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The Science Museum in London is in Exhibition Road, South Kensington. Near to the V & A Museum and the National History Museum. The nearest Underground station is a rather long walk in a tunnel - but it is well signed posted. So that was ok.
The first thing I noticed when trying to decide which museum to visit was the massive log queue outside the National History Museum. The helpful staff there said the queue for the National History Museum was at least 2 hours (this was mid day)... There was no queue for the V & A and Science Museum.
So I decided to spend the day at the Science Museum.
Entry to the London Science Museum is free and it is open from 10.00-18.00 every day.
There is a shop - with books and loads of science based toys. Plus a cafe which is very busy and fairly expensive - but I perhaps should have expected that in London. There is other a 3D Cinema - with some great shows.
There are at least six and half floors to this Museum, packed full of great science things. Everything is well signed posted and there are things that will keep children happy as well.
I must admit to spending 3 hours on the ground floor and only popped up to the others just before had to go.
On the ground way there were some amazing things to see.
"The Rocket" steam engine was amazing to stand and just look at. Next to this was an even older steam engine Puffing Billy built in 1814 - 200 years ago.
The space exhibition was equally super with the real Apollo 10 Command Module, a small bit of the Skylab space station. A full life module of the Apollo Lunar Module and so so. I found the scale modules of many space craft good to see as was a real German V2 rocket.
The upper floors were just as good packed with old computers, mobile phone, full sized air craft, ship modules and so on.
The London Science Museum is great place for adults and children.
I am a big fan of museums in general but particularly those that deal with either science, technology or warfare. I have a local science museum only 1 hour from where I live but its rather small and overshadowed in comparison to this beast of a place.
Earlier this year me and my mum travelled to London for a few days to see the sights, we saw Kensington
Palace, Westminster, The London Bridge, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace where we saw the Guards parade and the Diana Memorial fountain. My mum even got to see the queen! Myself being a moderate republican politely declined the chance!
My "turn" of seeing things was to go here, twice in fact. There is just so much to do that you could spend every day for a week visiting it from sunrise to dusk and you still would barely scratch the surface of all this wonderful building had to offer. I was overwhelmed by the number and size of floors when I first saw it from the inside.
The first day I was there I spent a few hours learning about James Watt, and considering most Scottish Celebrities such as Rabbie burns or Haggis are fairly naff this was actually a surprising insight into a genuine intellectual and practical titan.
Not only was he a pioneer of the first steam engine's used to produce motion but he was also an excellent physicist, chemist, craftsman, instrument designer and businessman. The fact he was so proficient in so many challenging disciplines is actually mind boggling.
I am not one for admiring people but he definitely is one to admire. Beyond being captivated by his brilliance I also learned on the second day about new schemes that are being employed to try to save water, our most precious natural resource.
I learnt about the decoders used in the first world war and the early internet as well as learning about the properties of various materials and many interesting titbits of information I have now forgotten.
I was left frustrated that I couldn't read more about the telecommunications room nor see any of the maths room. Ultimately it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and as the only payment is via donation and for the 3D shows it was also an experience that was great value for money with both of us donating a tenner.
There really are few negatives to say however one criticism would be that the explanations for the Steam engines beyond the second one become too hard to follow and latter on they give up trying to explain the science behind them all together.
It has definitely reminded me about how much our society owes to the pioneers of Chemistry, Architecture, Agriculture, Telecommunications, Sound engineers, Locomotion, Aviation, Mathematics etc without which our society would not enjoy the things we do today and life expectancies and experiences would be very much more limited and diminished compared to what they are today.
Science along with genuinely socially responsible companies can help to improve the lot of all people including the very poorest. A vist to this place is something I would thoroughly recommend though don't expect to read everything in one day!
I was really looking forward to the Science Museum as, from videos i had seen and things i had read on the internet, it looked like a really fun, interesting, stimulating place to be. It turned out to be the opposite - not interactive at all, not stimulating and quite frankly a little dull. Two of us went, aged 26 and 20, and were not stimulated by the museum at all; im interested in science but i dont know that much about it so its not like i already know everything - it just wasnt interesting. The part i was looking forward to the most - the "Wellcome Wing" (dont know why its spelt with two L's) was closed as it was going through renovation, so, perhaps this played a large part. I remember being downstairs and spending around 10-15 minutes reading and going along a large exhibition on the evolution of hoovers, ovens and fridges. Fantastic(!)
I would say that it is VERY child focused, so, if you have children then this will be a very good place for you to go. However, unless your spending most of your time in the 'Wellcome Wing', those without children might find this museum as interesting as learning about the evolution of vacuum cleaners!
The Science Museum in London can be found in Exhibition Road, South Kensington. It's a fair walk from the tube station, but if you follow the signs through the underpass and remember to take the correct exit, it's much more straight forward.
Entry to the Science Museum is free and they are open from 10.00-18.00 every day. From the outside it looks nothing special, just another grey stone building, which appart from the Science Museum flags, would blend in anonymously with all the other bulidng in the street. Once inside the museum you will appreciate the vastness of the building and the stark change from Old Victorian (or possibly earlier, I don't know) to Hi-tech modern. Everything is white and airy.
There are six and half floors to the Science Museum which stretch back and back, appearing to go on forever. In the Basement is the Garden, an interactive play area for the under 6s. This is great as they get little waterproof aprons to wear and get to run around exploring all sort of sciencey things. My favourite is the hanging fiber-optic light cables.
On the Ground floor you can explore the development of travel through the last 100 years, and this includes seeing Stephenson's Rocket, and some Space vehicles that look like they were made in a Blue Peter studio. On other floors there are exhibitions on Time, Flight, Telecommunications, Ships and Medicine, to name but a few. One of my favourites is the Medicine gallery on the floor five, which is the top floor and the one I have counted as a half, because its really quite small. The exhibition takes you through the history of medicine development and is really quite gorey in places.
The other big hands on gallery for kids is Launch Pad on floor three. It is aimed at children 8-14 years old. This is very often booked out to schools during the week, but is open to the public as well. It has over 50 hands on things for them to do including a shadow room, investigations into building (towers, brigdes, overhangs), sailing using the power of the wind, electricity and water powered rockets. Kids love it, the hard part is getting them out again.
Most of the exhibits in the museum are the same from year to year, but a few are changed on a regular basis. I had fun in the Dan Dare Exhibition recently, looking at things like old black and white TVs, twin-tub washing machines, record players and other such things that I remember, but the children I was with thought were ancient and in some cases barely recognisable.
If you are going to pay a visit to the museum, you need to allow at least a day to do it justice. Plus, although its free, you might want to stock up on money to spend in the shop on the ground floor. Its ace.
