On trips to England we love to visit the many museums that call London home. Many of them are so large it will take more than one day to see them in their entirety and the majority of London’s museums offer free admission to the main parts of the museums which is great for visitors to the city. There are parts of the museum that require paying a fee, but most of the museum is open to the public without a fee. With as expensive as London is, this is a pretty nice thing to take advantage to fill your days with fun!
One museum we have been to over and over is the London Science Museum. It is an amazing museum where you could spend an entire day and still not see everything. There is something for everyone here, even people who think they might not like science museums very much!
There are several exhibits that are on permanent display and I will mainly cover those as they don’t really change. They are also long time favorites. For the rotating exhibits make sure you visit their website to see what is most up to date and on display.
When you walk in you will first see the gift shop and after that you will be in the Energy Hall. This part of the building is chock full of various vehicles and most use a type of steam engine. This is especially cool for us because my husband’s grandfather used to build working models of steam engines and so we appreciate this hall and all of the development that we are surrounded with.
When my son was younger he was fascinated by flight and space. He had all sorts of questions about the subject. We followed the various Mars Rovers and the ISS. The Exploring Space exhibit was incredible in helping him learn how astronauts live in space, showed him different capsules, satellites and rockets, and gave him the chance to try to work with nuts and bolts while wearing astronaut gloves. He says it is much much harder than it looks! As he has grown his interests are shifting to dark matter and black holes and I think on the next trip over we will need to make another trip to the Science Museum to help in answering those questions!
A favorite spot for most visitors to the museum is the area called The Secret Life of the Home. Have you ever had to explain how the toilet works to your child? This covers the subject and they get to see it in action. It was really brilliant because after seeing this, there were no more questions at all (on toilets – it hasn’t stopped his questions and we encourage a curious kid)! The exhibit takes you through a history of our creature comforts in the home and shows you how they work on the inside. There are super complex locking mechanisms, various stages of vacuum cleaners, Plus, you get a little glimpse into the English life. Check out their selection of tea maker alarm clocks from the 60s and 70s.
There is an entire exhibit dedicated to learning about DNA that tries to answer the question, Who Am I? It explains how people differ, how we are similar, and why we aren’t a bunch of chimps! It also teaches how we are able to adapt to different situations. One of our son’s favorite things in that section was trying to virtually drive a car, but the car went the opposite direction from the way you steer. It was tough! There are other games that test our limits and what our brains are able to process. It was humbling!
There are 2 sections that are great for younger scientists. The Pattern Pod which is a multi-sensory area for kids 8 and under and The Garden is a special space for kids 3 to 6 years old to explore the themes of construction, water, light and sound. Both spaces allow the children to experiment with science in a way that is tailored to their learning capabilities. Both spaces are interactive, but in the Garden you can get wet and in the Patter Pod you can explore water without water.
The museum has an IMAX theater, which is fee-based, featuring several movies each day. See their website for an up to date schedule of movies.
The museum also has a snack bar offering all kinds of different foods. Spending a day here can really work up an appetite!
We highly recommend this museum to anyone heading to London. There are so many fun things to explore and learn and it will keep everyone busy all day!