Newest Review: ... of transport. There are also aeroplanes on display, and a big steam train. This is really awe inspiring to look at, and you will be blown a... more
Member Name: loopy-lou33
Advantages: Lots to see and do.
Disadvantages: Not many places to eat.
Thinktank is a big science museum at Millennium Point, near the heart of Birmingham, a short 15 minute walk away from the main stations and shops. It comprises of four levels of interactive exhibits, encompasing science past, present and future, as well as boasting its own planetarium. Thinktank has something for everyone, and is a very popular tourist destination.
As I have said, Thinktank is relatively easy to get to from Birmingham City centre, but there is also an ample car park, which is token operated and incurs a charge, as it does not belong to Thinktank, but is managed by another company. Entry costs are as follows:
Adult: £11.75 or £18.85 with IMAX film
Child (3-15) and concessions:£7.95 or £13.60 with IMAX film
Family of 4 £36.80 or £59.40 with IMAX film
You also get a free planetarium ticket with your entry.
The museum is split onto various levels. The ground floor houses the exhibits from the old science museum that we used to visit for free several years ago. This section is split up into four galleries: Move It, Power Up, Making Things and City Stories.
Move It: In this gallery you can see old cars, bikes and other modes of transport. There are also aeroplanes on display, and a big steam train. This is really awe inspiring to look at, and you will be blown away by the sheer size of the exhibits.
Power Up: Here you can see engines that formed an important part of the industrial revolution. You can press buttons and see the engines come to life,
Making Things: This is where you can see the products that have been made in Birmingham, and the machines that made them.
City Stories: A walkthrough exhibit that gives visitors a glimpse into life in times past.
The next Section deals with investigating the present, and is the first section you enter when you go into the museum. This section is really appealing for kids as it is colourful and interactive, with larger than life exhibits. The section comprises of five galleries:
Kids City: This is so lovely for little ones, and where we spent a lot of time. The kids city comprises of different shops and businesses such as a cafe and doctors and a garage, full of lots of dressing up and play items. There is also a big water play area for lots of imaginative play.
Things About Me: Interactive human body exhibit, with giant noses, eyes and ears, helping kids discover how the human body works.
Wild Life: A huge display of stuffed animals, presented in a way that is relevant for visitors and touches on ecology and wildlife conservation.
The Street: This section uncovers the workings behind many of the things we take for granted, as you walk along an interactive road.
Medicine Matters: This gallery explains how medicines help us, and shows breakthroughs that have changed the world.
The third section is all about the future, but in my opinion, this is the weakest section in the museum and is nowhere near as colourful or interesting as the other sections. It is quite dark in there, and all the exhibits are contolled by touch screens. The section touches on future medicine, technology and space travel, and you can contol robots and other bits of tech, but as there are few exhibits and lots of visitors, you usually can't get near anything.
The planetarium is really good, and they run various shows throughout the day, based at different age groups. There is one for toddlers called the "little star that could", but we wnet to a show aimed at an older age bracket, that showed the night sky above britain and the constellations we could expect to see. The man was really knowledgeable and ready to answer all our questions. It was good, because we never get to see the sky that clearly in built up areas, and it is truly awe inspiring to see what is up there!
The IMAX cinema is an optional extra, but to be honest, there is so much to see in the museum, that there really isn't enough time to do everything, unless you have been before. We went to see a film about Safari, but the 3D wasn't great and I have seen better at our local cinema, although the IMAX theatre is fantastic in its design, immersing you in the film.
In conclusion, Thinktank is a great family day out. It appeals to young and old and the interactive exhibits are wearing well after 10 years of constant use! There is enough to keep you entertained all day,and my only criticism is the lack of places to eat, which is really limited, although I won't drop a star over this. The staff are great and always ready to answer your questions. There are lots of good drop in sessions and activities going on, though I would recommend avoiding the placeon bank holidays, as it gets so busy you can't see as much as you would like to.
Summary: A good family day out in central Birmingham.
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