This term at school L is learning all about space. He’s always been really interested in planets and stars so with the focus being on space we decided it was time for a visit to the National Space Centre in Leicester.
Getting there was fairly straight forward and I was really impressed with the amount of parking available. There is a charge of £3 per day so remember to take some pennies for the machines.
There was no queue for tickets at the entry, you can book online which I can imagine would save time when its busy. By this stage L was really eager to get exploring so we grabbed our map and off we went.
The centre is inside one very large open plan building that is divided into different sections. It’s quite dark inside which is great for all the graphics and really adds to the atmosphere! You are immediately greeted by the Soyuz satellite that is suspended above the entry!
We started with the planets section which has lots of fun interactive things for little hands. L particularly loved driving the Mars rover! We spent ages learning about how heavy a can of beans would be on each of the eight planets and the sun.
Exploring the universe focuses on the formation of the universe, planets, stars and about different civilisations throughout history who used stars and cosmos in every day life. L loved learning about black holes and the 3D map of the stars was amazing.
We then made our way into the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium for a Tour of the Night Sky. We found it very interesting but I think it went over L’s head. There are different shows that play each day.
Next up was Orbiting Earth which has a giant globe as a centrepiece. It was great pointing out all the places we had visited. We learned about satellite technology and how they make a difference to our everyday lives! There is also has a fun interactive weather pod where you can actually present your very own weather report and watch it back on the big screen! Littler children would need adult assistance here as there is reading involved.
We then spent time learning about space oddities. There was an awesome touch screen table that had some much information detailing little known facts about space history. We got to see some real mission badges. Something L was excited about because one of his school projects this term is to design a mission badge.
Our tummies were rumbling by this so we grabbed a bite to eat at the Boosters Cafe. There is a range of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and a few hot items to choose from. We found the prices quite reasonable. The nachos were delicious!
Once our bellies were full we decided to head to the Rocket Tower! This is a rather impressive extension to the main centre, this semi transparent tower is 42 metres in height and is home to The Blue Streak and Thor Able rockets, as well as the Gagarin Experience, Apollo Lunar Lander and real Moon Rock!
L was a bit nervous in the tower at first, the rockets are so huge you feel dwarfed. We took the lift to the very top for a closer look and then walked down the stairs to all the different areas. There was so many interactive things to do in the towers everything from landing your own shuttle to making a rocket take off.
We headed back into the main centre after spending a good hour in the tower. Next up we went “Into Space” which was probably my favourite part. Here we learned how to be astronauts. We experienced the sensation of blast off on the launch couch. We explored the Columbus module, learned how to complete experiments in space and most importantly how astronauts use the toilet!
After going into space we then landed on Europa, Jupiters icy moon. Stationed at the Tranquillity Base, we became members of the All Earth Space Agency. We mined for moon rock, learned how to control jet boosters, made sure the base had enough supplies for the mission. Each task had a barcode scanner, on entry we were given a ticket that we had to scan at each activity in the tranquillity base. At the end you scanned the ticket and the scores were calculated and you were then allocated your ideal role onboard the base. It was really busy inside the base, unfortunately we didn’t get to try everything but we really enjoyed it. There are high restrictions for same of the activities.
After leaving Europa we made a short stop at the Cargo Bay gift shop. L purchased some space rocks with his pennies. We found the shop to be quite expensive but there is a good range of space related toys and souvenirs to choose from.
Sadly it was time to leave and head back to the car. Not before stopping to look at some of the space curiosities on display outside the centre.
We really enjoyed our first visit to the National Space Centre. It’s a definite must see when your visiting Leicestershire!
Good to know –
Ticket prices (correct July 2019)
Adults – £15
Children (5-16) – £12
Concessions – £12
Under 5 – Free
Parking – £3 per day
(please note that tickets are valid for one year, meaning you can return as many times as you want within that year)
Monday to Sunday 10am-5pm
Be sure to check out the National Space Centre website for a list of special events that take place throughout the year!
Thanks for reading
Pin for later
Disclaimer – this was not a paid review. We purchased our own tickets to the National Space Centre. Our thoughts and opinions are our own.