Noah is ferociously curious about how things work. I get absolutely stumped by some of the questions he asks me: Why are tyres black? How does gravity work? Why are a plane’s propellers at the front and not at the back? (thank goodness for Google, right?) When I heard there was a children’s science museum in Birmingham, I just knew it would be the place to take him.
Upon arrival at Thinktank, Noah was immediately drawn to the Science Garden, an educational play area just outside the museum.
We went inside and found that Thinktank stretches over four floors. The planetarium show that we wanted to see was about to start so we headed straight up to the top floor.
Noah found the show engaging as it featured his favourite astronaut, Tim Peake. However, I was disappointed that when we finished the show, there were many space/tech exhibitions on that level that did not work. This problem cropped up a few times on other floors. Noah and I had used vouchers to get heavily discounted entrance tickets but I feel that if we had paid the full price for admission, I would not be impressed with the value for money.
Despite this disappointment, there was actually plenty for Noah to do and see. We spent a full day there and still didn’t manage to see everything. Here’s a few of the things we really liked about Think Tank:
Similar to the role play areas of the Eureka museum and Kidzania (you can read more about our visit to Kidzania, Dubai in this article), Kids’ City is a play area where youngsters can imagine themselves in grown-up professions. They can pretend they are dentists, midwives, receptionists, café owners and lots of other roles.
In addition to the exhibits, Think Tank offers a program of activities for the day. We decided to take part in a Lego challenge that was recommended for younger children. Each kid had a go at making their own vehicle, with a bit of help from parents, and then got to test it out for a bit. Such a simple idea but one that Noah and all the rest of the kids were completely engaged with and took very seriously!
Learning about the digestive system
This was of particular interest to Noah because it involved poo, which is apparently one of the funniest subjects in a five year old boy’s mind (along with farting, of course).
We found ourselves, later on in the day, on the fairly quiet first floor. There are lots of interesting and surprising facts on this floor about how things are made. We were lucky enough to catch a staff member sharing some artefacts from the museum’s archives that you could touch, feel and get a much closer look at.
Skulls and wildlife
It was hard not to be impressed by the gigantic Triceratops skull and the sheer size of the Giant Deer. The wildlife gallery also brought up a lot of interesting questions from Noah about taxidermy…
I actually had to drag Noah away from this. Another very simple idea of a conveyor belt with different types of ‘rubbish’ on it and a wall of recycling bins. The object of the game was to sort the rubbish out into the correct bins. This kept him occupied for over half an hour! Funny that he does not show the same enthusiasm for putting things in the bin at home!
We had some lunch in the café on the ground floor. I was impressed that they catered quite well to my dietary requirements (vegetarian, but on this occasion I scored a delicious vegan falafel and hummus sandwich). I also noticed there was a large indoor picnic area so bringing your own food is not a problem.
I found out the Science Garden is free after 3pm so if you happen to be in Birmingham but don’t have the time (or don’t want to) look round the whole museum then it’s a really lovely garden where kids can play and learn. It was pretty cold when we visited but I can imagine in the summer it would be an awesome place to hang out, especially with all the water play!
Visit Thinktank at Millennium Point, Curzon St, Birmingham B4 7XG, open 10 – 5 seven days a week.