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Be prepared to queue!
Glasgow Science Center (Glasgow)
Member Name: daseaford
Glasgow Science Center (Glasgow)
Date: 10/08/01, updated on 10/08/01 (275 review reads)
Advantages: Lots to see and do.
Disadvantages: Have to queue to get in.
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:
I think anyone with young children would enjoy a visit, but make sure you arrive early before all the school parties start pouring in.