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Glasgow Science Center (Glasgow)

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7 Reviews

50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1EA / Tel: 0141 420 5000.

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    7 Reviews
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      05.04.2010 23:07
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      a great day out with the kids

      The Glasgow Science Centre is an incredible titanium and glass building at Pacific Quay on the bank of the river Clyde just across the river from the SECC. It opened in 2001 and houses the science mall, the Scottish Power planetarium and an Imax cinema. It is a place to visit which makes a brilliant day out for families.

      The science centre is set over four levels, the ground floor does not have much going on just a few exhibitions and the café. The café isn't great to be honest, a bit overpriced and very busy so last time we took a packed lunch and went out to the car and ate it. Make sure you visit the toilets on this floor, the sinks have been designed by artists and washing your hands has never been so much fun!

      The first floor has a lot of attractions for younger kids including a piano they play with their feet, giant sized board games like chess and connect 4 and fish in a tank which plays music every time the fish pass a laser beam.

      The second floor is best for older kids and adults. The body exhibitions are brilliant including a skeleton inside a glass case which you make pedal a bike to see how the bones all work together. The set of pig lungs blackened to look as if the poor pig had smoked heavily for years would be enough to put anyone off the killer weed as they tried to pump air into them and then compared them to fresh healthy lungs. There are interactive optical illusions and you can also see how you will age over the years by using a computer programme

      The upper floor has more of a maths and physical science feel with towers, whirlpools and a tornado. . There are also fantastic views from this level over the river Clyde and telescopes to allow you to get a better look at the landscape.

      A brilliant feature for the kids is that there are daily talks and exhibitions where kids can learn more about different areas of science while their parents have a break. Last time we went the kids went to two special events, at the first one in the main mall they made and launched parachutes and the second one was a talk about gases in the science lab. You need to sign up for these events as soon as you arrive as the places can disappear quickly but the good news is that the events are free.


      The building which houses the science centre also has the Scottish Power Planetarium which you need to buy separate tickets for and is well worth a visit. The Imax cinema on site has a screen the size of a football pitch and you can view educational movies for a small charge and blockbusters for a much higher price tag, make sure you book tickets for the cinema in advance as it gets very busy.


      From a parents perspective, the first time I visited the Glasgow Science Centre I really enjoyed myself and had as much fun as the kids playing with the various interactive exhibits. The second visit was not nearly so much fun though as I had already seen it all and I wandered around fairly bored as the kids enjoyed themselves. It's a place that the kids would be happy to visit over and over again if their parents have enough patience for repeat visits.

      The Glasgow Science Centre is a great day out, it is best for kids aged around 5 to 12 although those a bit older and younger will also get some enjoyment out of a visit. Science need not be boring and the range of interactive exhibits proves that and the kids will learn as they are having fun. An adult ticket costs £9.95 and a kid's ticket costs £7.95, they accept Tesco days out tokens and season passes are also available. The tickets are reasonably priced when you consider that you can easily spend a whole day there.

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        13.12.2009 01:11

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        Intresting day out for adults and kids

        On the south side of Glasgow there is the Glasgow Science Centre it is one of Scotland's must-see visitor attractions near the city centre across the water from the secc with a bridge joining them along the river clyde easily accessible from the city centre by bus train and subway.
        The Planetarium offers the chance to see a night sky as it should be
        seen, with thousands of points of light above us. Most people in the city
        have never seen a clear night sky, as light pollution is now a serious
        problem. The controlled environment of the Planetarium with its amazing Zeiss Starmaster projector enables you to look afresh at the sky above. You get the chance spend some time relaxing under the the twinkling night sky in one of the best planetaria in the world. Imax theatre is another attraction in itself, This has a massive screen (bigger than any cinema) that makes the films really come to life you feel like you are in the scene with the actors also there is the science mall and the tower which are closed at the moment some problems with it not to sure what but I dont think it has worked since it opened.

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        21.09.2009 21:30
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        fun was had by all!

        I have lived in Glasgow for 3 years and went to the Science Centre for the first time last weekend. I don't know why I haven't been sooner, probably because when you live somewhere you don't seem to find the time for tourist attractions. I am SO glad I went. I really enjoyed it.

        It's easy to get to. There are plenty of buses from the city centre, including the site seeing open top bus. You can also catch the 89 or 90 circular bus which goes around the whole city. The train station is just over the bridge and costs around £2.50 return. You can also walk quite easily from the city centre and this is quite interesting as you see the river as well.

