We are really lucky to have Stockwood Discovery Centre almost on our doorstep. Entry to the main park is free (parking is free too) and there’s lots of space to run, explore and play or have a picnic. There are several galleries to wander around that feature artefacts from the local area, the large Mossman collection of carriages and there’s a children’s play area. Stockwood Discovery Centre also has a small exhibition space which is home to the Interactive Science exhibition until Sunday 8th September 2019. Entry to the exhibition is £3.50, children 5 years old and under are free but children under 5 years of age are not permitted to use the machines. The exhibition is recommended for children 7 years old +.
Once inside the exhibition there was a clever machine to help children explore air pressure with a tube and a floating ball. It was busy and we had to wait a little while to use each machine but everyone was patient and we had a few attempts at getting the floating ball all the way to a basket on the opposite side of the display table.
Next, we tried our best to complete the giant buzz wire game. Along one wall stretched a series of metal loops and swirls and the challenge was to move the metal wand along the loops and swirls without touching and completing an electrical circuit. This was really difficult to complete successfully but we had fun trying and it made the concept of electrical circuits very interactive. None of the machines are suitable for children under 5 years old, so my littlest cheered us on with our attempts and was surprisingly easy-going despite not being able to join in with the actual activity. I’m not sure what we would have done if he had been less understanding, so be aware if you intend to take younger siblings!
Next we had the tricky task of putting all the internal organs back inside a model of a human torso. After doing this activity I’m very glad that my 8 year old isn’t practising any kind of medicine. At least he now knows the difference between a kidney and a lung!
The plasma balls in the central zone of the exhibition were hypnotic and are supposed to demonstrate that we can conduct electricity… I think?? The tendrils are attracted to your fingers when you CAREFULLY place your hands on the GLASS ball. Can you tell that I was repeatedly reminding eldest that they are MADE OF GLASS! Fascinating, but not entirely relaxing for the adults in charge.
We made our way over to a little bridge that you can walk over and in the middle of the bridge you can walk across a see-through platform over a deep and dark hole. It looks like a lift shaft that goes on forever. How deep is it really though? Take a closer look and you will see the mirrors that create the illusion of an endless tunnel.
There was also a mirror that could change into a window because of… magnets? Who knows really, at this point the buttons to press and things to touch were just far too interesting and even I had stopped reading the information next to each exhibit.
The final zone had an earthquake simulator, so you could find out what it feels like to experience a quake. I had a go on this and I can tell you from personal experience that if I ever experience an earthquake I will need a more secure brassiere.
There was also a Van De Graff Generator which can create enough static electricity to make your hair stand on end, if your hair is fine enough. This was the only machine that didn’t really work for us as eldest’s hair seems to be too thin, or too short, for the static electricity to have an effect.
It only took us about 25 minutes to explore each of the machines in the exhibition so we went around a second time and spent about 45 minutes in the exhibition space.
Afterwards we got some fresh air in the gardens. The boys ran around and collected sticks in the wooded areas and ran around the formal gardens. We really enjoyed the Dig for Victory garden and had a good look at the Anderson Shelter, the chickens and the privy. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables to settle down for a picnic and I was glad I had brought provisions as the cafe was absolutely full to bursting. Then we explored the galleries and brushed up on local history from the Neolithic era to Roman settlers and Medieval England.
It was time to head home after spending nearly three hours discovering, learning, climbing and running. Stockwood Discovery Centre is always high on the list for a great visit that is easy on the pocket.
The Interactive Science exhibition runs from now until 8th September 2019 at
Stockwood Discovery Centre, London Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 4LX
No disclosure needed. We paid for entry and enjoyed the experience so I’m sharing my thoughts with you.