exhibits within the store that are well worth a look at. There is a little bank too, but we never had time to do that.
You have to check out the Cars! There are little cars that the kids can pretend to drive, fix, fill up with petrol, and a car wash. There was a huge kitchen that the kids could pretend to cook in, a bedroom to play in with a story corner and dolls house, a bathroom with a bath and shower that the kids could press buttons and operate and plenty more.
The "Me and my body section" was fabulous. If my son had been older he could have properly participated in the exhibits and filled out the information on a "body passport" questionnaire form. There was a large mouth that the kids could climb on with a wobbly tooth that the kids just loved. It was so informative. There was also a section on "babies" and as such my son went over to the doll and wanted to cuddle it and take it around with him. There were loads of things to feel and touch. He really was a bit young for this area but nevertheless he loved pressing the buttons and he did seem to learn a lot and was intrigued by it all.
The Global Garden was brilliant, as was the Soundspace area. I cannot possibly tell you about all the areas and exhibits but what I will say is that it's great value for money, very informative, excellent for kids and adults alike and really worth paying a visit.
I plan on taking my son every year as I feel the more we go and the older he gets, the more he will get out of it. It's a great day out for all the family and I really would recommend it to everyone. Check out their website too!
So it's Sunday morning, delawney and mr delawney are on holiday near Halifax (OK, not exactly hot and sunny, but a holiday, OK?) and are wondering what to do with themselves for the afternoon. On a whim, they decide to visit Eureka! the museum for children, since after all, they are just big kids themselves. So, off they venture into the netherworld (or Halifax, as it's known to the rest of us) to begin their exciting expedition. There's much twisting and turning through the labyrinth known as the "one way system" and following of those mysterious "brown signs" but eventually they arrive at a brightly coloured building which they anticipate will be filled with wonder. Before they can hop and skip along the yellow brick road, they must first park their strange hollow horse with round legs. Fortunately for them, the museum is conveniently located right by Halifax station, and for the small charge of £2 they can undertake the "pay and display" ritual. The ritual complete, they are free to seek their fortune at the end of that yellow brick road. *** OUTSIDE *** You walk from the car park under a railway bridge and onto the yellow brick road that leads right to the entrance. On either side of the path is a colourful selection of childrens play equipment - see-saws and the like. Indeed, the first thing that struck me as we approached the building was the onslaught of primary colours - even before you got inside. As it was peeing it down with rain I neglected to test the play equipment. I hope you will forgive me for being so lax just this once. *** ADMISSION *** You enter into a large lobby - like the museum as a whole this is easily accessible by baby buggies and the disabled. Admission is £5.50 (at the time of writing), but under three's get in free. With this in mind, we strolled up to the desk and asked for two under threes, but to
no avail. Indeed, as delawney and mr delawney were "unaccompanied adults" we had to sign in as "unaccompanied adults" and wear big badges stating that we were "unaccompanied adults" that we were not allowed to remove during our visit. We also had to sign out at the end. It's good to see an establishment like this putting measures in place to make things somewhat safer for children. All visitors get stamped with a funky picture of a cat before entering. Worth mentioning is the Archimedes Bath situated above the main entrance lobby. Every hour and every half hour Archimedes is plunged into his filled bath - demonstrating his whole bath thing and also the Archimedes Screw (no, that's not a rude cocktail but a cunning irrigation device). *** SO WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT THEN? *** So, once you've parted with your hard earned cash, what do you get for your money? Throughout the museum everything is easily accessible by small children, baby buggies and the disabled. There are stairs, but there is also a very large lift which doubles as an exhibit, as you can see all it's inner workings. Everything is brightly coloured and invites you to touch. Things make noise, produce images and lights, provide information and test the initiative. The emphasis throughout is on interactive learning. All the exhibits are aimed at the younger children, with the museum being described as "fun and learning for ages 3-12 (and adults!)". The museum is on two floors and is divided broadly into four main areas. I'll look at each in turn and just give a couple of examples of the kind of exhibits you can expect - well I wouldn't want to spoil it for you! * The World of Communication Here different methods of communication are explored, including the telephone, flag messaging and code, and also music. The music section is fantas