        We paid extra for the planetarium and it cost us around £8 in total. It was completely worth the money. The planetarium show was breath taking. There was a talk which was very informative and interesting, but I would have been happy enough just looking at the stars. It really was stunning.

        As for the science centre itself, there are 2 floors of really interesting exhibits, and they're all brilliant fun. I'm a child at heart but I could tell it was just as enjoyable for 40 year olds as it was for 4 year olds. You can take part in lots of experiments and games which teach you something you didn't know.

        My boyfriend and I spent around 3 hours there. If we had had children with us I'm sure we'd have been there all day.

        One thing I will say is that the cafe is rubbish - very expensive with little, low quality choice.

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        22.06.2009 19:14

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        Good day out for the kids and adults!!

        The Glasgow Science centre is a great fun day out for all the family. There are many different attractions there and it caters to all age groups (including us adults lol). The science centre is split between two levels and has individual exhbits, with instructions beside this, and explains the science behind it. This part is obviously aimed at adults, but the ehbits are really fun for the children to do. Thjere is also a planetarium, which offers daily shows at specific times (although in my many times of visiting it has never been open). The planetarium is also available for people to hire for private functions, such birthdays and wedding recpetions. There is also the glasgow tower here, which also I have never managed to do, due to it not being opewn, this very weather dependent and if windy will not open, why they would place suchan attraction in scotland beside the clyde river I'll never know!
        There is a large IMAX cinema here which shows short films which are included in your science centre ticket, but it also shows up to the minute films and some of which are in 3D.
        Overall this is a very good day, if maybe a little pricey.

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        14.10.2008 23:29
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        A great fun-filled day out for all the family

        I visited the Glasgow Science Centre today with my 16yr old niece, my 8yr old son and my 5yr old daughter. My children absolutely loved it.

        We arrived about 11.30am, there was a long queue but it moved reasonably quickly, I am guessing I queued for about 10 to 15mins. Beside the queue there are tables and chairs where the children can sit and colour in or draw a picture, this was great as I am sure you will know how impatient children can get when having to queue. It is an unsupervised area so you will have to keep an eye on the kids, which is possible whilst queueing. The admission prices for adults are £7.95, children aged 3 up to 15yrs £5.95, under 3's go free. You can pre-book online or purchase there on the day. I opted to buy tickets there as I had Tesco Clubcard Days Out vouchers which can be used for the Science Mall. I should also mention the carparking costs £3, you buy a token at the exit of the Science Centre.

        On arrival you are given a sheet with information on what's on at what time throughout the day. There was a good choice of events, some on a drop-in basis, others have limited places so you have to go to the floor of the event (the science mall has 3 floors) and put your name on list if it isn't full. We had chosen to do Nina and the Neurons Trail, DIY Detectives and egg drop. Unfortunately DIY detectives was full but we did manage to get our names down for the other two. It is worthwhile bypassing all the exhibits when you enter the mall to put your name down for events before they are full.

        We headed up to the 3rd floor where a drop-in event had started called Jays Animal Encounters, we had missed the beginning of it but even at that this was the highlight of our day. Jay gave the children an informative talk about snakes, reptiles, skunks, hedgehogs and more in a fun way. The children and adults got to touch the animals I have mentioned, some of the children were even brave enough to let a lizard lick their noses!

        After Jays Animal Encounter I let the children wonder round all the exhibits doing what they wanted. There was plenty interactive activities for the children to get involved in, the children were never bored. I don't want to tell you about them or I might spoil your fun, with 3 floors of hands-on exhibits there is plenty to do.

        The Nina and the Neurons Trail is aimed at under 7's but my 8yr old was happy to get involved. The children were given a sheet with a list of the neuron characters from the Nina and the Neurons kids tv show, they had to go round the science centre finding pictures of the characters, once they had ticked them all off they could go back to the lady and she gave them a sticker. A simple activity the kids enjoyed.

        We took a packed lunch so can't comment on the cafe in the Science Centre but I can tell you there are table and chairs set out for people to eat their own lunch.

        We didn't manage to do the egg drop event as we had signed up for the 4pm one and decided to leave about then to avoid heavy traffic on the way home. We did watch a little of the earlier session, the children had made containers to protect their eggs in the event of a fall, then they dropped their eggs from the top of a set of stairs to see if their egg would crack, there was alot of laughter and cheers in this, you could see it was great fun, someone did actually manage to protect their egg.

        The Science Centre is clean and well laid out with lifts and toilets. The toilets were a bit dark for my liking but were clean. I would recommend you visit and see for yourself. It's a full fun day out which is educational at the same time.

