Every year sometime in late November or December we like to trip out to somewhere festive. Over the years we have been to York, Stratford upon Avon and Durham for the day. I love all of those places but this year the weather has not been conductive to spending the day with the children out in the open. Instead we opted for something a bit different and most importantly inside – so off to Eureka! The National Children's Museum we went.
I've been to children's museums before and whilst I have enjoyed getting nostalgic over seeing the Little Professor calculator I don't think they have been that fun for the kids. They seem to have lots of displays with toys locked away in tall glass cabinets and an overall hushed tone. I honestly thought Eureka! would be set up in a similar fashion but I couldn't have been more wrong.
My daughter had been before on a school trip and she knew to head straight to the bank. As Eureka!is in Halifax it was only fitting that the bank was set up as a branch of Halifax as well. If you go to the counter you can get a bank card which can then be used to draw Eureka! notes out of the cask machine. After that it was time to have a look in the safe. There are security cameras just outside so you can watch the images of people coming in and out of the safe and if anyone is trying to steal from it. Who knew that being in a bank could be so much fun?
Once you have your Eureka! money you can pop across to the Marks and Spencer food shop to stock up on goodies. There's small trolleys and the idea is pick out 5 items for a healthy shop before taking it all to be scanned. Next door is the Post Office where you can post letters and also deliver them around the town.
If you go upstairs from Post Office there starts the beginning of the house. You can see how a toilet works when you flush it (really it isn't as gross as it sounds!). There's explanations of how much electricity is needed is required to operate kitchen equipment. This all may sound a bit dull but when you can touch the displays, flick the switches and get your hands wet then suddenly it all becomes far more interesting.
The Junior JibberJabbers then rushed down to the garage area where Master JabberJabber was able to realise his long held ambition of being able to fill up a car with 'super petrol'. Meanwhile Miss JibberJabber was busy changing tyres and checking a car over for its MOT.
One of the great things about Eureka! is that it is huge and everything is well spread out so you're not constantly bumping into people and if you have a pushchair or wheelchair you can manoeuvre round quite easily. There's several galleries with different themes and types of hands on exhibits. We went jumped, stretched and measured our way through the All About Me zone. In the SoundSpace sweet and not so sweet music was composed. Usually in museums I seem to be constantly telling the kids not to touch things but here it is positively encouraged!
Being December there are a few Christmas decorations about but more importantly Santa was sitting in his grotto! There is an extra charge of £3 per child but without spoiling the surprise I have say that if you went to buy the gifts from the goody bag yourself you would struggle to get change from your £3. Great value and despite the five year age gap between my two they were both very pleased with their gift.
On a practical note we took our own lunch and there is proper designated picnic area. It's by the Archimedes' bath feature and of course it is Archimedes that the exclamation of Eureka! is attributed to. On every hour and half hour Archimedes dips himself into the bath and the principle of the Archimedes' Screw is demonstrated. We drove to Eureka! and parked in car park shared by Halifax train station which is next door. We paid at reception for the parking which was £3 for 4 hours and you definitely need at least four hours.
When we left Master JibberJabber said he was sad he was going as he had enjoyed it so much. The day admission can be upgraded to an annual pass for free which means you can go back as many times as you want throughout the year. There was an outside area which we didn't even look at as it was raining so much so there is plenty to go back and see on nicer days. All in all a great all-weather attraction for all the family.
We received a day pass from Eureka! but all my words, opinions and photographs are my own.