tic, with all sorts of different ways to create sound. You can step on the "Tone Stones", each one producing a different note. Alternatively, you can sit on some nice bouncy mushrooms, with each one operating a horn. A word of warning here - may cause embarrassment if sat on by adults, as they will sink straight to the bottom and no sound will follow (this was the source of considerable amusement to onlookers though). * Eureka's Town Square As the name suggests, this is a mock-up of a town square. Personally I was fascinated by the fountain - gradually cups fill with water, then as they empty they tip forward and sound a chime. I could have watched that for ages. There is a shop where kids can "work the till" and "do their shopping". Then they can hop along to the post office to collect and deliver the mail, before going home to discover how much electricity all the appliances are using. Also in the house they can explore the world of dreams (the tunnel is great - you'll see what I mean if you go), "cook a meal" and see how a toilet flushes. I was glad the lid was nailed down - I didn't like the though of some poor kid trying to "go" in an exhibit. * The Global Garden A bit of a misnomer really as there are actually six gardens - the Town Garden, the Jungle Garden (watch out for beasties hunting you), the Ocean Garden (get a fish-eye view), the Country Garden, the Ice Garden (build an igloo - cool) and the Desert Garden (beware the hot (well, lukewarm) rocks). There is also an Ideas Garden, where visitors can "plant" their own ideas for the museum. * Me and My Body Visitors are guided round this part of the museum by Scoot the Robot, who is interested in these creatures called human beings. Now, don't get too excited here - if you have ideas of being led about by a groovy robot think again - models of him just pop up no
w and again at different exhibits, but as robots go, he is kind of cool, even if he does bear an uncanny resemblance to the Smash aliens. Upon entrance to this section visitors can pick up a "passport" to be completed with various details as you explore and learn. First of all you get to play with funky ink stamps to indicate your current mood. I picked puzzled, which actually looked to me more like seriously p**sed off, but perhaps that's just me. As you go round you can try out the exhibits and fill in your wieght (scary), your height, the colour of your eyes, etc. Just to demonstrate that even grown ups (I use the term loosely) have stuff to learn, you also get to fill in whether or not you can smell freesias. I had no idea this was a genetic thing! *** THE CAFE *** This was absolutely packed as we were there at lunchtime, and we just weren't brave enough to test it. The menu all looked pretty fast-foody - shame they couldn't have had something a bit more healthy. It did appear you could get a reasonably substantial meal though - more than just a sandwich. *** THE GIFTSHOP *** All your usual promotional pencil sharpeners and rubbers here, but also a good selection of educational toys and books. Prices were not cheap, but did seem reasonable. *** OTHER STUFF *** Eureka hosts a number of events such as "Storytime Sundays" and Family Learning Weekends. All special events are free upon payment of the entrance fee. They have group visit packages, birthday parties and a membership scheme. It seems to have won numerous awards for its clean loos! *** THE VERDICT *** Bearing in mind that hubby and I were "unaccompanied adults" we did find we lost interest in things quite quickly and that it wasn't exactly a "learning experience" (except for the freesias thing!). However, we still had a gigg
le and it was certainly not a wasted trip. Based on our experience, I would give this three stars. However, that would be missing the point, as this is a museum for children. And for children it is absolutely fantastic. It is the exact opposite of your traditional stuffy museum full of priceless aincient artifacts shut off behind glass. Everything is brightly coloured and most of the exhibits are interactive - they invite play and interaction, even from so-called grown ups like us! It's been custom built and purposefully designed to be easily accessible by small children and parents with buggies. The whole museum is an extremely well thought out, valuable educational experience for pre-teenage children. They will have a marvellous time, and will learn a great deal into the bargain. I thoroughly recommend it as a place to take the kids. As an unaccompanied adult? Perhaps a little expensive for what you will get from it, but it is a giggle. People will look at you funny though - especially if you're too big for those mushrooms! *** INFO CORNER *** www.eureka.org.uk 24 hr information line: 07626 983191 Tel: 01422 330069 Fax: 01422 330275 Admission Prices (From Jan 2003): Adult or Child: £5.50 (£5.75) Under 3's: Free Family Saver Ticket: £25.00 (£27.50) Pre Booked Groups: £4.25 per head School Groups: from £3.50 per head Opening Times: Every day from 10 am to 5 pm except 24-26 December Location: 5 minutes walk from Halifax Town Centre (follow the brown signs) Next to Halifax Railway Station Parking: At Halifax Station. £2 pay and display on a Sunday. I don't know about charges during the week but wouldn't fancy your chances parking there anyway!