I've been to the Science Museum, London, more times than I can remember throughout my life. Some of the exhibits in the Biology section that made me giggle in the 80's as a child, are still there in all their glory as I discovered on my most recent visit this week. That's not to say that the Museum is rooted in the past - it's not at all, it is a modern, vibrant place that is growing and expanding all the time; two new areas of the museum are due to open in June 2010. In the meantime, in my opinion, any visitor to the museum, old or young, whether on their first visit or not, is bound to find something to interest and inform them and sure to leave the museum having learned something new and having been entertained.
The museum is free for all these days, with charges only applying for the Imax and simulator rides. It is open every day, (bar Dec 24-26) from 10-6 and is an easy walk from South Kensington Station. On busy days you may have to wait a while to access the entrance, due to the mandatory security bag checks at the entrance, but once you are inside even large numbers of visitors are soon dissipated into the large public areas. The most impressive of these is probably on the ground floor where, as well as being able to actually see "The Rocket", the first steam train, there are cars, rockets and aeroplanes aplenty.
A good place to head to get hands on with science is the Launch Pad, which has been open since the 80's and had a re-vamp in 2007. This is full of interactive exhibits, from light circuits to make, and magnets to interact with. On our visit we watched the "Flash Bang Whallop!" show, which was about explosions and was engagingly presented by one of the museums orange t-shirt dressed "Explainers" - these staff are dotted throughout the museum and always happy to explain an exhibit to you or help you find your way around. The show lasted 20 minutes and was great fun, as well as being informative and a little loud - on previous visits we enjoyed the talk on "Bubbles", this is always an area of the museum that has a real buzz to it.
For younger visitors, the Garden is a must-see - located in the basement, this is an area where children can play with water and boats, play with puppets and even manage their own mini-building site. I have found on various visits that this area does tend to attract quite boisterous children with very hands off parents (to be polite), so if you are going to go to this area I would advise going there early if you can and keeping an eye on your child at all times. Outside this area there is also space for pic-nics, and a small cafe, this does get quite busy too but is an excellent place to stop and refuel as you continue your visit.
There is almost too much to see in one visit, in a good way. Currently there is a very interesting exhibition called "1001 inventions" all about the inventions that have transformed our lives from the Muslim world - I thought this was fascinating and informative and worth a visit in its own right, the museum's website will have details on special exhibitions which do change fairly frequently.
The exhibition on "materials" is also a very interesting area, and we also enjoyed finding out about the history of plastics, which was far more fascinating that in sounds! The museum is a good balance of modern "push a button" and computer aided exhibits, without being too dumbed down at all, from Health Matters via Computers and Mathematics, lots of different areas of science are covered magnificently and in a really original way.
Facility wise, there is a restaurant and cafe in the museum, though the museum do state you can eat your own food in any non-carpeted area. The food and drinks we saw were fairly expensively priced, but seemed of good quality - it is good to see that the museum is moving to being sustainable and all the cutlery was wooden and not plastic, the museum is apparently aiming to cut carbon emissions by 10 percent this year too.
Shopping at the museum is great fun I have to say, there are many items to tempt both young and old. The Science Museum produce their own line of toys and learning tools which are to be found on the High Street in WH Smith and the like and which are stocked here too. You will also find a wide variety of other fun items too - on this trip we acquired a flashing dice and some magnetic lady birds, but if you are on the look out for an eco-friendly torch or a gift which is a bit different, this is the place to come.
There are ample toilets situated around the museum, and also an accessibility map available on the website and at the entrance which will give you more details on access for buggies and wheelchairs as well as information on braille and BSL tours. It does strike me that there is very little for non-English speaking visitors around the museum, but this didn't seem to worry the French visitors I heard in the lift loudly exclaiming "Mais c'est si bien fait! Et si typiquement British!" ("so well done" and, well you can work out the rest!), which I thought about summed it up.
I have to say that I have yet to tire of this museum ever, even on the most fraught of visits during peak times - once I was memorably stuck in between two mums in a lift who were trying to hit each other due, I assume to the stress of there being so many people visiting that day. I like to visit regularly, this having been drilled into me when I was younger (I think as my dad was secretly proud that he went to school with the then Director, Sir Neil Cossons, with whom he kept up contact all his life), and even when I was a teenager who could roll my eyes dramatically at the mere mention of a family day out I always loved coming to the Science museum. I'm hoping my children will feel the same, they certainly have enjoyed their visits so far, the day when the youngest found herself being encased in a huge bubble by one of the explainers was particularly memorable!
If you haven't been for a while, I would urge you to go back and have a look, and if you haven't been at all, then if you are in the area do visit, you will be glad that you did, it's free, fun and you might just find that you learn something really interesting! On my last visit I learned how to make flour explode (not to be tried at home), and a few days later I realised that my six year old must have been quietly absorbing some information too when she suddenly produced a mass of string, beads all stuck to a stick and announced she had made an abacus like the one at the museum and asked would I like to see her count in twos. Clearly she had found the visit more enlightening than I had realised! All museums should be like the Science Museum - it's a must-see!
Science museum (London)- An indulging must see attraction
I used to love science when I was in school. Although I wanted to visit this one quite a few times but it was only last weekend that I could manage to be there. This is an eternal classic collection.
The best part is the reach ability as it is located in central London ( South Kensington) which is easily accessible from any parts. Please make no presupposition that it is only to amaze kids as I find so many informative pieces that I was really baffled. I would suggest you take a map while you enter (of course free entry).
The ground floor sets the tone for the entire museum with plethora of amazing jet engines, steam engines, locomotives, models of planes, cars and trucks dated way back. I also find the years engraved on the floor which suggests the innovation and the evolution science has made in each of the periods and it was quite remarkable to gauze deep on our progress. I liked the energy hall and exploring space as they were really striking and generating interest.
The basement is themed around garden and typically centred for kids.i did not spend much time there as I was interested to explore others.
The first floor is centred on materials evolution and I find it average although there were lot of interactive sound and light effect to keep the attention. I started heading up the floors and was really startled with collection of computing, communicating and medical themes. Each one of them is intriguing and calls for attention. The explanations are quite easy to understand and are highlighted wonderfully. I was very impressed with the mindboggling computing devices collection and ancient medical exhibits which were really good.
The shopping area is quite good and is very well laid out to accommodate various gadgets, posters, wall hangers and collection of books. I find the prices quite reasonable and did purchase couple of science fiction books for my niece.
