Last week, I took my 7 year old and 4 year old to Wonderlab at the Science Museum.
Wonderlab is the Science Museum’s new permanent exhibit for children. It’s super hands-on and interactive, with the feel of a fun, educational playground.
The Garden in the basement of the Science Museum has been a long time favourite with toddlers and preschoolers, Wonderlab is the equivalent for school-aged children.
There is a good mix of physical activities for those who like a playground vibe, and more intricate sit down tasks for those who like constructing or quiet creative tasks.
There are demonstrations and shows taking place frequently all throughout the day at Wonderlab (we watched 3 shows during our 3 hours at the Wonderlab).
The staff were great at getting involved with the children, showing them how certain parts of the exhibit work – the man who came out with ice lollies to help demonstrate the heat sensor to the children was VERY popular ; )
Here are some of my children’s favourite activities at Wonderlab:
The friction slides – three slides made of different materials. The children can slide down each one on a mat (like a helter skelter). The object is to work out which slide is the fastest.
The giant moving model of the earth orbiting the sun. I found this really useful to explain a concept that my children have struggled to grasp in the past.
The drinks machine game where you can choose to give your opponent a sip, or squirt them in the face.
The 3D shape puzzle challenges. My 7 year old spent a particular long time here, intent on solving every single one.
The seats where you winch yourself up, let go, and glide down gently thanks to the propellers above.
The giant wall where you use magnetic tubes and the power of gravity to build a course for a ball to run through. My children love this sort of construction play.
The Tesla Coil demonstration where you get to see lightening – very cool.
The shows – we found the quality of the shows well worth the price of the Wonderlab entrance fee. There is a show about electricity where crowd volunteers are used to make a human circuit, and one about fire and explosions where audience members get to create chemical reactions and loud bangs.
How much time do you need at Wonderlab?
I’d allow 4 hours if you are planning to make a day of it, fully explore everything on offer at Wonderlab, watch all the shows, and still leave time to revisit favourite Wonderlab activities.
Shorter visits can be done too, you will need at least 2 hours. We were there for 3 hours and could have happily stayed for longer.
Are there toilets in Wonderlab?
Yes! So no worries about needing to leave and re-enter the queue anytime someone needs the toilet
Can you buy food and drink inside Wonderlab?
There is no food or drink available to buy inside Wonderlab. You would need to leave and then re-enter the queue to come back in. Definitely bring drinks and snacks in to Wonderlab with you if you are planning to be there for a few hours.
What age is Wonderlab suitable for?
I think primary school age children get the most out of Wonderlab. Preschoolers will find lots of hands on things to do, but might benefit from a shorter visit combined with a trip to The Garden in the basement floor of the Science Museum. Even my toddler would have been very happily entertained inside Wonderlab, although he isn’t the target audience.
Are there any height restrictions at Wonderlab?
You have to be 1 metre tall to go on the slides
When is the best time to visit Wonderlab at the Science Museum?
First thing in the morning is your best bet to avoid queues. Expect a long queue after lunchtime, and on a weekend: queues anytime except first thing in the morning.
We visited after lunch on an inset day, which I expected to be quiet, but still had to queue for 20 minutes to get in to Wonderlab.
The good news is that because of the queue system and only a set number of people being allowed inside at any one time, it didn’t feel crowded at all for the time we were inside Wonderlab.
We really enjoyed our visit and will no doubt be back for more fun at the Science Museum’s Wonderlab very soon.
Images taken by Plastiques Photography