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National Space Centre (Leicester)
Member Name: birdcharlotte
National Space Centre (Leicester)
Advantages: Cheap admission, some really interesting activites
Disadvantages: Too much writing, lose interest quickly, only takes 2 hours to get around it
I visited the Space Centre just after it first opened, when I was in primary school. Since then, I have always remembered specific experiences which made me want to go back. So last month, my boyfriend and I decided to head to Leicester for a day out at the musuem.
We made a bit of a mess getting to the centre as we did not plan it, we took a National Express coach from Nottingham to Leicester, which dropped us off close to the city centre. We asked the driver how to get to the Space Centre and he told us it would be too far to walk, we should get a taxi. Being as tight as we are, we decided not to listen to him and followed some sign posts to the centre. It took us an hour to walk there, along a main road, but saved us a fair amount in a taxi.
We arrived at the centre around 11am, not too long after it had opened. We were expecting to que to get in but there were no ques at the checkouts and we were seen very quickly. The staff are very helpful and told us that are tickets came with a viewing of 'We Are Atronomers' and asked us what time we would like to go and see this, rather than tell us what time we were booked in for.
Admission was £13 each for an adult but if you return with the same ticket on another date, you receive a years free pass to the Centre, which is an absolute bargain for £13!!
**We Are Astronomers**
The documentary that we watched was shown in the dome theatre, as soon as we walked in I knew that this was going to make me feel ill at some point! The name pretty much describes the screen, it is a dome, but the whole top half of the dome is a screen. The documentary was played out over the top of the room, with your seats laying down so that you can see all of it.
I don't really remember much of the programme, it was narrated by David Tenant and talked about stars and planets. At one point I had to close my eyes as I was starting to feel really sick. This is a great experience, but not good for the sickly. Also, if you do not like 3D things, you probably will not like this.
You walk around the rest of the centre looking at displays and reading information boards. Some of this was quite interesting but I did find that there was way too much to read to keep my attention, so children will probably get bored with this quite easily. Luckily, there are a few hands on activites throughout the displays which can hold a child's attention for a short time and make the experience a little more fun.
Around the centre there are life size space shuttles etc which you can sit in, perfect photo opportunity. Also, if you go up the tower, each level has a range of different activities before you make your way up to the next. This is quite fun but became very annoying when my boyfriend started to argue with a child about who's go it was with the rocket launcher game!!
As you near the end of the experience, there is a part of the centre which has many different exercises that atronauts have to carry out in order to train to go into space. This is quite fun as everyone can get involved, but does get very busy! There are also a few other activities here, have your photo taken on the moon and then pay £5 for the photograph (no thanks). There is also a stimulation ride which sits around 20 people at a time and takes you on a ride through space. I found this quite boring and the ride seemed more bumpy that exciting, like you were just being thrown about.
I cant say I was overly enthused about returning to the centre and receiving my free years pass, and I don't think I will bother.
We did have an enjoyable day and there was plenty for us to do but all of the writing couldn't keep our attention so we missed a lot of stuff out. Also, we seemed to have walked around the centre and played on everything within 2 hours, so it's not an all day activity.
Admission is very good, fair enough £13 might seem expensive for a few hours but, if you have children or enjoyed it, you can come back for a year for free which is a great deal.
I have to mention that the Abbey Pumping Museum is based right next door to the Space Centre, it is free to go in and look around. Although it only took us 30 minutes to have a look, it was quite interesting, yet strange. If you are at a loose end when you have looked around the Space Station I would recommend popping in and having a quick look.
Summary: Recommended as a day out if you are interested in space or have a child
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