Why visit the Science Museum with kids in 2021?
We visited Science Museum in London right before the second lockdown. It is a fantastic place to take your kids to, lots of interactive features and almost all of it free. Prior to going I did however wonder how is it currently, how do the current restrictions work and is it corona-safe, so wanted to share my 2020 and 2021 experience with you guys.
Why you should visit the Science Museum with kids
This is a huge museum, with several floors and massive exhibitions. Some of the highlights for me were
- Exploring Space: space equipment on the ground floor, like the full-size replica of the lander Armstrong and Aldrin had in 1969, an actual descent module from another space mission, and many more space things;
- Mathematics: Winton Gallery on the Level 2 - a really fantastic exhibition and a fantastic place to take photos with a funky pink background (bloggers' gotta do what bloggers' do I suppose...);
- Free activities for kids! There was the Pattern Pod (kids under 8), a fun interactive exhibition for kids with lots of video and electronics interactivity and the Garden (best for ages 3-6) with water play and other equipment.
- Wonderlab - this is a paid for activity, spread over several zones and where you can interact with scientific experiments. I'd say best for 4 years or older. 3 and under are free.
- Fun and free workshops and shows for kids - during weekends and half-term usually. For example we did a functional stethoscope the last time.
And obviously - it is a great place to visit as an adult without kids, you'll probably just not have quite as much interactive fun and will be more enjoying learning aspect and awesome huge exhibitions.
How to get tickets?
I've found that since the museum is massive, it is quite easy to get tickets even with the current restrictions, BUT, if you want to get tickets to the interactive bits for kids, you HAVE TO be organised. They go very quick, and you have to book them well in advance, possibly even a month if you are planning a weekend date.
When you book your tickets to the museum, it will also ask you if you want to book a free 20 minute slot to Pattern Pod, and to the Garden - make sure you do if you are bringing kids.
For Wonderlab, you need to book separately and if you book for a visit before the 16th July 2021 you get an annual pass for the price of a day pass. At the time of writing all weekend slots are fully booked a month in advance so be quick. You will also need to book general entry tickets to the museum in addition to Wonderlab.
All slots are timed so don't be late!
What we thought of the safety measures
The ground floor was very very busy, but if you went up a level or two it got really very empty, so I'd definitely recommend that for added social distancing. There were definite gems on upper levels too.
The entrance was very handy, all touch free and you could easily scan your tickets on your own. Lots of spaces for hand sanitisers. Everything was very clean, and employees cleaned the children's interactive bits (Pattern Pod and Garden) thoroughly between the sessions.
And a little tip...
Natural History Museum (fantastic for kids!) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (better for teens and adults) are literally next door, like literally. It is just a couple minutes a walk from exit of one museum to the entrance of another, so if you want to maximise your time, book an additional museum visit. Natural History Museum tickets are being booked like hotcakes though so again, you need to be pretty prepared well in advance in these strange social distancing corona-times where space is limited.
My top tips:
- Upper floors are emptier, less people and less hustle and bustle.
- Book tickets well ahead of time if you want to go to Pattern Pod, The Garden or Wonderlab! They sell out quick, Wonderlab weeks in advance for weekends.
- If you book a visit to happen before 16th July 2021, you can get the annual pass to Wonderlab for the price of a day entry.
- Half term usually means extra activities - last time we made a functional stethoscope!
- If you have time, consider getting tickets also to Natural History Museum or Victoria and Albert Museum - they are literally next door to the Science Museum
- South Kensington Station (closest to the museums) is closed for Piccadilly line until March 2022 - but you can still reach it with Circle or District.