The spectacular Science Museum is one of London's most exciting and fun-filled attractions. Located in South Kensington just a short journey from us here at the Royal Garden Hotel, this is one of the capital's most prestigious museums and it couldn't be more perfect for family days out.
That's because the Science Museum not only manages to offer exhibits to interest both children and parents, but also to strike a balance between education and fun. This attraction makes all kinds of aspects of science easily accessible to people of all ages, giving you the chance to try hands-on experiments and more to help you really get to grips with the subjects. The kids will have so much fun that they will barely know they're learning!
The museum - a broad overview
Spanning an impressive seven floors, the Science Museum contains a whole world of wonders. In fact, there is so much to see and do here that it's easy to come back time and time again to experience something new, particularly as there are frequently new temporary exhibitions held here too.
The main collection is divided into four main subjects: science, medicine, ICT and engineering technologies.
Focusing on the instruments that have made science such a crucial part of modern culture, the science collection covers a really broad range of topics, from astronomy and natural history to physics and chemistry. Medicine, as you might expect, looks at this topic in detail, not only focusing on medical equipment, but also social and cultural issues around it.
The modern world relies heavily on the storage and communication of information, and it's this topic that the ICT collection covers. As you browse this part of the museum, you can see everything from computer equipment to exhibits on modern media. Lastly, engineering technologies examines how our lives have been shaped by our capacity to make things. It contains some fantastic exhibits on the Industrial Revolution, as well as topics such as energy, manufacturing and the natural environment.
One of very best things about the Science Museum is its huge selection of interactive exhibits; you will find plenty for curious young minds to do throughout the museum. However, there are also dedicated interactive areas and attractions that provide hours of fun for adults and children alike, so be sure not to miss them.
Among the most exciting is Launchpad, which you will find on the third floor. Suitable for kids aged eight to 14 (though adults are bound to have plenty of fun here too), this area is home to 50 hands-on exhibits and shows. Here, curious children can carry out experiments to learn about all sorts of scientific processes, including finding out how wave energy works and having a go at creating electric circuits.
The experience of being in a jet plane or even taking the controls themselves is something that kids often dream of, and these are just some of the amazing experiences they can have in the Science Museum's various simulators. In Typhoon Force, kids can find out exactly what it feels like to fly on an RAF Typhoon jet (suitable for children aged four and above), while in Fly 360, over-9s can take control of a Red Arrow and perform aerial acrobatics!
IMAX at the Science Museum
Children always love trips to the cinema, but visiting the IMAX at the Science Museum will provide a movie experience like no other. Here, you can not only watch immersive and educational films on a huge screen, but you can see them in 3D too. In fact, it's easy to forget you're in a cinema at all; you might just catch yourself reaching out to touch what you're seeing!
There is a great selection of films to choose from at the Science Museum's IMAX, including Under the Sea 3D, which will whisk you and your children into the depths of the ocean.
Temporary exhibitions at the Science Museum
Of course, one of the things that makes science such an exciting subject is that it is always changing and developing. That's why the Science Museum frequently hosts temporary exhibitions on new developments in the world of science, such as 3D printing.
3D: Printing the Future is one example of the museum's long line of temporary displays. This exciting exhibition tells you all about the world of the 3Dprinting, a process that seems like sheer magic. Kids will love seeing how this works, and learning about the sorts of things a 3D printer can make.
Places to eat and other facilities
Hungry families are well catered for at the Science Museum too. There are two main cafes as well as a variety of smaller ones to choose from, serving hot and cold food, which means it's easy to find something to please the fussy eaters of the family, as well as a good cup of coffee for mum and dad.
A nice touch is that the museum also offers a number of picnic spaces, so if you would prefer to bring a packed lunch, you can enjoy it without having to leave. You could even pick a few treats in the local area to bring with you - the famous Hummingbird Bakery is just a short walk from the museum, for example.
There is also a cloakroom, where you can also leave bulky items such as buggies and bags, as well as various museum guides, including a kids' explorer book and a sticker activity book that's bound to go down well with younger visitors.
Planning your day at the Science Museum
The fantastic Science Museum is free to enter, and is open daily from 10am to 6pm (though you should bear in mind that last entry is at 5.15pm). However, a few attractions and activities inside carry a small fee, such as the IMAX 3D Cinema, simulators and special exhibitions, so it is always worth checking on the website before you visit.
The Science Museum is located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, and takes just ten minutes to reach from the Royal Garden Hotel. To get there, board the number 70 bus from the stop directly outside the hotel, or walk to High Street Kensington tube station to take the Circle Line from South Kensington.