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Wallace And Gromit Present… A World Of Cracking Ideas. Life Science Centre. Newcastle

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We’d been very excited about this, so much so, that we’d actually planned to visit on the day it opened, (Saturday 16 April), but due to a very unfortunate last minute financial hiccup, we had to postpone. So we decided instead to hang on till half term when we were advised that there’d be even more to do…

“As a half term ‘special’ ‘Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention’ workshops are included in the admission price. They’re suitable for ages 7+ and run throughout the day.”

Great… sounds right up our (West Wallaby) Street, seeing as my daughters a big fan of the plasticine megastars, and a mere three weeks off her 7th birthday.  So armed with pocketfuls of cash, a bottle of water and, with one of the hottest days of the year beating down on us, we set off.

I need to add, it’s not a particularly cheap day out. Tickets for adults are a tenner each, kids are seven pounds and you know you’ve also got to eat at some point. Also remember…the only way you can actually get to the exit doors is by going through the gift shop.

So let me tell you how the entrance experience went… (Once we were relieved of our entrance fees.)

“Do we mind that our ticket price includes a “voluntary” donation to the Life Centre?”

“.. err No!!… I don’t suppose so! “

“Also unfortunately today the Motion Simulator Ride isn’t working!”

“… err OK!”

“And how old are you dear?”

Six!

“You actually need to be seven to take part in the World of Invention Workshops!”

“That’s ok. She’s seven in 3 weeks time!”

No.. I’m sorry you have to be seven, it’s not us it’s the BBC, that’s the rule; there’s small parts that could be dangerous to someone under seven. “

“But I’ll be there!.. and anyway what difference does 3 weeks make?”

“I’m sorry sir that’s the rule!”

So… not exactly the best start. Then as per usual in any visit to the Life Science Centre, we got lost trying to find the entrance to the exhibition. But after a few wrong turns we were there! A full size house front, marking the entrance, and once inside there’s gadgets and models and displays galore. It’s all quite fun and hands on. Though not all the displays were fully functional and a few exhibits were showing the tell tale signs of being hammered by kids for a month solid. (We also tried to do a bit of colouring in the kitchen, but were limited to the fact that we could only find orange and a yellow felt pens that actually worked.)

The Aardman sets however were fascinating. Actual sets in glass cases as used in various WAG outings… which gives an insight (in case you didn’t know!) into the meticulous level of detail that goes into the award winning, stop-motion classics. There was a lot of stuff about copyright and intellectual property that didn’t interest a seven year old… (sorry… a not quite seven year old) Noticed “The Intellectual Property Office” are one of the main sponsors… so, good luck in trying to make that one appealing to kids. Then out of nowhere, they turned up… Wallace and Gromit… and so much bigger than I’d expected them to be too!!

So a few more exhibits… enjoyed the “Half Baked Ideas”, glass hammer, dog biscuit bowl. Then upstairs into a large play area. Plasticine workshop , softplay and a kitchen, garden, recycling themed play area that went down extremely well. Then we ate in the little cafe, which was also quite pleasant, before having a quick look around the ground floor of the Life Centre, in the vain hope that they might of updated their own exhibition with something equally as exciting. (Answer… Not really!)

On the way out, we thought we’d give it one more chance at trying to persuade the staff to see sense and let us into one of their workshops to which they surprisingly succumbed! So we finally got a mini science lesson on friction and pulleys and a little science project to make at home… which actually redeemed the day!

Big blockbuster exhibitions like Wallace and Gromit (and Doctor Who last year), are great for the area, but I can’t help wishing that other displays outside of these events were as interactive and hands on, as some other science centres.

The exhibition is on till the end of October. Tickets are £9.95 for adults, £6.95 for children under 17, FREE for under 4’s and also family discount tickets at £27.80. Be warned that height and age restrictions apply to certain exhibits.

www.life.org.uk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone/wallaceandgromit/

By Dave on June 10, 2011


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