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Take the kids to … Life Science Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

In a nutshell
Touching exhibits is encouraged at this immersive hub for budding scientists; and note the absence of “museum” in its name. The dome-shaped hall is split into zones: don a white coat and play with potions in the Experiment Zone, or get stuck into magnets, motion and building toys in the Curiosity Zone. Once you’ve emerged blinking from the planetarium – currently showing a 30-minute exploration of our galaxy and a shorter animation for under-sevens – a circuit of the outdoor ice rink (until 21 February) will bring you back to Earth. Visit before 17/10 to come face to face with more than 40 famous robots, including rare replicas and original props from Star Wars, Forbidden Planet and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Kids in lab coats at the centre’s Experiment Zone, where you can carry out hands-on experiments.

Fun fact
Scientists based at the Centre for Life (to which this visitor attraction belongs) were the first to successfully clone a human embryo, in 2005.

Best thing about it
The 4D motion ride (minimum height 1.2m), currently showing Mumble’s Wild Ride, a chase across Antarctic ice with the Happy Feet penguins. SpongeBob SquarePants’ Great Jelly Rescue is coming soon (22 Feb to 31 March).

What about lunch?
Times Square Cafe (open daily) and Life Cafe (weekends and school holidays only), serve daily-changing menus. Jacket potatoes from £3.50; quiche and salad £3.25.

Planetarium, Life Science Centre, Newcastle

Exit through the gift shop?
The small selection of toys, T-shirts and trinkets is easy to bypass.

Getting there
From Newcastle’s Central Station, turn left: you can’t miss the bright blue building less than five minutes’ walk away.

Value for money?
Definitely. The 4D motion ride, planetarium and live science theatre are included in the ticket price. Allow a whole day to avoid timetable clashes. Adult £9.95 (£15 with ice rink), child £6.95 (£10), under-four free (£5.50), concession £7.95 (£13), family (1+3 or 2+2) £27.80 (£40). Ice rink only: adult £8.50, child £6.50, concession £7.50, family £24.50.

Opening times
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-6pm),



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