We’re now well over halfway through the summer holidays and with our trip to Crieff Hydro a distant Sauv Blanc-filled memory and the weather being a bit rubbish, cabin fever has well and truly started to set in.
With the forecast looking pretty gloomy, and unable to face watching The Boss Baby for the 136th time, we decided to pack the kids into the car and head out for the afternoon to Armagh Planetarium.
As a family of five, we know just how expensive it can be to take the kids out. For that reason we were pleasantly surprised to get the whole gang in to the Planetarium for the princely sum of £8 (£2 per person with the baby chancing her arm and getting in for free). That entry fee got us access to the exhibition areas and workshop (more on both later) but it’s worth mentioning that if you want to see a show as well during your visit, it works out at around £20 in total for a family of 5. As my husband was refusing to shell out anymore cash unless I agreed to putting one of my kidneys for sale on the black market, we decided against the idea of a show and settled for the exhibition and workshop.
For anyone with a less stingy husband, who’s more respectful towards kidneys, the shows run throughout the day for a variety of age groups – it’s worth checking times in advance as we noticed there was only one show suitable for under 5s that had already been on that morning.
Even without seeing a show, there is still plenty to see and do to get your £8’s worth.
For a start, there are a lot of interesting facts and interactive screens and displays; it all made me feel like such an epic educational parent – win!
The ‘Mars Room,’ was also a big hit, and will forever be remembered as the place I discovered I look ridiculous in an astronaut’s helmet. There are a few interactive games in there, as well as astronaut suits for the kids to try on.
On the day we visited (a Tuesday during the summer holidays) the workshop running was rocket launching for the kids.
Unfortunately, they do not do husband launching – I asked.
Every child got to colour and build their own rocket using recyclable materials (all provided) then pour water into it. A genuinely helpful and enthusiastic member of staff helped the kids to launch them outside and even encouraged them to join in with the obligatory “5, 4, 3…” (number practice – tick; so impressed by how educational I am today).
The kids’ workshops run by the Planetarium do change so be sure to give them a call before you go to check what they have on.
There is also a general arts and crafts room with an impressive selection of craft materials (certainly impressive in comparison to the cupboard full of nonsense masquerading as our “craft cupboard” at home). The kids are basically free to grab a selection of materials and make whatever they want.
The little cafe at the Planetarium serves hot and cold drinks, biscuits, crisps, cake and ice lollies. It doesn’t serve lunches but there are picnic tables and I saw a few mums who had brought their own sandwiches (showing the rest of us up massively I know). I was not quite so organised so my kids had crisps; I would bet, however, that it didn’t take those mums 3.26 hours to get their kids into the car.
All in all, there is lots to learn and discover at Armagh Planetarium and the brilliant craft activities and workshops add to the experience. It’s a good way to spend a rainy afternoon without breaking the bank (or having to sell a kidney).