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          23.05.2007 12:17
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          A family firendly day out ideal for those rainy glaswegian weekends

          When I first moved to Glasgow just over 6 years ago and while working as a temp I found myself working for the Director of Buildings on what was effectively the building site of the planned Glasgow Science Centre. Added to the fact that the centre was based on the science centre in Canada and designed by many of the same Canadian designers who had been responsible for the Toronto centre, I have felt a strange sense of loyalty to what is now the Glasgow Science Centre. However, this does not mean I am blind to the defects of the project. I have decided to review the Glasgow Science Centre following several visits with my boys as a mum and a visitor and with an unbiased approach.

          ***First Impression***
          The Glasgow Science Centre can be seen for some distance from almost any angle as you approach. The entire centre is made up of 2 imposing, buildings covered in a futuristic titanium and glass combination and of course the infamous tower. T

          he IMAX is an unusual oval shape while the main science mall (joined to the IMAX by a glass encased walkway and entrance) looks something like a large roughly cut quarter of a watermelon. The shallow moat that surrounds the buildings and the River Clyde it sits next to reflect gloriously off them on the (rare) sunny Glasgow days. The 127 metre tall tower that looms behind the science mall is impossible to ignore although I can’t help feel a sort of desolate loneliness as it stands empty and alone.

          There is no doubt that as my three year old gets carried away with excitement and tears off towards the front doors, we all feel our sprits lift and have to fight to contain the giddiness that is more acceptable when displayed by the under 12’s.

          ***Facilities***

          **Science Mall**
          The Science mall; the heart of the centre is split up into 4 floors and is cleverly designed to get kids of all ages (grown-up kids too) interested in science through hands on exploration. There are literally hundreds of exhibitions, grouped neatly and thoughtfully into themed groups i.e. natural science, communication, magnetism, music, mechanical architecture, the human body, robotics, optical illusions etc. Scattered throughout, there are pods which show short films relating to a different theme.

          Despite there being an abundance of exhibits throughout, everything is well planned out leaving plenty of room for excited little ones to run amuck while exhausted parents try to keep up.

          *Our favourites*
          Jordan, my 10 year old stepson loved the creating a 3d image of himself on one of the many computerized exhibits before distorting it and viewing it from different angles. He also enjoyed the music section which gave him a chance to explore different sounds and how they work together.

          Kyle, my 3 year old spent most of his time running as that is what he loves more than anything (including mum and dad I sometimes think) in the world. However, when we did manage to pin him down for brief periods he was taken by quite a few of the exhibits. The giant bubble wall on the second floor was a huge hit as was the string-free musical harp and the wonderful iron and wire bridge which he could happily bounce across. The K-nex building blocks area was a great way to calm him down a bit before we left, so I suppose this was my favourite section.

          Their dad, a truly logical thinker was in his element as he browsed through everything from the display of giant beetles to the giant robotic bird which he spent hours manipulating and chuckling away to.

          There are also several live shows and labs put on by staff throughout the day. Although we didn’t participate in any of these the times and location of each are clearly marked around the building. Some of the shows on offer while we last visited were:

          1. Thunderbolts and Clydethings - Looks at weather patterns and what actually makes weather occur
          2. It wasnaeme - A lab looking at forensic sciences
          3. The Climate Change Show
          4. K-nex Challenge
          5. Balloon Rockets – A hands on rocket making workshop
          6. Go Figure - A brain testing workshop on puzzles.

          **Planetarium**
          In a day and age where many kids grow up without the opportunity to see the stars from their city based bedroom windows, the planetarium offers the chance to see the night sky in all its glory. I loved this as I find astronomy quite interesting and the feel of looking up at the nights sky is so relaxing.

          A tip to parents – don’t even attempt it if you have wee ones with high levels of energy still to burn. They won’t get much out of it and as a result neither will you.

          **Imax**
          The IMAX Theatre boasts a screen bigger than a 5-a-side football pitch and a digital 12,000 watt sound system. It shows 2D and 3D films that does really bring a film to life. We watched the Deep Sea 3d as it was narrorated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. Perhaps unsurprisingly takes the viewer underwater to meet the underwater creatures and to observe their behaviour. While we were there last there, Rainsforest Adventure: Bugs 3d and T-Rex Back to the Cretaceous 3d were also being screened.

          For all those happy Potter fans out there, from July 15th Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be showing.

