So Christmas is over and it’s those strange few days before New Year where keeping the family entertained can be challenging! I thought I would share our review of Eureka with you as a possible day out idea for which is bound to be a hit with the whole family.
I visited the Eureka Children’s Museum in Halifax over the Summer with two of my children after hearing amazing things from friends and family for years and never having the opportunity to visit before. Billed as the UK’s leading hands-on children’s museum and combined with what I had been told I felt it had a lot to live up to!
Not being from the area I relied on my Sat Nav to get us there and upon arrival I was sure it was up to its old tricks, sending me to random places AGAIN! Situated next to Halifax railway station my Sat Nav had directed us to a pay and display car park and Eureka is tucked right at the bottom. From the outside the building didn’t really look very inviting, however as we walked closer we saw that outside there is a very large play area with a huge sandpit – on the day we visited it was boiling hot and plenty of people were enjoying this area and it is all free! We found the entrance tucked away around the corner thanks to the colourful sign and made our way inside.
Entrance to the museum was £12.95 each (over 3’s) which I thought was a pretty good price, however I was told whilst paying that our tickets then become an annual pass allowing holders unlimited visits for the year! Now we live in Cumbria and the chances of us being back down in the area again within the year are fairly slim but for those that live closer it’s a bargain!
Once all paid up and inside the foyer my initial thought was that it didn’t look very big and that perhaps the full day I had planned may not be achievable, however I couldn’t have been more wrong! We spent the whole day and could quite easily have gone back the following day to explore some more if we hadn’t been heading home.
The first area’s we explored were the Soundspace and the Soundgarden. It struck me immediately that this was different from other places we have visited of the same ilk as literally everything was child level and they could easily use and interact with all of the exhibits without parents having any fears about breakages. The Soundspace had heaps of interactive displays about music, sound, technology, lighting and much more. Both children enjoyed this area however I felt a lot of the ‘learning’ was over Leo’s head as he is only three – he had just as much fun though pressing all the buttons! The Soundgarden is an area dedicated to under 5 ‘s and offers a multi-sensory experience within a giant garden. We all enjoyed smelling and feeling the displays and Leo loved dressing up. Our favourite part of the garden though was being able to create and design our very own butterfly on the computer and seeing it fly onto the screen to join other visitor’s creations.
We then went upstairs to explore the All About Me area which does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a vast area dedicated to inside the human body and finding out all about how it works. There are areas for literally every part of the body and everything is hands-on and interactive. The kids really enjoyed the area all about teeth and the mouth- Leo loved dressing as a dentist and subjecting his sister to numerous examinations!
Also upstairs we discovered the Spark Gallery containing a whole host of interactive digital displays. The kids made their own dance video by having a range of photos taken in different positions before being put together to make a completed video. We also spent a lot of time using the interactive art which allowed us to become digital ‘monsters’ on the screen that moved in time with us – it was very cool!
Unwittingly we saved the best till last as we then made our way down to the Living and Working together area on the ground floor. This area is just amazing! It is basically a little town for kids comprising of a Halifax Bank, a Marks & Spencer’s supermarket, a Post Office, a car garage and a house! Although I would say this area is aimed at younger visitors it was plain to see that even the parents were loving the role play! We scanned shopping, withdrew cash from the cash machine (an exact replica of the one at the REAL bank!), pretended to be bank robbers in the vault, stamped parcels, changed tyres and pumped petrol for hours! Inside the house we were able to see the workings of the inside of the bath and toilet and learn all about the boiler and electrics too as well as watching ‘TV’ and making food. If I’m honest I would have paid the entrance fee for this area alone as I loved it just as much as the kids! Everything felt realistic just sized down for the children allowing them to experience everything first hand.
We ate at the museum café whilst visiting which offers a range of hot and cold lunches to suit everyone. It was reasonably priced and tasty. The service was efficient and friendly just what was needed for a pit stop to recharge the batteries.
As I previously said we spent the whole day there from opening time to practically kicking out time and still felt there was so much more we could have done – it’s definitely not a place you can do everything in one day! The whole experience couldn’t have been better – the museum was clean and well-kept and all the staff we came into contact with were friendly helpful and knowledgeable what more do you want? The museum is focused on learning through play and I feel that is exactly what the children (and me) achieved and that if we made subsequent visits there would always be more to learn.
Having children on different ages – teen to toddler – we sometimes struggle to find a day out with something for the everyone however I would highly recommend giving Eureka a visit as I didn’t hear a single moan all day!
Plan your visit: www.eureka.org.uk