By this time I was quite tired and thought of moving on to superb IMAX 3D cinema. I find it just superb. I went for a dinosaurs show and believe me I really felt them alive. The ticket price at £8.00 per adult was reasonable keeping in view of the quality. I would also recommend FORCE FIELD because it is very unique experience of watching motion effects simulation of Appllo mission and the animation is really great. The ticket is priced at £5 but if you take a combined package it would be around £11 (A better bargain!!)
I was feeling very hungry at the end of my day out and thought of having some food and headed off to family restaurant located on the ground floor .It was not a very happy hunting for me at the end as I find average taste pizzas in quite expensive range.
Overall what I had achieved ? A wonderful day out!!
The Science museum is in South Kensington, (nearest tube South Ken on the Picadilly line). It is free to enter and you can easily spend a whole afternoon here. I went in August during school holidays (without kids) and it was busy but bearable.
There is so much to see and do here , for both adults and children.
The Space section is one of the main sections and is very interesting however having visited the Science museum on a school trip when I was 8 I can safely say that some of the displays have not moved , changed or been refurbished in the last 23 years! Some of the space rockets really do look tacky - they are only models anyway but aged 8 I thought they were amazing whereas now since they really don't look like they have been kept in very good condition it really looks like some of them are made from empty toilet rolls and a load of tinfoil! That said kids will love it and there is lots of information and different displays on life in space. I realise that a museum will not update its displays very often but some of the space section is looking a bit dated thats all.
The flight gallery contains jet engines, other engines and models of planes.
Although the museum is free to get into there are lots of extras that you can pay for - when we went in August there was a Wallace and Grommit exhibition which was another £7 or £8 each to get in I think - it looked good but we didn't bother with it. These special exhibitions change quite often. There is also an IMAX 3D cinema with different films showing throughout the day and I think that is about £8 each too.
Other exhibitions are free and there was an F1 exhibition showing how F1 technology had assisted other areas of technology including medical technology which was really interested. There was a video from a team of surgeons at a hospital who had studied and visited a pit crew from an F1 team to learn about team work and how to work quickly without getting in each others way basically!
There are hands on displays throughout for kids and adults and also the Launch Pad section where it is really interactive and you can take part in mini experiments at different displays such as freezing water and looking at the patterns of the ice through a magnifying glass, and lots more. Unfortunately quite a lot of these were broken or being updated. This was a shame since as it was school holidays it was very busy with kids so a shame that many things were not working.
We easily spent 4 hours in the Science museum. My favourite part has always been the display of technology and everyday items over the years - it goes right up to the 1990's now and so contains items that I remember as being the latest technology which look so dated now - they even have a gameboy in the display and some early computers.
All in all a very interesting day out and cheap too since entry is free just need your tube or bus fare, plus there is an inside picnic area with benches to eat your own food so you don't have to spend in the cafe. The area wasn't particularly clean but it was ok and not too busy.
The Science Museum is located in close proximity to the V&A Museum and the Natural History Museum. Access is direct from South Kensington tube station via an underground pathway, so you and the family are safe from traffic. On entering the museum, you see enormous steam engines, which is quite exciting for any child or engineer. There are notes and animated displays to explain how everything works. I understand that on Mondays and Wednesdays, at midday, the steam generator is switched on and the gigantic flywheel begins to turn. Being steam, it's quiet but impressive. The exhibitions cover a wide variety of scientific inventions, from handmade measuring instruments, to cars, aeroplanes and rockets. There is an interactive area for children to play, touch and feel things and have a right good time. The upstairs sections do not appear to be connected. I had to go back down to the ground floor, walk to the next set of lifts and go back up again. There are food and drink areas and places to sit as you will get tired. There are also some simulators and an iMax theatre which looked very popular when I passed them. I would recommend grabbing a free guidebook on your way in and visiting your favourites first.
After delaying for many weeks, due to train strikes in my area and other things, I finally got to visit the London Science Museum yesterday. I have vague memories of going there as a child for a school trip but couldn't really remember any details, and I'm sure it had changed a lot anyhow.
The best thing about the museum is its price, or lack of one, it's completely free to visit and look round, but there's plenty of donation boxes dotted around for those of you who can afford to give a little back, and its definitely worth giving a contribution for. As well as the museum itself there is the Wallace & Gromit exhibition and IMAX 3D Cinema, both of which you have to pay for and neither of them I visited.
According to the Science Museum website the special Wallace & Gromit exhibition takes about 60 addition minutes to view and is open until Sunday 1st November 2009. This "inspirational and sensory journey of discovery" is free for members of the museum but for everyone else costs the following;
Family (1 Adult, 2 Children): £21.00
Family (2 Adults, 2 Children): £30.00
The IMAX cinema shows a variety of different 3D films throughout the day including, Deep Sea 3D, Sea Monsters 3D, Sharks 3D, Bugs! 3D, Dinosaurs Alive! 3D, Fly Me to the Moon 3D, Forces of Nature 2D, The Human Body 2D and Space Station 3D. Tickets can either be purchased on the day at the museum or in advance by calling the IMAX hotline on 0870 870 4771 (booking fee applies). The prices are as follows;
Family (1 Adult, 2 Children): £18.50
Family (2 Adults, 2 Children): £25.50
Also the Science Museum offer a combined ticket with both Wallace & Gromit and IMAX 3D for the saver price of;
Family (1 Adult, 2 Children): £33.00
Family (2 Adults, 2 Children): £45.00
Now that's the prices out the way I can tell you a little more about the museum itself, starting with how to get there. By far the easiest way to arrive is by public transport, local parking is extremely limited and if you know London you will know that it's really not the best place to be bringing a car to. I got the train into London Liverpool St station and then caught the underground direct to the museum. If you're doing the same you need to get on the circle line (Yellow) to South Kensington station, the journey took about 25 minutes with no changes so it was all very simple. Alternately South Kensington can be reached from the District (Green) and Piccadilly (Purple) lines as well, for those of you who get into London at other stations. As a general warning the London Underground was extremely busy yesterday mainly due to summer holiday tourists, and because of the hot weather the trains and tunnels where very very humid. If you have children the journey might be a little uncomfortable for them, but its quick and by far the best way to get there. While I'm on the subject of trains I'd just like to point out that National Rail have lifted the restrictions of the hours you can travel, in regards to peak and off-peak, due to the school holidays. I wasn't aware of this until we purchased our tickets, but it was really good news and we were much more free to come back home in our own time because of this.
I do not know London busses that well but that is another option for getting there, and according to the Science Museum website the routes which stop outside South Kensington Station are; 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1, hope that helps. There is a subway which runs from the station to the museum entrance which takes about 5 minutes to walk down, this is brilliant as it avoids you crossing roads and gets you literally straight from the train to the door, great if you have kids.