          **Tower**
          The tower stands 127 metres high, the tallest free-standing structure in the world which has the ability to rotate 360 degrees from the ground up.It’s design is based on a vertical aircraft wing and throughout the day is meant to turn towards the wind to avoid wind resistance.

          In theory, visitors should have the opportunity to take a 2.5 minute trip towards the towers’ cabin for amazing views of this glorious city. However, since opening, it has been plagued with difficulties and technical failures and is currently only open on days when weather conditions are ultimately perfect once winds exceed 40mph it is closed for safety reasons. It is also worth noting that it isn’t open to those in wheelchairs or parents carrying children in buggies and prams as it is possible, that in emergency situations, visitors would be asked to walk for a short distance.

          It is a shame the towers operation has been marred by failure. Shortly after the centre was opened I was one of the visitors lucky enough to be able to enjy the views from the tower and I have to admit, the experience is spectacular. Think, a Glaswegian CN Tower.

          **Additional services**
          The Science Centre also caters for corporate events and carries out educational evening lectures often open to the public.

          **Shop**
          I love the science centre shop and have visited it for gift ideas around Christmas and Birthdays on occasion. As you would expect there is the odd cheap robber ball or neon covered gloop which doesn’t really serve much purpose, but there is also a huge variety of science themed, educational and enjoyable games, books, toys and kits. I have spent a fortune in this store and would advise any parent to calculate this inevitablestop into their necessary daily funds. Prices can range from £1.00 for a small precious stone to much, much more for some of the more advanced building kits. Some pieces are over-priced, but then, there is a bit of a them with this throughout the science centre…

          **Restaurant**
          No one expects 5 star silver service when they go to this sort of place however, reasonably priced, varied and good quality food should be expected. There was an impressive hot food menu (even on Sunday) with what looked like homemade steak pie, chips, ratatouille, jacket potatoes etc. However, for those wishing for a lighter lunch the selection is a bit poor. The sandwiches on offer looked like they had seen better days and I wasn’t able to find anything that was mayo-free. As healthy diet is one theme explored throughout the science mall, I would have thought the restaurant could have done more to encourage it on their own premises – perhaps introducing a salad bar or variety in sandwich breads than simply white. They do have children’s boxes available although neither of our kids were tempted and instead opted for jacket potatoes the size of their heads.

          As is often the case, the place was pricey. Four of us ate (2 jacket potatoes, tuna sandwich, chips, and 4 drinks) for £17 and this was with a £3.57 discount.

          It is also worth noting that as the Science Centre operates several educational excursions with schools and other youth groups. On our last visit we shared the relatively small seating area with about 25 10-11 year olds which for those of you short on patience may be hard to handle.

          ***Opening Hours***
          7 days a week from 10am to 6pm

          ***Pricing***
          This isn’t a cheap day out and although the kids enjoy it, I am not convinced it is great value for money.

          **Pricing Structure**
          *Single Attraction ticket, i.e. Science Mall, IMAX theatre or Tower*
          Adult £6.95
          Child/Concession £4.95
          Children under 3 go free

          *Double Attraction ticket, i.e. Science Mall and IMAX Theatre *
          Adult £9.95
          Child/Concession £7.95
          Children under 3 go free

          *Season Tickets – Access only to the Science Mall and Planetarium*
          Adult membership £32
          Child/Concession £21

          *Feature films such s Harry Potter, Spiderman or Happy Feet shown at the Imax will be an additional £1 per person and the Planitarium costs and additional £2 per person.

          This is an expensive day for any familly with the cost for a family of four starting at £23.80 for the bare basics of visiting only one attraction and rising to as much as £43.80 for access to only two out of three of the attractions. This doesn’t include food, visits to the shop, using the simulator machine, in the main hallway at £4 for two people per go or parking.

          As a registerd Scottish Charity, they do operate a gift aid system. Basically, if you donate an extra 10% of your entry fee to charity, you will receive a voucher for 15% to be used in either the shop or the restaurant.

          ***Location***
          The Science Centre is ideally situated just across the Clyde from the SECC which means it is easily accessible but train, bus or car.

          **Accessibility/ Toilets**
          Apart from the Tower the Science Centre has disable access throughout. Toilets are located in the middle of each floor within the Science Centre as well as in the IMAX Theatre.

          **Parking**
          There is an abundance of parking available at a cost of £2. These are Sunday prices and I cannot be sure they are the same on other days so please check.

