Family friendly features
The Science Centre team works hard to ensure the venue is as family friendly as possible. Here are some of the ways this is achieved:
The Science Centre has a safe, welcoming feel to it – once you are in you know that children can run about and can only leave by going through main reception. This means parents feel relaxed about letting children wander around.
The Science Centre is open seven days a week – there are extended opening hours in school holidays.
All of the science exhibits & science activities for kids are hands-on and were designed with children in mind.
There are toddler steps for exhibits to enable little ones to reach, and free coat racks at the right height for children.
Each science exhibit has additional educational resources available online.
The Science Centre as a physical space was designed with family science activities in mind - there are two main open plan areas (top floor and lower floor) so parents and guardians can easily keep an eye on children.
There are girls & boys loo blocks as well as ladies & men’s - cutting down on the loo queues and assisting larger families or groups.
The Science Centre houses the largest stand-alone digital planetarium cinema in the UK! Each of the planetarium cinema shows has an age rating to enable a suitable choice to be made and all films are suitable for children of different ages; films are programmed to allow the maximum choice no matter what time you arrive for a visit. The Science Centre offers a large selection of shows every day (normally there are at least four different shows running) so there is something for everyone. There are also live planetarium cinema shows created especially for children at different times (for example Space Mission for Santa) which offer interaction and 'calling out.'
Chatterbox Shows in the planetarium cinema allow younger children who are unable to contain their excitement, or want to ask questions, to chat or call out during the show. This means babies and younger children can be brought in without any worry about disturbing others.
In the school holidays there are live, presenter-led science shows in the main exhibition areas.
All staff members are DBS checked – they are very good at customer care and looking after lost children.
There are baby changing facilities and baby warming for bottles. On request staff members can show feeding mothers into the quiet cosy medical room to allow privacy if required, but the Science Centre is breast-feeding friendly and so mothers can feel comfortable feeding in the cafe or the main exhibition space.
Birthday parties are offered at the weekend with a choice of planetarium cinema films - parents can bring their own cakes.
The Science Centre has a free indoor picnic area and for warmer days an outdoor picnic area set within The South Downs National Park.
Parking is currently free but a parking charge of £2 will come into effect shortly after the October half term holiday. Free on site parking for Annual Pass holders.
A member of the technical team is in the building seven days a week which means if exhibits break (they are all 'hands on' and therefore inevitably they do need care occasionally), the technician can start to mend the exhibit that same day. This means that at the start of the day 100% of exhibits are normally working – so that when visitors come to see their favourite exhibit it is working.
There is always a first aider on site when the building is open. Smiley stickers are offered and the Winchester Science Centre 'I am poorly bear' is there to offer a hug for younger people whilst their injury is being dealt with.
In addition, there is an in-house education team who work with over 36,000 school children each year, which means that as well as the Science Centre being family-friendly for parents and guardians, most Hampshire-based school children will already have visited - the result of which is that young people feel confident in using the hands-on science exhibits when they come with parents and guardians because most will have previously attended!
Things to do in Winchester
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