Newest Review: ... Station back in the city centre. In terms of nearby facilities, there are plenty of cashpoints, a mini Tescos and Sainsburys and other ca... more
The best day out for children (and adult children) in Cardiff
Techniquest Centre (Cardiff)
Member Name: sampa99978
Techniquest Centre (Cardiff)
Advantages: Something entertaining for everyone in the family, good rainy day activity
Disadvantages: Can be busy in school holidays
Techniquest is a hands on science museum located in Cardiff Bay that is a must see for any families living or visiting the city. I've lost count of the number of times I've visited now, but it never loses it's sparkle. I feel very jealous of the people who work there as you can tell by their attitude how much they love the place too.
For those who speak Welsh, every exhibit is in both Welsh and English. There are always plenty of staff walking about who can explain how things work if you're interested, or if you need to know the trick behind some of the science.
The museum is right in the heart of Cardiff Bay on the waterfront itself. It's opposite a pay and display carpark, but there are many buses you can catch from town (or even walk). The Cardiff Bay train station is a 2 min walk away, which leads to Queen St Station back in the city centre.
In terms of nearby facilities, there are plenty of cashpoints, a mini Tescos and Sainsburys and other cafes and restaurants, making it easy to incorporate the museum into a wider day out.
Child (age 4-16): £5.00
Family Group (2 adults and up to 3 children): £23.00
Planetarium Show: £1.30 extra per person
The heart of Techniquest is the hundreds of hands on exhibits that you can play with. There are two storeys full (lift available as well as stairs) - so watch out for children running between each of them! There are a number of zones:
- The dark zone
- The water zone
- The music zone
and a larger general space. Some of my favourite exhibits include the shadow box downstairs on the left, in which you can pose and take photos of your shadow, and dam building area at the back.
Additionally there is the planetarium and science show room, where themed talks and demonstrations are held. These cost extra but it's definitely worth visiting one or the other during your time there as they're very entertaining and interactive. My most recent visit included the planetarium during the Techniquest After Hours (see below) night which was very funny - but if you're not fond of crude language I would avoid! Obviously for the kids version there's no swearing!
Lastly, there is a cafe and a gift shop also available. The cafe serves freshly prepared food which I've heard very good things about. The gift shop is full of typical science based nick nacks that could make good stocking fillers for children.
Techniquest hold a number of events through the year, such as Toddler Days, and these can be checked on the museums website. By far my favourite event is the Techniquest After Hours, held on the last Thursday of every month. The After Hours night is adults only (which means no children running around), with a bar so that you are allowed to walk around with a beer in your hand. There are a number of talks which you can pay extra for (pub quizzes, comedy) and these change every month. In the summer there is a BBQ too. I highly recommend visiting the After Hours night if you can. It used to be free entry but I believe it's recently changed to £3 per person - still totally worth it.
I recommend looking at the website to see if there are any demonstrations or events on the day of your planned visit. There are cloakrooms if you have to bring luggage or coats that you don't want to lug around with you.
Lastly, there are a few twitter accounts associated with Techniquest that are good for keeping up to date
Summary: Go! And then go again ;)
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