The Science Museum is open from 10am to 6pm every day of the year except 24th, 25th and 26th December. When I arrived at the entrance there was a fairly long queue formed along the road but I was relieved to see that it was moving forward pretty quickly. I don't know if this is just due to the school holidays or if it's always busy, but be prepared for a short wait. As I got inside the building I noticed what the holdup was, bag checks by security, which I thought they might be doing. The security staff where polite and treated your possessions with respect, which was nice to see and we where soon ushered into museums large first room.
The museum is laid out on 7 different floors, including the ground and basement, with each one focusing on a different theme and subject matter. I'll go through each one individually and talk about the kind of things they have on display.
The basement is separated into two different sections, the first accessible by the exit doors takes you down to the toilets and cloakroom facilities. Whilst the other offers interactive learning galleries for young children, namely "The Garden", "Things" and "The Secret Life of the Home". I didn't see much of these as I wasn't visiting with any children but they seemed to be extremely popular, like most areas of the museum.
Next is the ground floor where you enter onto. It is home to exhibits regarding space, industrial development and the making of the modern world. The rooms are literally crammed full of things to look at and read about and it's difficult to list them all but the ground floor houses the following. Robert Stephenson's Rocket locomotive, the Apollo 10 command modules, a Burnley Ironworks mill engine, Francis Thompson's Atmospheric Engine, and various cars, planes and space rockets. This is where the majority of the larger items are and offers the most to look at in the museum.
The first floor deals with the subject of 'Who am I?' and looks at things such as DNA, etc. There are lots of things to read, interactive quizzes to answer and things to be hands on with here. Unfortunately I noticed quite a large amount of the interactive screens where out of service. I'm guessing this was due to the amount of visitors they get and the fact things just get broken with use.
As we went up to the 2nd floor we noticed that it was closed for renovations so we were forced to skip it and go up to the third. Here there was a mass of children huddled over interactive tables, playing some kind of game which they all appeared to be loving. I didn't have a go but it seems like good fun for the younger visitors. You also got a good view of the balcony of the rest of the museum below you.
The 4th and 5th floors are smaller and deal with medical history and the science and art of medicine respectively. Displaying ancient medical examples such as a 17th century Chinese Acupuncture figure.
Amateur photography is allowed throughout, except on a couple of items with no photography signs by them, but tripods are not allowed. There are also lifts to every level so you can avoid the stairs completely, making it suitable for wheelchair and disabled citizens. The museum allows you to eat and drink your own food within any uncarpeted areas of the museum which was good, and also offers its own facilities in the form of the "Deep Blue" restaurant and "Revolution Cafe", both situated on the ground floor. All kinds of food is available, from sandwiches, salads and soups, to pizzas, pastas and other hot meals.
I was surprised to see a Waterstone's bookshop located on the ground floor selling a wide range of your usual book examples, but the Science Museum also has its own store. I found it very busy and hard to look round thoroughly, with staff demonstrating all kinds of products. If you like gadgets and weird and wonderful inventions you would love it, there are all kinds of crazy things. It was a nice touch to see some of them being demonstrated as well, as sometimes you're not sure if what you've purchased is actually going to work that well. For anyone interested they also have an online store which you can browse through, www.sciencemuseumstore.com.
All in all there really isn't much you can complain about, for a free day out its fantastic. It was extremely busy and there was lots of children running about and having fun, but you wouldn't have wanted it any other way. The Science Museum is a place kids can learn and enjoy themselves at the same time, but also caters really well for adults. There's something for everyone. You could spend all day there reading every little bit if you wanted or have a quick spin round, it's up to you. Getting to London can be very expensive especially if you have a family, so you need to think about that, but if you're in the capital it's a wonderful place to come visit. Highly recommended.
For more information visit the Science Museum website on;
The Science Museum is situated on Exhibition Road, London close to the South Kensington Tube Station. You can reach the museum by following the subway from the tube station which brings you up just next to the entrance to the museum.
The museum has over 300,000 items and is spread out over 7 floors although some floors are much larger than others. When we visited in January 2009 several of the exhibition areas were closed for refurbishment so if you want to visit a particular exhibit it might be worth checking ahead that it is actually open.
The museum is open 7 days a week and is only closed from the 24th to 26th December. The museum opens daily from 10am to 6pm. Children under the age of 13 must be supervised by an adult.
You enter the museum on the ground floor, entrance to the museum is free but there are opportunities to leave a donation towards the running of the museum. However although the museum is free there are special exhibitions and the IMAX cinema which you have to pay to enter and tickets for both of these can be bought at the desks in the museum. The IMAX 3D cinema in the museum boasts a screen taller than 4 double decker buses. It shows films and documentaries based around space, nature and science. When we visited the museum the exhibition on was "Japan Car: Designs for the Crowded Globe." Although my husband is keen on cars he wasn't too excited about seeing Japanese cars and felt that paying £8 each to look at them was a little too much so we didn't go. It does suggest that the exhibit takes an hour to look round so it must be fairly big. There are also various simulators around the museum which you have to pay for as well if you want to try them.
The first big exhibit is Exploring Space which is a really interesting exhibit detailing space exploration. There are lots of rockets and satellites and also some interesting details about what life is like up in space. I found it very interesting (and perhaps a little disgusting) how they manage to go to the toilet in space and they have some examples of the space nappies they used to use!
The next exhibit is called Making the Modern World and has an amazing collection of various things which shows our achievements in technology. Included in this collection are things like Stephenson's Rockets, airplanes and cars. There are also some reminders of our less successful inventions and there was a display including Thaladomide tablets and a reminder of the terrible damage they did.
This display then leads onto The Wellcome Wing which is where the IMAX cinema is located. There was also an exhibit on Genetically Modified food but we didn't have time to go round that.
The Flight gallery is another very impressive gallery up on the third floor it has been designed to look like an aircraft hanger. Along with various planes and engines what I found very interesting was a cross-section of a Boeing 747 showing the various levels of the seats and the luggage compartments underneath and also the relative thinness of the walls. It was quite impressive to see. To view things better there is a raised walkway to allow you to get a better view. There was also a display about mans attempts to fly too.
One of the features we didn't view but which I believe is very popular and certainly seemed to have lots of school kids heading into is the Launchpad which has over 50 interactive exhibits. There are also lots of experiments and shows to keep the children entertained and to excite their interest in science.
