“ Address: Ashby Road / Coalville / Leicestershire / LE67 3LN „
There is a lot to do at Snibston: it is a science park built on on a disused cola mine, and can be as educational, or not, as you wish. We have had season tickets for years (a family ticket is relatively cheap) and my children have yet to get bored of the place. At various times there are train rides, activities such as crafts, and coal tours, check before you go. Even without them, there is stacks to do. In the summer, the Wild water exhibit is open, which is basically a model of a canal system: be warned, children are likely to get soaked. Mine would go to Snibston just for this. There is an outdoor play area, an indoor under-5s area (excellent facilities), a fashion and textiles exhibition, full size steam trains, planes and buses. You can dress up as a miner and play in a 'coal mine tunnel'. We have been on a 'bat walk' and been pond dipping in the beautiful nature reserve. But the most favourite thing: my children love having their picnic lunch inside an old railway carriage. I would say the museum is well worth the entrance fee, but bring your own food (lots picnic tables, both indoors and out) as the food on offer is pretty poor.
Snibston Discovery Park is in Leicestershire based at a former colliery.
Me and my husband were looking for something to do on a grey and rainy day with our 3 year old and 1 year old. We thought about going to a soft play centre, but decided a trip to Snibston Discovery Park would be a little more educational.
Opening times and prices
Open daily 10am - 5pm April to September
Open Monday to Friday 10am - 3pm October to March
Open Saturday and Sunday and school holidays 10am - 5pm
Adults £6.40 Children £4.20 Seniors £4.50
Train fares - Adults £1.40 Children 50p
Inside the Discovery Park
The discovery park has lots of interesting experiments to do, I would say that there is something for just about every age.
My 1 year old loved the special touch sensitive mats on the floor, showing various water themes (pond with lilies and fish etc.) which when stepped or jumped on would cause ripples and splashes on the picture and the fish swim in the opposite direction.
My 3 year old was fascinated by the magnet section. This was demonstrated by using a magnet and a pulley system to lift up a full size mini cooper, and then releasing the magnet and letting the car fall to the floor from a drop of about 1.5 foot.
My husband really enjoyed the computer section where a computer driven arm played tic-tac-toe, did a beat the buzzer game (moving a metal hoop over a metal frame without touching it) and a logic puzzle which you could also have a go at. It was amazing to see the computer could win at all 3 games.
My favourite area was the toys for kids, this was an area with a fenced off section and locked gate so you could sit down with your kids and let them play with various toys like building blocks and crayons, and not worry about them wandering off, it gave me 10 minutes peace and quiet which was lovely!
There was a section about the coal mining that used to be done at the site and some of the old vehicles they used, such as old buses to transport the workers. There was also a large section on the changing fashions over the year which was really interesting. There was a special camera and light section where you could capture an image of your friends and family with different lighting effects.
Outside the park
There is a train running outside, the journey lasts about 15 minutes, it goes first to the front and then back past the station rearwards until you cross the entrance to the car park (we didn't notice the train tracks on the way in!) and then back to the station. The kids really loved this as they don't normally get to go on trains, this was an old carriage with separate compartments along the corridor so something really different to what they are used to.
There was also a large adventure park with swings, slides, climbing frames and some other science experiments involving water. However as it was raining when we went we didn't use this area although it did look like it would be good fun in warmer, dryer weather.
I was really disappointed with the cafe. As we only decided on the morning what we were going to do for the day I didn't have time to make a picnic, which I would normally do. Instead we decided to eat at the cafe.
It cost £2.50 for a stale tasting cheese or ham roll (not worth it even if it was half this price), around £2.50 for a jacket potato with 1 filling (which I thought was quite fair) and lots of other hot food which was shown on a menu but not given a price so you had to guess the price. No where on the menu did it mention chips, but at the end of the hotplate there were chips being served - I don't know how much they cost but I would imagine they were better value than the nasty rolls they were serving.
The toilets were clean and well stocked with paper and soap.
What would a trip with the kids be without the obligatory look around the gift shop? This was the usual type of gift shop selling things linked in to the science that you had observed and all the usual tat that you can buy; pens with your name on, rock, gem stone jewellery etc. The prices weren't too bad and it kept the kids quiet on the way home!
Worth a visit?
Would I recommend a visit? Yes I would, I think the science bits are pitched at a level that most ages would understand at least some of what was going on, and the other displays were interesting and there was lots to do and lots of buttons to press. If you went in good weather you could enjoy a picnic in the play area outside whilst the kids run around. I would advise to take your own food, but that was the only let down.