Saturday, 30 June 2018

Inspiring Little Minds {Ft. Eureka!}

Last weekend we took a drive to Halifax and I'm pretty sure me and Joe were even more excited than the kids...
We were invited to visit Eureka! The National children's museum which prides itself on being a completely interactive experience for kids. Joe visited before on a school trip (Many, many years ago.) but myself and the little guys have never been before. I've heard nothing but great things about this place since I was a child myself so I was really hoping it was going to live up to all that expectation!

It's a pretty exciting sight seeing this big building with a yellow brick road leading up to the main doors. The boys literally raced down it and once we got inside we could barely contain them to get our tickets sorted! We went on a fairly busy Saturday, though there was so much to do it didn't impact our enjoyment at all. I tried to take lots of photos but it wasn't easy when trying to avoid getting other people's children in the shot, so I apologise there isn't as many as I'd like. Then again I wouldn't want to spoil it for you either!

  On the bottom floor there is a large cafe and gift shop and the first of the galleries to explore. We started in the sound space which is full of hands on equipment - plenty of buttons to press and things to learn about sound. It includes an area just for under fives which is a soft play area that looks like a garden, little E loved it and we had a hard time getting him to move in to the next gallery!
The Spark gallery is amazing, it's all about interactive technology and digital art and stretches across the two floors. There was a really cool sculpture called "Brave Boy Billy" that came to life when looked at through a tablet, with each part telling a different story. The boys loved seeing themselves projected onto screens and using the webcams. There's a big screen with these Jelly fish like hands (?!)  that float about that they can put their own images onto- they both thought it was hilarious.
The ground floor also has the Living and Working together area, and the part I was most excited to see, the miniature town square. I would have absolutely loved this as a kid, but I love it as an adult too to be honest! There's a child sized bank where you can write cheques and use a cash machine, and the kids loved trying to get into the bank vault by guessing the codes. There's a mini Marks and Spencer where they can shop and work, a big play kitchen area, a post office and a garage where they can use the petrol pumps. The whole place is just so hands on, it couldn't be a better place for our two to run wild!
 Upstairs we started in the All About Me section. There's so much to see I don't think we could remember all the different areas. TJ is really into learning about the human body at the moment so he loved this bit, especially the big display showing food's journey through the human body. There's all kinds of hands on models to get kids learning through play about how their body works; like a giant nose, a tongue with light up taste-buds and a cycling skeleton. They can also see how an pregnancy ultrasound works and how babies grow. Little E is obsessed with brushing his teeth so being able to use a giant toothbrush on some massive teeth made his day!
The Creativity Space is just around the corner and by this point we were definitely ready for a sit down while the boys did some arts and crafts. It was Superhero week so they were doing superhero pictures with lots of gluing and sticking. I forgot to mention, they do a lot of themed days at Eureka; as it was Superhero week there were lots of people dressed up as characters walking about and talking to the kids and there were some themed activities going on on in the galleries like comic book writing and stop motion video making.
The Desert discovery area is a fun little area for under fives where they can have a run around exploring a miniature oasis with rocky hideaways. There's  more levers and cranks for them to play with and things for them to look at. Over in the next room is more of the Living and Working space; there's a bathroom with lots of water play and clear pipes so they can see where water goes when the toilet flushes or bath empties. I think that's what is so great about Eureka, that it's full of everyday things that kinds just want to try out and learn about. Kids love pressing buttons, pulling levers and doing all the things adults do. As much as we try to get them involved it's great for them to go somewhere they can just do everything by their-self and explore.
By the time we'd visited all the galleries we were ready for a rest and some snacks. The cafe is really big and light, and the perfect spot for coffee and cake. What I think is brilliant about the whole museum is how big and accessible it is. Everywhere is so spacious, there's handy points for leaving coats, and buggy parks so you don't have to drag pushchairs around the museum; although you can if you do need to bring one. It's really family friendly, but maybe most importantly, very child friendly. It feels so welcoming, the staff are attentive and helpful to everyone and there's just a real feeling of fun and creativity. There is such a huge emphasis on play and and creating an environment where children's imagination can flourish.
Overall we were so impressed with Eureka! It's an amazing place for everyone and we are already planning our return!

Have you visited Eureka! ?

NB Post in collaboration with Eureka who kindly invited us to their museum however all opinions are entirely our own.


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