The fourth floor houses "Glimpses of Medical History" and "Psychology: Mind Your Head." This was quite an interesting floor and when we visited we were the only 2 people on the whole floor! There is a mixture of things to see like a few pickled brains! Then there is lots of hands on interactive computers that ask you questions which you have to answer then tell you how brainy or not you are. My husband and I spent a while seeing who was best!
The fifth floor consists of "The Science and the Art of Medicine" and "Veterinary History" sadly we didn't have time to visit this floor so its one to save for another visit.
There was only one downside of this museum for me and that was several parts of the museum were closed for refurbishment. Although I can competely understand the need for this it made the museum quite hard to get around. Some of the lifts only go up to certain floors and some staircases where closed so it was a bit difficult getting access to some of the floors.
The facilities in the museum were also very good. There are toilets and baby changing facilities on each floor. If you are looking for somewhere to eat you can bring your own packed lunch and eat it in the picnic areas. There is also the Eat Drink Shop which serves hot and cold snacks, the Deep Blue Café which is a waiter-service restaurant or the Revolution Café which is a self-service café.
We went to the Revolution Café where there was a good selection of filled rolls and sandwiches and a choice of hot meals too. We had some very nice baked potatoes with cheese and coleslaw. I can also thoroughly recommend the chocolate brownies which were big enough to share between two of us and were very tasty. The baked potatoes were £5.95 and came with a helping of cheese, coleslaw and baked beans although we omitted the baked beans. The brownie was £1.80 and as I say was a big enough size for 2 to share. We had water to drink which was £1.25 a bottle. I felt the prices were fairly reasonable for a hot filling lunch in a London museum. The café was a mixture of small tables for 2 people and larger tables with benches. There were highchairs available for babies. We visited on a weekday in January and the café was fairly busy but still plenty of seating, I can imagine that on weekends or holidays it would be very busy.
There is also a large gift shop with a wide range of gifts. There are your usual pens, key rings and little pocket money gifts for children. There is also a wide range of the Science Museums own gifts with things to make, experiments to do or things to play with. We bought an IQ test for our dog (which I look forward to trying out with him!) and a souvenir pen.
I thought the Science Museum was a really interesting place to visit. We spent a couple of hours here but could have spent much longer as we didn't manage to get round all the exhibits. There is plenty here to keep all ages interested. The food was also very nice! We visited on a weekday in January and it was really fairly quiet although I imagine on weekends and during school holidays it will be packed. It is also situated next to both the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum so you can make a whole day of it if you have the energy.
On the downside it is a bit hard to find your way around all the exhibits but this should improve once all the floors are reopened. It is a great place to visit if you are in London and especially on a rainy day there is enough to keep you occupied. I enjoyed my visit and would go back again to have a further look round and see the exhibits I missed. If you thought Science was boring you should visit this museum as it will change your mind.
We decided to have a post New Year trip to the science museum recently as we hadn't been for a couple of years and thought we would catch up. We only had an afternoon to spare - as we had visted Ripleys in the morning. As the museum is free now we thought this would be a good way to balance up the cost of the morning.
We hadn't had time to sort any lunch out before leaving home and thought that the museum would provide a reasonable cafe where we could grab an sandwich or some snack - Oh how we were wrong there.
The deep Blue Cafe was waiter service and not really what we were looking for so we opted for the Revolution Cafe - whilst we didn't get there until 1:45 there was a huge queue even at this time and we didn't even get to the service point until after 2:00. We were then in for an even bigger surprise - the cost of the meals - sausage and chips at £8 and a small baked potato and cheese at £6.50. The childrens meals weren't much cheaper at £5.50 (but only for under 11's). We opted for sanwiches which were slightly better at the £4 mark but only for ordinary tuna and sweetcorn
the more adventurous varieties were nearer £5 & £6. Anyway after refuelling we set about visting the museum.
As we always seem to go from bottom to top and run out of time we thought we would start at the top and work our way down. The top two floors cover Veterinary history, science and the art of medicine. We found that these exhibitions could do with a revamp they were really bitty and difficult to follow. The timelines didn't flow and one minute you would be looking at ancient Greece and the next victorian England. It was also incredibly hot so we didn't really give it the attention we should have.
The day was saved as ever by Launchpad which is just great hands-on time for the kids. It does get busy but its well worth waiting for - you learn lots of things without even realising it.
There are lots of ever chnaging exhibitions - some which charge and some which don't so there will always be something new to see when you go.
Well the good old British weather managed to make a significant dent into my half term break plans, the planned trip to Drayton Manor Park was postponed until the summer, both horse riding days were wet and the picnic rug remained rolled up and dry under the stairs, so in desperation we ventured off to London for some indoor stimulation at the trusty old Science Museum as it had been at least two if not three years since our last visit.
The great thing about the Science Museum is that you pretty much know what to expect, lots of cool hands on stuff for the kids and there is always something that will pretty much appeal to the whole family. It is not a perfect day out but it is a pretty good one. You can certainly expect to have to battle through the crowds unless you time your visit to avoid school holidays, school trips and peak tourist times. One of the down sides to having free entry to museums is that people will visit them in greater numbers however the plus side is that you can visit on a number of occasions if your travel costs are not too high. Certainly trying to see and do everything the Science Museum has to offer in a day is not possible unless you only pay a passing glance to all the exhibits so it lends itself to a few visits, plus the fact that the exhibition constantly evolves and changes means that a repeat visit will always offer something new to do and experience.
The museum is located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the easiest tube station is South Kensington which is on the Piccadilly line and there is a covered walk way from the station to the museum, this walkway also serves other museums such as the Victoria and Albert. It is open from 10.00 to18.00 everyday of the year except for the 24th to 26th December. As I said entry is free however there are donation boxes dotted around the museum. It is estimated that each visitor only donates 2p per visit to the museum which is pretty poor going in my opinion, sure tax payer money provides the funding but there are a lot of free riders in those visitor numbers.
The museum itself is set out over seen floors including the basement; there are some activities that require a payment such as the IMAX 3D Cinema which has four different films showing at various times during the day. At the moment these cover the Secrets of the Pharaohs, Dinosaurs Alive, Sea Monsters and Deep Sea 3D with adult prices per film at £7.50 and children £6. Certainly these were very popular as the Deep Sea viewing was sold out when we arrived however there is enough to do so we did not see a film. The other event you can pay for is The Science of Survival a one off exhibit, to have done this and seen one film would have cost us £30 so again we did not experience this.
There is a load to do in the Science Museum and it is certainly a great experience of the senses. The Ground Floor has an impressive Exploring Space in the main body of the hall, lots of huge displays showing the moon landing and other forms of space exploration and from here you move into the equally impressive Making the Modern World which is full of cutting edge inventions from the past and present. At the far end is the Welcome Wing which contains the entrance to the IMAX and also the Deep Blue Café as well as a Simulator ride for which there is a charge.
For our visit we decided to head to the fifth floor as the top two floors are the least crowded, the kids wanted to see the Veterinary History section as both have an interest in that and also the Science and Art of Medicine exhibits which are both located on the fifth floor. The exhibits in the latter were very interesting but rather cluttered with no obvious route to follow through them hence you could find yourself moving from Egyptian to Victorian times in a couple of steps and then reverting to ancient Germany, it was all a little too much to take in at times however it was also quite fascinating.
The next floor down continued the medical theme with some interesting exhibits on Psychology; there were a couple of hands on exhibits here and some video footage as well. There was also a section on Medical History which was made up of large displays showing dentistry and operating theatres through the ages, visually this was quite impressive.
The Third Floor is one of the busiest floors as it contains The Launch pad, previous visitors will remember this being in the basement, these are a series of hands on experiments that are very popular with young children, there was a queue to get in to this area as numbers are restricted, it was about a fifteen minute wait but a nice touch was the fact that staff circulated with puzzles and other toys to keep the kids occupied ad the queue moved all the time. Once inside it was like those noisy children play areas in pubs in terms of the volume levels but there were loads of things to do for children and adults alike. There are also mini shows put on that last for about 20 minutes and involve audience participation, the one we saw was about making things stronger through design and focused on bridge building, it was an entertaining break and a chance to sit down for twenty minutes. Be aware that some of the exhibits involve sand and water so young ones can get messy.
This area does get busy and I found the whole floor layout here a bit confusing at times however you can escape to the quieter History of Flight which is a super large space with aircraft hanging from the ceiling or on the ground, there are also some impressive display cases as well. There is a viewing area which allows you an excellent view across the exhibits.
For me the second floor was my personal favourite as it contained the Marine Engineering section with some excellent scale models of famous ships and also a great section on marine engines many of which can be activated by pressing a button. The docks and diving display was good when it came to the information on the docks however the diving display was rather poor and very limited. Further along this floor is a History of Computing which we ignored but the kids did enjoy the section on energy which again was very hands on in its design while I retreated for a bit of nostalgia to look over the Dan Dare exhibition.
The first Floor was slightly disappointing however the exhibits on Weather and Plasticity were both quite interesting however by now feet were starting to get sore and limbs a little tired so it was definitely time to leave and save this for another day.
On the plus side the exhibits are very good and there is a lot to do in the Science Museum for all ages. It does not come out smelling of roses on all fronts though. While it is an impressive building and very high tech in places some of the facilities do not match up and getting between floors can be a bit confusing as the lifts and stairwells are not always clear in where they go, you have to constantly check the map you can collect on entering.
Where it is not so good is in the catering area. There are a couple of small cafes on the fist and third floor which offered a limited selection, if you want a cooked meal then you have the Deep Blue Café which is very high tech looking but it is rather pricey. The food was nice but you are looking at over £10 a head for a meal and drink, the food was pretty good to be honest but the service was rather slow and a little surly, maybe the fact that a service charge was automatically added does not encourage efficiency. Also it was rather dark with a blue lighting scheme and you are sat on long benches so do not really have your own space. After a five minute wait I gave up on the bill and went straight to the till to pay. There is an indoor picnic area on the first floor but this was crowded and did not look very pleasant at all. My advice is if you are not pushed for time is to step outside and find something in the local area.
On the plus side the toilets were clean and on every floor and the whole venue is pretty easy for wheelchair and pram access with lifts and ramps a plenty and there is a family room in the basement.
Considering it is free entry then the Science Museum is a great family day out and there is plenty to do. Check out the website before visiting as there are special events on all the time with tours and talks as well. Kids will love it and so will adults and it is a full day out if you want it to be or a couple of fun hours indoors.
The website is http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum.aspx.
Thanks for reading and rating my review.
I spend a lot of time in the London Science Museum, partly because it is now free to enter, and partly because I have a great love of all the sciences. Few places excite me as much as the thrill of a trip to the Science Museum. The museum is also open seven days a week between 10am and 6pm, which means it is possible to fit in visits around worktime.
Ths Science Museum is located in Exhibition Road in South Kensington and is accessible by many forms of public transport. I will give a more detailed list of directions at the end of the review.
Although the admission is free, you will still have to pay certain fees for different exhibitions and simulators. The Simex Simulator ride, IMAX 3D Cinema both carry an extra fee, along with quite a few other exhibitions so make sure you do take some money with you when you visit.
The museum is packed into seven floors, each packed with its own unique galleries and exhibitions. My favourite area is in the basement where you will find the Launch pad. The exhibitions are changing all the time, so those mentioned in this review may not be there when you visit, but on my last visit I really liked the new Pure Iceland Exhibition. This exhibition gives you the history on how Iceland became the first country to become totally dependent on renewable energy sources. If you are interested in the unknown, there was an exhibition all about aliens the last time I went which endeavours to discover what we know about possible alien life and what we are hoping to find, together with details of plans for future alien life exploration.
The IMAX cinema forms part of the Science Museum and is an amazing experience. I would recommend that if you go, you set aside some time for a visit to IMAX. Trust me, you would never have seen a film like it before in your life. IMAX is a word derived from "Image Maximum" and you will be amazed at the sound, picture and effects that you will witness. The real difference between watching a film at the cinema, and watching the same film at an IMAX cinema is that you don't just feel like you are sitting there watching a film, you feel like you are actually there. Inside the human body, feeling all the emotions that are going through the actors. This effect is achieved by using some highly sophisticated projector equipment and using a screen size that makes the most of your peripheral vision.
As I said, the events at the Science Museum change regularly, so if you are interested to know whats on before you visit, you can visit their website or call them on 0870 8704771.
The Science Museums rules on eating and drinking are simple. You can eat or drink anywhere in the museum, provided it doesn't have a carpet. So basically, if you are standing on a wooden floor, then you can stop for lunch, although if you are standing on a carpeted floor, you will need to find an uncarpeted area before stopping. On the first floor of the museum, there is a designated picnic area called the Mega-bite picnic area. Here there are tables and chairs so that you can sit down and enjoy your lunch. On the ground floor there is a restaurant called the Revolution Cafe, which is open every day. They serve a wide range of foods from cakes and biscuitsd, through salads up to home cooked meals, here you can also buy yourself a nice hot drink (or a cold one if you prefer). Also on the ground floor is the Deep Blue Cafe where you can really enjoy something special. The cafe is situated so that it looks out over the Wellcome wing. Consequently it was also voted the best restaurant for kids in 2005. Decent kids meals are available there, and for the adults, you can indulge in some mouth watering pizza or pasta. There are many other places to eat in the science museum so you will be spoilt for choice come lunchtime.
