Glasgow Science Centre
50 Pacific Quay
Tel: 0871 540 1000
Admission: Prices listed below
Opening hours: Daily 10am – 5pm
The Glasgow Science Centre is a brilliant day out for the whole family.
My kids absolutely love it, and I must admit, I enjoy it too! There are 3 main attractions within the Science Centre, each of which I have written a bit about below. These are the Science Mall (the interactive museum type bit which is home to the Scottish Power Planetarium), the Tower (sometimes called the Science Tower or the Glasgow Tower), and the IMAX cinema (Scotlands first 3-D cinema). When you visit the Science Centre you can go to just 1 of these parts, pick 2 to visit, or enjoy all 3.
The Science Mall
This is the biggest part of the Science Centre, which contains 3 floors packed full of interactive exhibits, the Scottish Power Planetarium, Science Show Theatre and Climate Change Theatre. The exhibits are such good fun for kids – mine just absolutely love playing with everything. These aim to educate kids in a really interactive and fun way in many different scientific fields, although there does seem to be a bias towards physics and engineering (which as a biologist I definitely noticed). The staff are really friendly and seem to love playing with the exhibits as much as the kids do. The staff also run workshops throughout the day which again are really interactive and fun. I took the kids on Easter weekend and they loved the Egg Drop Challenge workshop. I think their favourite one is the cockroach workshop though; for some reason they love patting them!
There are shows on throughout the day which again are really good for kids; you could potentially see anything from a body being dissected in a rather gross way (a fake one obviously) or someone setting fire to stuff. Some of the Science Shows are aimed at older kids though which can be a bit difficult, so make sure you check before you go to one of those. The climate change shows are a fun movie that you through – they dont have a presenter. But the kids still enjoyed that one with it’s cute sheep.
The Scottish Power Planetarium is amazing. A show is well worth the extra £2. You have to see it to understand what it’s like – it’s like getting taken away into space for half an hour. For the kids – it’s a great adventure, and for the adults, it’s really relaxing. The presenters are really nice and will happily answer your questions about their show or about the planetarium. Again, there are various shows on which are aimed at different age ranges, so check which ones are suitable before you go.
Even if you don’t do anything else, you should definitely do the Science Mall.
I love the Glasgow Tower. It boasts being the tallest freestanding structure in the UK at more than 100m, and the only structure in the world (apart from windmills) that can fully rotate 360 degrees – by that I mean that entire structure can turn – the whole Tower. The ride up in the lift is great fun – there are large windows so you can see out the whole way up which the kids seem to love. As the icing on the cake, the staff in the Tower are so knowledgeable about the history and geography of Glasgow. It really is a must for any tourist or interested resident.
It gets a bad name for not working and being closed all the time, but I think that’s a bit unfair. The reason it’s often closed is partly because of the weather; we all know that the weather in Glasgow is quite unpredictable, and if wind speeds get above 20mph then people can’t go up the Tower anymore. I think that is quite reasonable because the lifts are on the outside of the structure, and going up those for 2 and a half minutes in high winds would probably cause anyone to get pretty scared.
The IMAX is a 3-D cinema which also shows feature films like Transformers and Harry Potter. The screen is massive – something like the length of 3 buses and the picture and sound is an amazing experience. The 3-D movies are really good. If you haven’t seen one before then it is well worth it (as long as you pick a good one). And it’s great seeing the kids trying to catch stuff as it ‘comes out of the screen’. Just brilliant – there isn’t much more I can say about a cinema!
Other information On the ground floor, there is a cafe where you can get hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and snacks. There is also a restaurant/cafeteria which sells hot lunches, which can be quite delicious on occassion. There is also a gift shop which sells educational toys, plus all the regular stuff your kids might be keen on!
The ticket prices are a bit complicated (they seem to have made it even more complicated with their new ticket pricing), and they are impossible to find on their website, so I have tried to simplify it as much as possible below.
|Attraction||Adult *||Child/concession *|
|IMAX (feature film)||£8.95||£6.95|
|IMAX (45 min 3-D film)||£6.95||£4.95|
|If you buy Science Mall entry||Adult *||Child/concession *|
|IMAX (45 min 3-D film)||£2.50||£2.50|
|Season ticket **||£35||£25|
* All of these ticket prices include an approximate £1 gift aid donation. Gift aid allows tax relief on money donated to charities. So any amount donated will be treated as if it has had basic tax deducted already. Basically, charities like it and try to encourage you to gift aid. The last time I was there you got a voucher to spend within the Science Centre which I think was slightly more than the amount donated. Obviously you do have a choice, and if you don’t pay tax yourself then you cant gift aid.
** The season ticket prices are actually really good value. The season ticket gets you into the science mall and planetarium as many times as you like in a year. If you go 3/4 times in a year, you’ve pretty much made your money back.
Unfortunately they don’t have a deal for all 3 attractions. They say it’s because they don’t advise you doing all 3 attractions in a day as there is just too much to do. Although there is a lot to fit in, it is most definitely possible to do everything. I think it’s a shame that if you’re a visitor in Glasgow and can only spend one day in the Science Centre, it can be extremely expensive to do all 3 attractions with the present ticket rates/packages.