We visited the ThinkTank Science Museum in Birmingham towards the end of 2012. A great day out, so much so I had to practically drag the kids away when it was time to go home!
We live near a train line into Birmingham so took the train to Birmingham. I’ve never been to Millennium Point where ThinkTank is. I’m not sure whether there are any direct buses from New Street Station (most of the buses seem to go to the City Centre rather than direct), so we walked. First heading in the direction of Moor Street station and then following the pedestrian signs / ThinkTank signs.
The tickets for ThinkTank provide access to the 4 floor museum the planetarium and the science garden. There is also a free kids’ park next to the science garden, although that was not officially opened until after our visit. The science garden is also free to the public between the hours of 3pm and 5pm. The science garden does however close for a few weeks during the winter.
The museum consists of mainly hands-on exhibits, with a few “do not touch” type displays. Even then some of the hands-off displays are far from static set-up as though they were performing their original role including working robots (car welding), generators and water pumps. Unlike some museums there were very few exhibits which were out of order, although a few could have done with some additional parts (lack of piping in Kids City and not much recycling objects left). This is one of the best interactive museums I’ve seen in terms of exhibits working as they should.
My 4 and 7 year children particularly liked the Kids’ City. This is a giant roll play area consisting of a cafe, garage, medical centre etc. providing an environment where children can play different rolls and learn some of the science. The Kids’ City is great, including working phones between the different areas and lots to do. The only thing being that once they’d seen that they didn’t want to visit the rest of the museum. We did get to explore the rest of the museum, but some of the time was spent encouraging them to actually look at what else was around rather than going to back to “play” in Kids’ City.
There were also some good galleries for older children, although some of these were too old for my children they still had a go with a few.
Thinktank in Birmingham is a great museum introducing science for children of any age.
Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from this visit, but will be sure to take some next time we go.