Next to the main entrance is the Science Museum Gift Store. Here you can buy all sort of wierd and wonderful things. And with a wide range of prices you are sure to find yourself something that suits your pocket. There is also an Ottakers bookshop on the ground floor where you may buy all sorts of interesting books relative to your vist including museum guides.
The Science Museum is very accomodating if you have a disability. For those in wheelchairs on unable to walk very far, lifts are provided to all floors and wheelchairs can be supplied when you get there. There are also disabled toilets on all floors. There are various touch screen floor plans located around the museum and you can touch these to find out where the lifts and toilets are. Guide dogs are also allowed in the museum, and again the staff are very helpful in assisting with water bowls for the dogs.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The nearest tube station to the Science Museum is South Kensington, which is on the Piccadilly line.
If you are planning on arriving by bus, the route numbers that stop outside the museum are: 9, 10, 14, 49, 52, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, C1.
I hope you do decide to visit the science museum, as I say, I like it som much that I visit regularly, typically twice a month. Every time you go, you will see something different, and there is particularly good attractions for the little ones.
Enjoy your visit.
NAME OF COMPANY: Science Museum, London.
BACKGROUND: Robert has been on at me for ages to take him to the Science Museum in London, ever since he saw an advert for a James Bond exhibition there and I finally managed it in December 2004. Robert likes to visit museums that have hands on exhibits so I knew that the Science museum would be ideal. I like visiting museums and have been to the Science Museum before but a long time ago.
The museum is on five floors and covers most scientific subjects. They are currently refurbishing and we could not use the stairs or the lift to get to floors 4 and 5 so we only saw 3 floors but still ran out of time and didnt see all the exhibits.
ATTRACTIONS There are Hands on exhibits, video displays, simulators, IMAX 3D cinema, computer quizzes and information, real and model cars, planes and ships, various cafes and a picnic area.
Topics range from medical history, veterinary science, energy, agriculture, and space.
Q. How much is it to enter?
A. PRICE: Free, although as with many places there are extras to pay for.
An explorer ticket cost £13.50 per person (adults) and cheaper for children and concessionaries (£9 concessions OAP/Student/UB40, etc) The Explorer ticket enabled you to go on 2 simulator rides (which cost £2.50 for one, and £3.95 for the other, per person), have a free paperback Guide, with map, to the museum (usually £2 each) and see one (out of possible 6) shows in the IMAX cinema (£7.50 each for adults, child/concessionary prices may differ). Please note all prices are based on December 2004 visit.
Q. Are guide books available?
A. Yes, The Explorer ticket included a free guide, which costs £2 to ordinary customers and has a handy fold out map of the 5 floors for the museum. Not sure if available in other formats, but believe that there were ones in foreign languages available.
Q. Which attractions need paying for?
IMAX cinema, SimEx Simulator Ride, Motionride Simulator, and the Flight simulators.
The IMAX cinema was nearly £7 each per visit and was a must see for my boyfriend so as this would cost £14, I chose to buy an Explorer ticket as he was bound to want to go on the simulators.
The Flight simulators are not included in the Explorer ticket as they are coin operated and cost a minimum of £3 each (they did seem to be for at least 5 minutes or more), but even Robert stated they were too expensive.
There are other deals for groups/families, which I do not have the full details for (see website or phone numbers below for more details).
Q When is it open?
A. We visited on a Sunday and arrived just after 9am to discover that they did not open until 10am. As the Natural History Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum are on the same street, we tried to see if these were open instead. However, the V & A opened at the same time as the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum didnt open until 11am. The museum is open seven days a week, from 10.00 to 18.00. The Museum is closed from 24 to 26 December.
Q. How do we get there?
A. TRANSPORT: We stayed in a hotel overnight after travelling down by Gee Vee Travel coach the previous day, visiting the Tower of London (see separate article) on the Saturday.
Underground: The Science museum, Victoria and Albert architecture and design museum and the Natural History museum are all accessible from the South Kensington underground station, which is on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines. In fact the extremely long sub way has several exits, including one for each museum. If you go to the very end of the subway, and go up the stairs, turn right and the Science museum is the first building on your right.
Bus: 74 there is a stop for South Kensington museums. Walk along Cromwell Road past the Natural History museum and turn left into Exhibition Road
You could also use the 9 and 10 routes and get off outside the Royal Albert Hall and walk past the Royal Geographical Society and right onto Exhibition Road, past the National Sound archive and the Goethe Institute.
There are four parking bays outside the Science museums main entrance reserved for Blue Badge holders.
Q. What is the difference between the Motionride Simulator and the SimEX simulator?
A. I disliked the Motionride Simulator and as I had just eaten when Robert wanted to go on the SimEx Simulator I refused to go on it, but we still saved money overall by using the Explorer ticket deal.
I think that I would have preferred the SimEX simulator as it did not go up and down as much and you had to make decisions whilst you were on the ride (e.g. if you were going to try to land or take a course avoiding meteors).
The Motionride Simulator is more of a roller coaster video and I wanted to press the Stop button but everyone else seemed to be enjoying it so I didnt. I closed my eyes instead, but I could still feel the bucking motion. All these rides have certain conditions, which are not allowed on them, so check before you pay out, if you are concerned you may not be eligible. Some have height restrictions, too.
Both rides use video imagery and go up and down and sometimes side to side as well. They emulate the movements as shown on the video.
The Motionride Simulator is on the 3rd floor near the flight simulators and the SimEX simulator is on the ground floor near the IMAX cinema.
Q. What can I see at the IMAX cinema?
A. This depends on the day that you visit, as when we visited in December 2004, there was a Santas Versus Snowmen 3D movie showing several times during the day.
However there was also Space Station 3D, which the boyfriend really wanted to watch but was only on once (an hour after we had to leave the Museum to return to our coach home), Bugs 3D, which I refused to watch, a Halloween/Ghosts one whose exact name I can not remember and Cyberworld 3D, the one we actually watched. This has clips from The Simpsons and Antz but I was not impressed, it seemed to take too long to get started, which bored me rigid.
I would have preferred the Santas one I think! At the beginning you get clips of the other shows to tempt you back.
Q. Can I take my own food in?
A. Yes, there are 2 picnic sites but we did not use these facilities this time.
Q, Are there any cafes in the museum?
