Days Out: Thinktank Museum, Birmingham
In November, Visit Birmingham invited us to the UK’s second city to show us exactly what it had to offer. As part of this trip we visited Thinktank Museum, an award winning science museum perfect for families.
What’s on at Thinktank Museum?
Thinktank Museum has a range of exhibits and activities throughout the year to keep families busy for the whole day. Upon arrival we were handed a map and event guide by a lovely member of staff who explained how we get around the museum and what time relevant sessions were starting.
We started by exploring level two which is the level on which you enter. On this level you will find The Street, Kid’s City and Things About Me.
The Street is exactly what it says on the tin and is an area with a pedestrian crossing, fully functioning traffic light system and a huge hole in the floor showing what’s going on beneath our feet as we walk down our town’s and cities streets. This area celebrates the science and technology that is all around is without us even realising!
Kid’s City was probably our favourite part of Thinktank Museum- think Biggleton and you’ve got the right idea when it comes to Kid’s City. This area, designed especially for those under seven, is made up of a health centre, ambulance station, cafe, grocery store and water play area. The cafe was so realistic that my husband gave me a tenner to go and grab us both some coffees! Dexter was absolutely in his element dressing up as a paramedic and riding in the ambulance, complete with siren. When we reached the water play area, we knew we were on to a winner and we must have spent at least an hour here watching him play with boats and trying to understand how the water system worked. Luckily there’s plenty of benches for Mummies and Daddies to sit down and watch from afar.
Things About Me is an area all about, yes, you guessed it, the human body. It gives kids a real insight into how the body works using interactive displays.
After a couple of hours on Level Two, we wandered down to Level One where you can find the Spitfire Gallery and We Made It.
We Made It focuses on the different areas Birmingham and the surrounding areas are famous for manufacturing including iron, steel, precious metals and aluminium. Family packs are available to help you explore this area suitable for kids aged 3-8, so Dex was a little young for this area and was much more excited about viewing the Spitfire and spent a lot of time oohing and aahing over it while we learnt about the science behind it.
Level Zero houses the cafe, a picnic area and Move It gallery. We started by exploring Move It on this floor which houses lots of different vehicles including a steam locomotive and many different types of cars such as the Railton Land Speed Record car. We climbed aboard the steam locomotive and were able to stand behind the controls which was simply amazing. The smells coming from this area of the museum which celebrates the industrial revolution (my favourite!) were just amazing. At this point we were SO ready for a bite to eat so we jumped into the cafe before it got too busy!
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For Dexter, after a big eat comes a big sleep, and we needed to get over to SEA LIFE Centre for the afternoon’s activities so we left Thinktank Museum after about three hours of exploration. Unfortunately there were a few bits we missed out on, but that just means there’s more to see next time. On Level Three you will find the Planetarium which has shows on throughout the day, some suitable for a younger audience. We also missed the Science Garden as it was a bit too cold to explore with us visiting in November and we also neglected to visit the Marine World’s Gallery which I bet Dexter would have loved!
What facilities can I find at Thinktank Museum?
As you enter Thinktank Museum there is a large cloakroom for you to store bags, coats and buggies and right next to it are toilets including baby changing facilities.
As previously mentioned, on level zero there is a cafe and picnic area and we made the most of a hot lunch in the cafe. As well as hot food, sandwiches, snacks and drinks are available and are all reasonably priced. The three of us had a hot dinner and a drink for less than £20 which I didn’t think was too bad for a museum.
Location and Prices
Thinktank Museum is located in the centre of Birmingham and is around a fifteen minute walk from New Street station and a five minute walk from Moor Street station.
The museum is open 10-5 everyday including bank holidays and an adult ticket will set you back £13.50, while a child’s ticket is £9.75. (Under 3’s go free, concessions and family tickets available)
What other attractions are nearby?
There’s so much going on in Birmingham for kids and some of the other local attractions include:
Bullring shopping centre
What hotels are available locally?
We stayed in the stylish Malmaison but there’s so much choice of hotels in Birmingham including: