Techniquest Cardiff Bay, Cardiff. http://www.techniquest.org
Before our children arrived, I have been to Techniquest several times as a child/young teen myself and with other children (friends and family). And I have to say, it’s consistent in capturing the audience. Child, and adult alike, are captivated by its play-based approach to science.
Yet, for all of its play focus of the main exhibition, there is so much to be learned. Even if you forget the additional educational shows. There is a bit of information about each interactive experiment, and many questions and suggestions to get you thinking as you play. It opens even the most educationally shy child to a world of possibility, which is something we struggle against (with our eldest) on a daily basis.
Then there are the shows in the planetarium and science theatre; different themes run at different times, which can all be checked on the website. There’s usually a show in the science theatre, where they offer a series of short and engaging experiments that fit the theme of their show. And then 2 shows in the planetarium – one suitable for the younger audience (under 7s) and one aimed at over 7s.
Whilst we were there, we attended the science theatre show (Switched on, which was an exploration of light) at no additional cost. And also the under 7s planetarium show (Space Hunters – a planetarium, show that had an interactive and fun story involving a treasure hunt in space to get the children involved and interested, before having a look at some constellations), which was about £1.50 each extra. There was also a group in, from the University I believe, educating children on healthy eating with some fun games and activities to show them about being hydrated, making healthy choices (low fat, low sugar) and gave them some information to bring home too.
The exhibition itself was very entertaining, and could easily form the basis of a very fun few hours out (or by utilising the wrist band to pop out and back in, going in the morning, popping out for a lunch and explore of the bay and then having a few more hours after lunch). Experiments range from things to do with light, to the physics of movement, to biology and human evolution. A popular section is always the water area, where the children can manoeuvre objects through a little stream, fill up various household objects to see which uses more water etc.
The entry fee wasn’t too bad we went as a family group of 5 (2 adults and 3 children) and the price was £25 for all of us. There is a small gift shop, as well as a coffee shop selling pre-packaged sandwiches, hot and cold drinks and snacks, 2 hot drinks, 5 sandwiches and 5 packets of crisps cost us £16. And there’s a car park directly opposite the back of the building (Mermaid Quay), 5 hours parking cost us £7, though if you are making a day of it, the Red Dragon centre is only a 5-minute walk away, and if you spend £5 (dinner/drinks/bowling/cinema) parking is free.
It’s somewhere we always come back to, and would always recommend to others for a bit of educational fun.
PS. I couldn’t add more than the initial picture as all of ours captured other people’s children too… difficult not to get photobombed in a place as busy as that.