Newest Review: ... currently £7.90. There are other family concessions and deals. There is a gift aid deal giving your some discount on purchasing food in... more
W5 Belfast - a child's dream toyshop!
Member Name: karlsm93
Advantages: Fun for all the family, brilliant for toddlers
Recently we decided to take our daughter for a day out when we were both off work for the day and went to W5 in Belfast, based in the Odyssey Arena, not far from the new Titanic Quarter opened in the city. W5 has been around for quite a while now, and this was our second visit since my daughter was born. W5 stands for 'who what where when why' and is really a place for all the family to visit. It is a science and discovery centre and is a popular place for school groups. There are over 250 exhibitions, as well as shows, demonstrations and seasonal events. At present there is a dinosaur exhibition where you can walk around lifelike large scale dinosaur models.
I must make it clear now that this is a review of the Level 2 under 8 part of W5 as that is really the only part we have ever visited, as it is the most appropriate to our toddler. Under three's are free of charge, and adults are currently £7.90. There are other family concessions and deals. There is a gift aid deal giving your some discount on purchasing food in the cafe (or shop). On our first visit we did avail of this and it was very good but on this occasion we didn't as we weren't looking for any food or gifts.
As you enter W5, there are some exhibitions on the ground floor, as well as a gift shop. One exhibition on the ground floor that caught our daughter;s attention was the hot air balloons. The experiment was related to pressure and when you got it correct, the balloon would rise up. To get to the main attractions there are stairs (which are musical - sounding a note with every step) or a lift, which has glass so you can see over the Odyssey arena as you move up levels. The part we wanted was on Level 2, where there is also an exhibition which is for older children.
We went for the other area of Level 2, designed for children under 8. This is literally a toy shop for children (and some adults like my husband!). There is enough here to keep a young child occupied for at least half a day if not more. There are some brilliant attractions including:
A life size supermarket shop - with little baskets, a till, lots of plastic fruit, veg, bread, meat etc so you can practice your shopping skills.
A lifesize cafe - with colourful tables (for the parents to get served), a till, pretend food, cutlery, trays etc.
A castle, where children can run in and out, wave some flags, chat on the TV to a friend.
Musical instruments - musical steps, a large guitar etc - lots of noise potential.
A music studio - practice with a pretend guitar, change the lighting, change the volume at the sound desk.
A full size mini car for children to get in and out of
A house, with a moveable crane, foam bricks, an upstairs
A rowing boat for children to sit in
A large doll's house with lots of wooden furniture
A large kitchen - with pretend food, utensils, sink, fridge, cupboards
A tiny tots area with cushions, books, bricks etc
A massive toy train set for children to stand and play with, adding and breaking up parts of the track.
A water area with plastic balls to put up suction tubes
The last of the these areas was my daughters favourite, although we went round most areas several times in our visit and it was only that we needed to go, rather than my daughter wanting to go that made us leave, otherwise we may still be there!
THere literally is so much for children to do, and I haven't even listed everything here. It will keep them busy for hours, and for slightly older children, there are some small exhibitions and experiment areas to encourage learning.
All in all, this really is a brilliant way to spend the day/ half a day, depending on the age of your children. THere is something for all ages and you certainly won't be bored. It will encourage learning as well as having fun.
Summary: A great place to take the family
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