A. Yes, there are four cafes inside the museum and are pretty reasonable.
For £11 I got a large main course meal, 2 hot drinks and a bowl of chips for my boyfriend, as he wasnt very hungry. The bowl of chips was very large and well worth the price from the Deep Blue café on the ground floor.
We also visited the Flight Café on the third floor and had a couple of drinks and a flapjack each which for an attraction were fairly reasonably priced.
Q. What type of exhibits are there?
A. There are exhibits in cases or on display with Do Not Touch signs on them, including Stephensons Rocket, cars, planes, ships, etc.
There are hands on exhibits where you can touch to your hearts delight and can make things, test things, play video games about a topic (e.g. wasting energy), and find out about a large range of topics including Energy, The Garden, Launch Pad, Pattern Pod, On Air, but although not all topics have a hands on section, all have a video or computer information screen nearby for you to test your knowledge on.
There are also the rides as described earlier and the IMAX cinema where you have to wear 3D glasses and objects seem to be coming straight towards you. The bats from the horror clip were extremely realistic, I was not the only one trying to shoo them away!!
Soundbytes audio guide is supposed to help bring the ground floor galleries to life. However, we were not offered this facility and did not know about it until we returned home and read the guide book more thoroughly. Perhaps we can try this out on another visit. It is supposed to be ideal for most ages. Many of the exhibits in the ground floor section have an headset icon next to them in the guidebook so that you know you can use this facility there, and they include Space and Power.
· Hands on exhibits where available. Really enjoyed the Energy video games where you have to save energy by clicking on particular pictures etc.
· Price to visit if you do not want to go on the simulators or visit the IMAX cinema
· 2 floors were not available on the day of our visit (Medical history and Vets).
· Loads of section where there are just exhibits in cases and no hands on exhibits, particularly planes, ships and cars. These would benefit from some exhibits where you could touch and see how they work, etc.
· Not offered the Soundbytes audio tour. If it was free, we would have certainly tried it out. No reference in the guidebook as to whether it is free or not.
· IMAX cinema had repeats of shows before they had shown all the subjects. For example, we wanted the Space show but it was not on until 4pm but the Santas show had been on at least twice, maybe three times, before then.
We went to the shop and both bought a book from the Horrible Science/History ranges.
Later I read the guidebook more thoroughly. Robert states that he would like to revisit this particular attraction again and I agreed that we might in the future but he might want to try the Natural History museum first.
We are arranging our next trip to London. In November 2005, we hope to visit the London Transport museum and the Natural History museum.
MORE INFORMATION FROM
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD. Website www.sciencemuseum.org.uk (please note that I have not checked this website out so cannot comment on it).
For more information (enquiries, bookings, facilities, exhibitions, and events) call 0870 870 4868.
For Education bookings, call 020 7942 4777 for more information on the schools programme.
For Group bookings and birthday parties, call 020 7942 4465 (Discounts and special packages available).
Imax club to join pick up a form from any information point or visit www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/imax
THE FINAL WORD:
A great attraction that is bringing science to the masses. A must see if you are in London but there were down sides to this attraction, namely that they were working on 2 whole floors at once and not offering the audio guide when we booked the Explorer ticket.
On one rainy soggy London day I happened to be in the area of the Science Museum in London. Since it is now completely free to enter (thank you! London) my other half and I went in to take a look around. It is a decision that I'll never regret. The science museum is located close to the South Kensington underground (about a 5 minute walk from there). It is right next to the Natural history museum and the V&A museum, so there is something to suit everyone. There is no entry charge, and the museim is open from 10AM to 6PM 7 days a week (except over the christmas period) The Science museum is huge. You probably won't get to see everything in a day, even if you just rush around which is not worth it. It is divided into several floors, and there is also a new wing (the Wellcome wing)which I'll talk about later. The basement houses exhibits about the home and garden -not at all boring, and full of interesting facts about the environment that we live in. On the ground floor is an exhibit of our advances in technology. While I found it interesting, it is mainly just in exhibition cases, and kids could get quickly bored. For those interested in Space exploration, the large exhibit on the ground floor is well done and has interactive areas as well. Pity that it looks a little old and in need of some updating, but that is only a minor criticism. The next gallery on this floor is Power, and has lots of engines, cars, trains and such. I was bored, mu husband was in 7th heaven. You need to compromise a little ! Level one has a lot to do with the world around us - the materials that we use every day, how they are made and how they are used. Also, agriculture, time , weather and food. This wasn't my favourite part of the museum as it is a little older, and tends to be a lot if big glass cases with plaques to read. Level two has lots, but we didn't get to see them. Chemistry as it affects us all, marine technology
, nuclear physics, computers, maths... Level 3 starts to get more interactive again. Exhibits on the night sky, a motion ride simulator (great fun), health, cinematography. Levels 4 and 5 deal with medical and vetinary history. I didn't get a chance to look in on those. But the best of all was the Wellcome wing, a new wing. It has 3 levels at the moment, the first one and exhibition called "Who am I?" just about everything here is interactive. You get a chance to play with genes, test out hearing, scan your own iris and do much much more. As well as all this there are lots of cases filled with interesting facts about the human body. Level 2 is called "digitopolous". Here anyone who likes interactive exhibits can spend the whole day. Everything on this floor is dedicated to computers. You can play with sound synthesis, noise generation, picture manipulation, have your say on computer games and artificial intelligence, build your own website, and learn an awful lot about computers in the process. I could have spent the whole day here. The "Future" gallery on the third floor is being completed, and I can't wait to see what they have there. Also in the Wellcome wing is the Imax theatre. This is a definite MUST. I went to see the Cyberworld show (half an hour, £6:50 a ticket) and enjoyed it immensely. It is the most up to date, pin sharp 3D film you ever saw. See fantasy worlds come to life looking so real that you feel you can walk into it. Enjoy a clip from Antz in 3D. Have fun. There are 2 other shows, both of which look worth seeing, one called blue planet, and the other about the Human body (watch the journey of a tomato from fork to stomach, see the incredibly realistic heart beating, and much more). If you do nothing else, go and see one of these Imax shows. There are also several places to eat. One good restaurant in the main wing (serving very good food for a museum, but not th
at cheap) and the other in the Wellcome wing. And finally there is the museum shop, with all the usual souvenirs and then lots and lots of more interesting and useful things. A huge variety of books to tempt to you read more about science, so entertaining and well written are they. Lots of gadgets and equipment to tempt you. Really, the museum is now a place of entertainment, a place to get good food and a place to do some interesting shopping (especially for those who are hard to buy gifts for). It is far to much to see in one day, but now that entry is free, go on, spoil yourself. Go for a week. Go once a month. Just go. You won't regret it.