10 tips for visiting the Science Museum, London, with a toddler
Having gazed at whales and skeletons in the Natural History Museum, I’ve got plans to check out the neighbouring Science Museum in London later this week.
Although my visits as a child didn’t stick in my memory quite as much as the dinosaurs, there’s plenty to discover.
So this time I decided to do my research on visiting with a toddler in advance – here’s 10 things you need to know about seeing the Science Museum with a child.
1. Check the extra charges
Entry to the museum is free but there are charges for the IMAX 3D Theatre, simulators and some special exhibitions, so it’s worth knowing before promising your kids.
2. Folding your buggy will save you money
It’s £1 compared to £4 for unfolded prams. Coats, umbrellas and small bags also come with a charge of £1 or £2. There are also buggy parks near some areas aimed at younger kids but they are usually unmanned and may be a little walk away.
3. Start with the Garden
The Garden is an interactive gallery aimed at pre-schoolers based around water, light, sound and construction – it’s also one of the most popular, so you may need to wait during busy times (the same goes for Launch Pad and Pattern Pod). The quietest times are 10-11.30am and 4-6pm.
4. Bring spare clothes
There are raincoats provided in the Garden but as toddlers can always find a way to get wet and messy, it’s worth taking spare clothes.
5. Pack a map
The Garden is also tucked away in the basement and not always easy to find – instead of taking the first lifts by the entrance, go past the shop and café on the ground floor then head down in the lifts. There are maps to download as well as large print versions at the Information and ticket desks, and touchscreen options inside if you get lost though.
6. Find toddler hotspots online
The Science Museum’s website has a search by age function, so you can check what’s on for under-fives on any given day.
7. Tag your toddler
You can get free wristbands for children at the information desk, so if your child does go missing, it will help security find them.
8. There are more picnic spots than you think
As well as cafes with children’s menus and designated picnic areas, you can eat in any quiet uncarpeted area of the museum – helpful when the basement area is full of school groups. The ground floor café also has high chairs, while milk can be warmed on request if you’re visiting with a baby.
9. Do check the other kids’ galleries
Although the Launchpad area is aimed at older children, toddlers will love sticking teaspoons to the magnet block and the bubble blowers. The Pattern Pod is another interactive gallery, aimed at five to eight-year-olds, but with clothes for dress-up and pattern puzzles.
10. Prepare with an app
The museum also produces its own apps, including one for pre-schoolers – available for Apple and Android.