Eureka is situated in Halifax town centre rail station in West Yorkshire. Its easy to get to by car just leave the M62 at Exit 24 and follow the tourist signs to Eureka!. If you are coming by car don't be too shocked that you have to pay to park. As its right by the town centre and the train station people tend to use it other than to go to Eureka! It might seem unfair but the car park itself is well maintained, tidy and big. The train station is right next to Eureka! so even if you don't fancy a drive, the train journey will be exciting for the kids as well as the museum. Eureka! is a very special museum in the fact that its first interactive museum designed for children. Most of the activities are aimed at 3-12 years of age but this doesn't mean that very young children or adults wont enjoy it, because I'm certain they will. There is definitely plenty to see and do at Eureka!, and for a day out isn't badly priced either at 5.50 for single ticket ( adult or child) or 25 pound for a saver ticket which admits up to 5 people. Children under 3 years are free and you can get group bookings for schools with discounted rates and a membership( annual) which covers single or whole families. They even do a special offer from Mondays to Fridays inclusive (term time) which visitors are admitted ½ price after 3 pm. So if you live near by and need a afternoon out 2.75 sounds like a good deal to me. So why is Eureka! such a brilliant place to take any child. Children are encouraged to explore the world we live in but sometimes it isn't safe or there isn't time to give them the full information that they need. Eureka! gives them that safe environment and are actively encouraged to explore all the exhibits through touching, smelling as well as looking and listening. Children learn quicker and better when all their senses are used for learning and this is why since 1992 when Eureka! was opened more than 3 million people visit. <
br> There are 4 amazing galleries which will carry you and your children on a voyage of discovery and is split up onto 2 levels. On the ground level you can learn how to Invent, Create and Communicate in the world of Communications. You, or your child if they can get you to move from the hot spot could be a TV weather person and appear on live TV. Your family could be on the front of a newspaper or save a yacht using technology which they use in real life situations. You can learn about the wonderful world of telecommunications and practice being a switch board operator. You can also go into the market place where you can take money out of Barclays bank and go and do some shopping in Marks and Spencer's. Be careful though as the plastic fruit isn't very edible! Make sure that you pay those bills on time by popping into the post office and learn about the first ever stamp, the Penny Black, and read up on how your letters get delivered. If shopping and paying bills is all too much for your under five's give them a break for ½ hour in the small Jungle Jim's ( Ball pool), before heading off to the mechanics to find out how your car works. Leading around the back of the mechanics and going up the stairs is the wonderful world of home. Here your children can play in a lovely fitted kitchen, read in the bedrooms, and play water games in the bathroom. Each room has tasks which you can follow or you can just make the rules up as you go. Be warned the bathroom can get very wet. And watch the toilet !! There must be a magnetic attraction between children and water .....could it be its fun? Most of the second floor is taken up by How the body works ( Me and My Body and Things, (how everyday things work.) In Me and My Body you can find out how the body works and functions. You can measure your height, arm span or bone weight. You can even have a go at playing digestion pin ball or pedal an amazing skeleton bike. Its fascinating to see children's eyes light up at the mer sight of getting their hands into things. They can find out how day to day things work like pulleys and levers, computers and even have a go at assembling in a factory. On the upper floor there is also an under 5s activity area which they can have some quiet time and read, draw and colour or make a variety of things all depending on the activities on offer. hen we went on Saturday, Jess made a fire engine on a stick and a number book. We also came away with half their colouring paper too. Now after running quickly through that, you can see why you need a good 3 or 4 hours there if not the whole day, and there's more. If the weather is nice there is a host of out door activities that you can your child can go on. There are several trails or walks you can go on as well as a picnic area. There is a small cafe available but is reasonable. 85p for a cup of tea and 1.95 for a burger does seem expensive but it about going rate for these kinds of places. Its comfortable, clean, with a small play area and its nice to sit in and have a quick drink. The only disadvantage is that you can't bring your own food inside Eureka!, but are welcome to eat it at the picnic area. The gift shop on the other hand is very affordable and so it has to be with school children visiting. For Eureka! mofited stuff prices start at 99p for rubbers, plastic cups at 1.99 and nice pens for 2.99. Very affordable for children who want to take something back for the parents. The gift shop also do a small range of books to do with what's on offer at Eureka! and also a small section of toys. When we went we must of spent a good 4 hours there and had a really good afternoon. I live in South Yorkshire so it was 40 minutes drive for us, straight up the M1 and onto the M62 Interchange. Following the signs for Eureka was easy and that's saying something as Tim is as blind as a bat
with no sense of direction! Jessica, who is 3 ½ has been before really enjoyed herself, learned and took in quite a lot but slept very well that night. Lucy who is 16 months enjoyed pottering about and even had a go at being a TV presenter. I must admit she made a better job at it then me. If your bored on afternoon and the kids are driving you up the wall do what Archimedes did when he jumped into that bath and shout EUREKA! Go and you too will find out why this place is fantastic.
