The Winchester Science Centre is a place that myself and Christian enjoyed when we visited many years ago and were looking forward to visiting again. But has it improved or changed much? Below I have listed the pros and cons of our visit to the Winchester Science Centre.
As a family-friendly science and discovery center, it offers an experience through interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, and hands-on activities. As I already said I recently had the pleasure of visiting the center, and I must say it was an average experience.
To start with the Winchester Science Centre’s building itself is a fantastic sight! It looks very modern and futuristic and is one that you can see from a distance. Upon entry, I was greeted by a member of staff who we showed our tickets of entry. However, she did not ask about the parking ticket we had pre-purchased so not sure why this was needed. And you probably already guessed that yes this is a big negative that I have listed below.
The interactive exhibits at the Science Centre are the main experience. Each exhibit explains different science things and for children, some are enjoyable. They cover physics, biology, space, technology, and more. The hands-on approach encourages active learning, which our son enjoyed.
The center had live science demonstrations that were short, but pretty cool. So let’s take a look at some of our pros and cons and our honest personal review.
Winchester Science Centre Pros:
1. Engaging and Interactive Exhibits
The Winchester Science Centre offers a diverse range of interactive exhibits that make learning about science enjoyable and accessible for visitors of all ages. The hands-on approach encourages active participation and deepens understanding.
There was a variety of different things and topics covered which should keep the kids entertained for a little while.
Our son’s favourite was the construction area where they can dress up as builders and build foam bricks, also moving them using the crane.
2. Educational Shows
The state-of-the-art planetarium provides an immersive experience that takes visitors on captivating journeys through space. The stunning visual and auditory effects create a sense of wonder and fascination.
However, there is now a cost to go inside the Planetarium. But there was another show that we watched which involved fire so the kids loved that!
3. Knowledgeable and Enthusiastic Staff
Our experience with the center’s staff members was great. They were all friendly and the ones that gave talks/did the shows were passionate and knew what they walk talking about. And were great at encouraging the kids.
4. Family-Friendly Environment
The Winchester Science Centre is an ideal destination for a day out for families with children. The exhibits and activities are designed to engage kids and encourage their interest in science.
There was also a small play area for the young ones and outdoor areas to explore. As we went in the school holidays they had a music makers tent and a few activities put on for the children.
5. Wide Range of Scientific Topics
If it is something that interests you, then the center covers an impressive amount of different scientific subjects, including physics, biology, astronomy, and technology.
Or if your kids are like my son, they just want to press all the buttons and “play” with everything!
Winchester Science Centre Cons:
1. Limited Opening Hours and Crowded During Peak Times
The same goes for most places, but the Science Centre can get crowded during weekends and holidays, which may lead to longer wait times for exhibits and planetarium shows, reducing the overall enjoyment of the visit.
The worst part is that you can only go on school holidays or weekends, as they are not open during term time. So there is no option to go on a quieter day if you are looking for a less busy time to visit.
2. Exhibits all too similar
As we mentioned in our pros, there was a huge variety of topics covered and lots of exhibits. However, they had more buttons than fun interactive pulley things, etc than we remember.
In the downstairs space section, most of the exhibits were simply pressing buttons so our son got bored very quickly. We also seemed to get around the museum very quickly as he was getting bored, so I don’t think this is a great place for younger kids especially under 5’s.
3. Lady dusting during opening hours
We are not the ones to moan at people just simply doing their jobs, but this was quite frustrating. When we arrived and started looking around the exhibits she had her long feather duster out and was dusting along the top of them all.
Unfortunately, there was a lot of dust coming off and she seemed to be following us. So we and the baby were getting covered in dirt and dust. Perhaps she could have done this later on or when no one was around.
4. Expensive day out and extra charges
It isn’t very cheap to go to the Science Museum and this is made worse by the fact that when you purchase your tickets, the website then keeps asking you to add things on for an additional price.
You now have to pay quite a bit of money per person to watch another show, go to the planetarium, and also they charge for parking!
5. More cafe and tables than exhibits
Downstairs half of the space was taken up by the soft play area and cafe area with a lot of tables. We feel like it was wasted space. The soft play area was also very cramped and tiny and not that clean.
The cafe upstairs also took up a lot of room where they could easily put more exhibits instead. We would not pay that much money to visit a cafe.
6. Lift out of order
Although this cannot be helped, if you are like us and want to take a pushchair/pram then the only way up and down the floors is by using the lift. It was out of order but we were told we could ask any member of staff to help us carry out pram down the stairs.
When it came to us switching floors, there were never any members of staff to be seen. So had to struggle with our heavy pram ourselves.
7. Gift Shop Pricing
The prices of merchandise and souvenirs at the gift shop might be considered high by some visitors, making it less appealing for those on a budget.
All in all, the Winchester Science Centre is a fun adventure into the world of science. It is great for visitors of all ages, making it an ideal destination for families and school groups. It is situated just off the M3 and is very easy to get to!
The combination of interactive exhibits and knowledgeable staff make for an educational and enjoyable experience!
However, it is quite pricey. Especially when you add on the parking and other shows. And you will probably be done in about 1-2 hours so it’s probably not a whole day out with the kids. We probably won’t go again until our eldest son is a few years older, and that’s only if the prices haven’t dramatically increased again.