Typically, the Saturday of our recent trip to Hampshire was wet. We needed to find something to entertain the Tin Box girls and their older cousins that also allowed us to avoid the rain. Winchester Science Centre was the perfect solution. This indoor family attraction is the perfect thing to do on rainy days in Hampshire.
Here’s our review:
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Visiting Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium
Our visit was perfectly timed with Science Week during which the Centre was unravelling some of the science behind Science Fiction.
Star Wars cosplay characters greeted us at the entrance and were wandering around all day posing for selfies and giving plenty of high fives.
You’ll find lots of additional activities on during the school holidays.
Find out more about Winchester Science Centre’s events.
Things to do at the Science Centre
There are dozens of hands-on experiments suitable for primary and secondary school kids spread over two floors.
Tot, who was five at the time, was just about old enough to get some of the concepts while three-year-old Baby was more interested in banging ALL the buttons.
They both enjoyed the interactive exhibits:
- The Colon Cafe – a journey through the intestine to learn about good and bad bacteria with plenty of sound effects and ‘poo’ to squeeze
- Explorer: Space – a huge collection of space experiments and a chance to ‘put on’ an Extravehicular Mobility Unity (EMU)
- and the Little Big Room – which messes with your mind by playing with perspective.
Tot loves crafts and the Invention Studio give her the chance to chop, colour and stick. This is where you can also try science activities like make a rocket or programme a robot.
Grown ups need not worry about being bored during their visit as there’s plenty to amuse adults at Winchester Science Centre too.
While we were there Airbus had a VR headset for people to try out. Mr TB had great fun on this. We all enjoyed the immersive experiences and the planetarium show.
The centre has had a refit since out visit. Visit the website to find out about the latest activities.
There’s an extra fee for going to a planetarium show during your visit to Winchester Science Centre but we thought it was worth it.
The 30 minute show we saw was a journey though our solar system geared towards kids.
The aim was to spark their curiosity: everyone can be an astronaut and explore the stars if they work their imagination. Winchester has the UK’s largest capacity digital planetarium and it was quite impressive.
Be aware that the auditorium goes dark and the 360 show might make you feel a little disorientated. Tot and Baby were fine but did start to get a bit fidgety towards the end.
The good thing about taking kids in is that they can chatter – there’s only a few screenings that are ‘quiet’.
Winchester Science Centre with toddlers
We’re just about past the toddler phase but I still have an eye out for things that make it easy for visit an attraction with young children. Winchester Science Centre is well set up for toddlers.
There’s boxes and steps for kids to reach higher experiments, building blocks beside the cafe area, baby changing, kids toilets as well as adult ones, and a lift to get between the floors with pushchairs.
There’s also a soft play area.
The Science Centre has a cafe with food at reasonable prices. There were kids lunch box meals including a sandwich, drink and three snacks, jacket potatoes, panini and nachos.
You can also save money and bring your own picnic. There’s plenty of indoor seating around the centre where you can eat your own food.
How long do you need for Winchester Science Centre?
If you incorporate a planetarium show and visit at a weekend or during the school holidays, when there are live science shows, you could easily fill a day.
If your kids have short attention spans and you live locally then the £45 membership fee is good value. Visit three times in a year and you’ve covered the cost.
Winchester Science Centre parking
You do need to pay for parking outside the Science Centre. The ticket machines took cash and cards when we visited.
Winchester Science Centre prices
Check the Science Centre’s website for the latest ticket prices.
When is the Science centre open?
You’ll find Winchester Science Centre open on weekends and during school holidays. For full details check the website.
Where is Winchester Science Centre
You’ll find the science centre on Telegraph Way, Winchester SO21 1HZ. It’s three miles outside the city in the South Downs National Park but is well signposted.
Winchester Science Centre review
Why have we never been to Winchester Science Centre before?! It was a great way to spend a rainy day in Hampshire and give the kids a science lesson.
We thought it was brilliant fun for the whole family with activities to entertain visitors aged five to 65 and beyond.
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