          **Overall impression***
          The Glasgow Science Centre is a good day out and it is always nice to see the kids enthusiastic about something educational and constructive. Such enthusiasm is usually reserved for fairgrounds and themed playparks with rollercoasters and the like. I particularly enjoyed getting the boys interested in the environment and what we can do to help protect it. The buildings in themselves are phenomenal and the cinema and planetarium and fantastic.

          What always puts a chink in the armour is the cost. Both my partner and I work but we are, like most people hardly well off enough to not notice the price tag put on this experience. With added extras, our last visit ended up costing us close to £100. Although jam-packed it is difficult to justify paying this amount of money for 3-4 hours entertainment. Obviously, the unreliability of the tower is a drawback. I can only hope one day they manage to fix the problem for good allowing visitors to appreciate the stunning views of this beautiful city.

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            10.08.2001 15:52
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            The Glasgow Science Centre is part of a complex where three new attractions have been built on the south side of the River Clyde. As well as the Science Centre there is the Imax Cinema, which boasts as having the biggest cinema screen in Scotland. Also there is the Glasgow Tower, which is the tallest free standing structure in Scotland. On the day we visited the complex the Tower was closed, as apparently there have been some problems with the lifts, so we just visited the Science Centre. The easiest way to the centre is by train to the Exhibition Centre station and then a short walk over the Bells Bridge across the River Clyde to the Science Centre complex. When you arrive at the centre be prepared for a queue. We arrived just after 10.00am and assumed the centre had not opened on time as the queue did not appear to be moving. In fact the centre was open but the queue moved so slowly that we had to wait 40 minutes just to get our tickets. There were staff at three tills selling tickets. After buying your tickets you walk another 2 or 3 yards where there are two more members of staff who give you a silly paper wristband to wear all day. You then walk another 20 yards to the lift or elevator where are there are more members of staff checking that you have a wristband. Perhaps these members of staff would have been better employed on more tills. What was annoying was that there were two more tills, both with members of staff, but one was only for the Imax Cinema and one was for membership subscriptions. We only saw a handful of people use these other tills and it would have speeded up the whole process if they also sold admission tickets. Later in the day we saw that the queue had grown even longer and as it now went outdoors more members of staff were employed handing out umbrellas as it was pouring with rain. I really do think the centre management need to look at this bottleneck. The cost to get in is £6.50 for adults and £4.50 f
            or children. There are also a number of combinations for family tickets and discounts for group bookings. Inside the centre there are exhibits on four floors. The building is a very impressive glass fronted structure overlooking the river and everywhere is very light and bright. The whole concept of the displays is for almost everything to be “hands-on”. There are so many things to turn, pull, push, switch, touch, see and smell that the whole atmosphere is very vibrant and alive. By the way if you do not like children or noise then avoid this place at all costs. It is noisy, but mostly it is the sound of children enjoying themselves. We were amazed at how well behaved all of the children were, and I assume this was because there was just so much to do. The noise is not unpleasant, just loud. There were quite a number of displays that were out of use because they were broken and I suppose it is inevitable that when so many hands are touching things that some will break. I just hope that the staff can repair them quickly, as obviously it will get disappointing if too much is out of use. All aspects of science are covered in the centre and everything is explained very clearly. My 17 year old son said he felt a bit old and even my 13 year old said he would have enjoyed it more when he was a couple of years younger. I would imagine that the age group 6 to 12 years olds would probably gain the most from the centre, although our two boys did say they enjoyed it and I certainly did! We decided to get something to eat and went to the centre cafe. This was packed with people and no spare seats and a long queue to get served. We changed our minds and instead went to the coffee shop. My wife went for a look around the gift shop whilst I bought a cup of coffee, two cans of drinks and three very small pre-wrapped pieces of cake. This cost me over £7 and I then knew why there were not many people in this coffee shop. It is a
            shame that places like this feel they have to charge extravagant prices, especially when the centre is obviously aimed at school parties and families. The gift shop is also very expensive for a lot of gimmicky souvenirs of the centre. As the day went on the centre did get very busy and it was a bit difficult actually to get to some of the more popular displays. If you do visit the centre I would suggest that you go to the fourth floor first and work your way down. This way you will avoid most of the crowds as the majority of visitors start at the bottom and work there way up. We spent about six hours at the centre and enjoyed all the displays and exhibits. If the centre management can just sort out the queuing to get in and improve the catering facilities then I am sure this is going to become a very popular visitor attraction. You can find out some more information on their web site at: http://www.gsc.org.uk I think anyone with young children would enjoy a visit, but make sure you arrive early before all the school parties start pouring in.

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