Eureka! was the first and I think still is the only museum in Britain, which was designed especially for children, aged between 3 and 12 years old (please correct me if I am wrong). It is a museum where there is no do not touch signs, nothing fragile and children are not patronised, it is a real hands on experience. It can be found in Halifax, West Yorkshire next to the town centre railway station. The museum aim is to encourage children to explore, smell and touch the exhibits as well as looking at exhibits and listening to descriptions of exhibits. It is a world were children are actively encouraged to let their imagination run wild and lead them on a journey of fun and discovery; adults who accompany the children are given the opportunity to rediscover the world of childhood imagination. The museum is split into four galleries on two floors for children and adults to explore together. Gallery One – Me and My Body In this gallery you will meet Scot the Robot who helps the children find out how their body works. You can measure your height, arm span, bone weight or anything else you want. Watch the children pedal on an amazing skeleton bike and play digestion pinball, join in if you feel brave enough. Gallery Two – Invent, Create, Communicate This is the gallery where children are encouraged to explore the world of communications. They can experiment with being a television weather presenter or newsreader, write an article and see what their work looks like on the front page of a newspaper,the can even save a boat in distress at sea by using a range of technological devices. In this gallery there is also a music room where everything you touch plays a different note and the sheer delight on small children’s faces is priceless. Gallery Three – Things Here you are encouraged to take a new look at every day objects and what they are made of. You are able to use gears and
levers to change the facial expressions of a giant mechanical head or try something like designing a bicycle on one of the computers then test your design in a race. Gallery Three – Living and Working Together This is a world where children take on everyday adult roles and get a feel of what it is like to be a grown up. They can try numerous adult activities from being a cashier in a large department store to withdrawing money from a cash point and filling a car with petrol or driving it through a working car wash. There are ranges of jobs to try from bank manager or postman to factory or shop worker. In this gallery there is a house and everything is scaled down to suit the children, there is a scaled down fully fitted, working kitchen, relaxing bedroom, lounge and dinning room, a bathroom with a see through toilet where everything works and a brilliant magic corridor of dreams. Tot Time Although the museum is designed for 3 to 12 year old children they do have activities for under 3’s, this is called Tot time and the under 3’s along with their parents and cares are encouraged to mix with their peers and learn new skills. Pre-school Children There are separate areas for children under 5 year old to explore. In this area the children can discover the delights and mysteries of jungle creatures, musical flowers and there is also a ball pool in the Jungle. There is a pre-school classroom type area where the children can take part in a range of craft activities. Outside there is a Hazard Dome where audio-visual presentations are given on safety in the home and a Health Trail where both you and the children can challenge your fitness and agility. The Eureka Museum has been designed to support the National Curriculum and it offers a unique opportunity to enhance the educational development of children without being obvious to children that they are in an educational environm
ent; the children I visited the museum with thought it a fun and exciting place to go. There is a café and gift shop in the museum and a picnic area for you to eat your own food; the picnic area is outside in the Eureka Park and there is a railway carriage, which is open for you to sit in and eat your packed lunch. The Eureka museum is accessible and suitable for all visitors, including those with disabilities and special needs. There is a full range of multi-sensory exhibits for those with visual or hearing impairments. Admission to the museum is £5.50 whether you are an adult or child (under 3’s are free) but you can buy a saver ticket for £25, which admits 5 people and groups of 10 or more pay £4 per person; it is open between 10.00am and 5.00pm. I visited the museum with a minibus full of 9 and 10 year olds who attended the Educational Playscheme I worked at during the summer holidays, we made the two hour journey from Tyneside and the youngsters thought it was brilliant, they had a great day out and we spent well nearly three hours inside the museum and over two hours in the grounds. There is a pay and display car park right next to Eureka! and the address of the museum is Eureka!, Discovery Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire. If you are ever in the area with children it really is a great day out and somewhere to go if the weather is bad.
Didn't know where to put this, but its a children's day out so it can go here! I took my little boy to Eureka! in Halifax for his 3rd birthday on 31/07. Eureka! is a children's museum, the exhibits are all things that children come across in their daily lives, how the toilet works, the body, music, cars and engines etc, etc,etc,etc,etc. All the exhibits are completely hands on, nothing patronising or fragile, no where that they can't go. The first floor is more for the younger children really, I would say up to about 8 yrs old. With the music room where they can sit and bounce on stools that honk as they move, theres also a small 'Jungle ' play area for toddlers to let off steam. There is a mock up of Marks and Spencer where they can don a midget uniform and weigh fruit, work on the checkout etc. There's a Post Office, they can work behind the counter, or wear a postperson's uniform and deliver letters to different places in Eureka! then there is the 'house', In the bathroom you can see how a toilet works, theres a better equiped pretend kitchen than I have at home and a relaxing bedroom. My little boy adored the Garage area, where they can sit in the cab of a lorry, drive a car thro'a pretend carwash......the list of things to do is endless! Upstairs is really for older children, its more scientific, bit cramped and overwhelming for a toddler (and his mum!). The only thing that I felt could be improved was the cafe. It seemed to be an after thought. The seating area is cramped and badly designed with uncomfortable seating and no room allowed between the seating arrangements for pushchairs to move, but there was fresh fruit on the dessert menu!