A place where adults can let their inner child out and where children can role play being adults, the Think Tank Science Museum, situated five minutes from Bullring and Selfridges in Birmingham’s city center, is a living breathing encyclopedia.
Encouraging a hands-on approach to teach the young and the old about various aspects of the fascinating world that we inhabit, it makes the learning simultaneously fun and entertaining.
Think Tank is a multifaceted playground that consist of spacious models wherein children can act out various life professions like running a restaurant or being a doctor and then learn about our body via grand interactive displays on how an operation is conducted or how food is digested by the body in various stages.
There is something for everyone, with almost all fields of science getting equal consideration, be it engineering, biology, or evolution, there is something that is sure to interest you and your little one.
Spread over 4 floors and a Science Garden, there is so much information packed into the space that it keeps your brain alert and active – forcing you to make use of all your senses – throughout your stay with an overflow of information from every direction. For those living locally, it might be a good idea to buy a yearly pass, as it allows you to visit the complex throughout the year and this gives the holder an opportunity to break up experiencing all that Think Tank has to offer over numerous visits.
The Think Tank also houses a rather busy and popular planetarium. While we were lucky enough to catch a show, school trips, who I am told pay extra, get preference and thus for an everyday visitor, one has to wait in line to get a chance, if at all they do get one.
Nevertheless, for those lucky few who do manage to attend the shows, they are once again interactive, informative and encourage the audience to participate wholeheartedly by shouting the answers, which the kids simply loved. The show we viewed, Stars and Stories, was enjoyed equally by my then four-year-old daughter and her grandmother.
I visited Think Tank with my family and while there is ample to do, most of the information is geared towards the slightly older kids. Still, it is a great way to introduce the basics of science to the younger minds, as my daughter walked around fascinated with all the lights and sounds that made the displays interactive and exciting. There is information available all around, so if adults take a little interest in explaining the workings of the different science projects on display to the kids, the time spent can be even more productive.
The highlight of the massive complex is the Science Garden, which is a recent addition. Not a huge area, it still has some exciting and fun activities for the kids, especially water games and other experiments that require larger space.
Visiting Think Tank is a wonderful way to spend a knowledgeable day out with the family. While the adults can get an insight into the wonders of science that we take for granted in our day to day lives, the children have a plethora of information that they can easily grasp and apply to the education they receive in their schools.
TIPS WHEN PLANNING YOUR VISIT:
When we visited Think Tank, we were disappointed to find out that some of the floors were closed due to maintenance. We weren’t aware of this as we booked and bought our tickets online. So, it is always a good idea to call and check before you plan your travel since the entry ticket remains the same whether certain parts are closed or not.
The Planetarium is extremely busy, so check with the times of the shows and be at the gate a good 30 minutes before start. Even if you are the first person in line, you are not guaranteed a spot, since paying school trips get preference.
When visiting the Think Tank, remember to keep the entire day free. There is a lot to see and experience and it would be a waste if you hurry past all the various displays and activities. There are places to eat, or you can always have a small picnic in the recently refurbished gardens nearby or even catch a film at The Giant Screen, all of which are in the complex. The film tickets obviously cost extra.
Think Tank is also popular with schools and a number of school groups frequent the facilities regularly. If crowds are not your thing, you can always call up ahead and check with them if anything is planned and then plan your trip accordingly. It is also good to reach early and then work your way up floor by floor.
The Science Garden is once again very popular and fun. Try and make that the day you visit Think Tank is clear and it is not going to rain – although we all know how unpredictable British weather is.
Also, the Science Garden is open to the public, without cost, for a certain time limit every day. If you do not plan to visit the Think Tank, you can always play around in the garden during this time.
Think Tank is a wondrous place that provides the right balance of fun and education. If you have kids, don’t miss out on it!