One of the first kid-friendly destinations we targeted after arriving here in London was the Science Museum. My niece – who is about to turn three – had recently been there and we heard positive feedback about the museum’s interactive areas. Our own experience certainly didn’t disappoint, especially considering this impressive institution is open year-round with free admission to the public (a £5 donation per person is suggested).
We began our exploration of the museum on the lower level, in an area called ‘The Garden.’ While it’s targeted at three to six-year-old children, even eight-year-old Elissa loved it. She and her younger sister Lily, age four, spent nearly an hour playing together in this hands-on area, which featured unusual instruments, crazy mirrors, a large water table and giant-sized lego blocks.
After a short snack break (the raspberry ice cream was delicious!), we proceeded to the third floor. This is home to a Red Arrow flight simulation area, which includes a 3D cinema as well as Fly Zone flight simulators (tickets must be purchased separately). For the younger set, there is Fly Kids, which is similar to a ramped-up, coin-operated mall ride.
The ‘Launchpad’ is also located on the third floor. Another interactive area, this one is aimed at eight to 14-year-old kids. One energy-themed activity featured a bike connected to a generator; increasing your pedaling speed powered the generator to illuminate a bulb and then activate a television (with a camera pointed at the cyclist, so you see an image of yourself).
Connected to the Launchpad is a demonstration room, where we took in a presentation about rockets. Elissa – who is not in the least bit shy – agreed to participate in a demo for the group. The presentor had her act as the front of a rocket with a little boy (who acted as the back of the rocket); the skit demonstrated one of Newton’s laws of motion.
After the demonstration, we perused an area that detailed historical advances in medicine. At this point, we had spent about three hours at the Museum and, while we had only explored two of the many levels of exhibits, decided to get going.
There is a myriad of cafés and restaurants close to the Science Museum, which is accessible via the South Kensington tube station. The girls were looking for pizza, so we found an inexpensive little restaurant, Sole Luna, to sit down. Our ham-and-cheese pizza was the perfect end to our successful outing.