Thursday, 14 July 2016

On expos and exhibitions

Our kids adore the exhibitions and expos that have been doing the rounds for the last few years. Most of them seems to be planned in and around school holidays which makes them perfect as a holiday treat and day out. This holiday seem to have a particularly large haul of them with 4 major ones Gateway to Space,  Power of Poison, The Terracotta Army and Bodyworlds Vital). But lets be honest - they are not cheap entertainment either ( depending on how you measure this of course) but mostly money well spent. Most of them however are totally worth it especially if they spark some learning interest and give good facts to read about - mostly if you buy the expo magazine/ catalogue and can page through it later. There is no way the budget will stretch to do all of them so one has to choose wisely. I had a talk with the kids and they were most attracted to Gateway to Space and The Terracotta army. We are planning to do The Terracotta army in August apart that I have not seen many reviews on it and would love to know what it is like.

Gateway to Space was our holiday treat yesterday and it is one of those that we all really enjoyed a lot. From reading the early history of space travel to seeing the new Orion spacecraft currently in development it was an interesting day spent "in space". Most popular with the kids was the real size model of the old Mir space station that is rotated on an angle and really messes with the way your mind works. It feels rather odd inside and we all had giggles and laughs when Mr C on first entry fell over - like some other visitors also did. This was cosely followed by the movie prop of Darth Vader - my little Star wars fans loved it. The Space food totally fascinated the kids. I learned so much I did not even know about the subject. What I do love about the You/Huisgenoot exhibits is that the catalogue is nice and affordable (R40) in opposition to some of the others that cost a small fortune. Last night A was still awake at around 11 reading it and absorbing the facts. 100% worth it! She and Mr C also enjoyed the "5 degrees of freedom" simulator a lot and could not stop talking about it. Mr L at the time just did not feel like it.

 The new Orion capsule and model of the launch craft complete with it.
The big array of Space suits was fascinatin

Casts of Neil Armstrong's hands - custom gloves were made around these

I found the design of the Moon buggy's wheels fascinating

Space food - even shrimp cocktail and mac & cheese

On our way back home we had a discussion in the car on which of the Exhibitions we have seen has been favorites and which not. Funny enough there was, for once, total agreement on our top favorite one and the top 3. Also on the least favorite one there was absolute consensus.

Favorite exhibition ever: King Tutankhamun - Easter 2015. Every single one of us agrees that it was just awesome.
Completing our top 3 are: Gateway to Space and The Art of the Brick (Lego).
Least favorite: Ice Age - the only great thing was the rides after (which were extra if I remember correctly) The expo was very small and looked  a bit worse for the wear.

What are your thoughts on the exhibitions and do you go to them? All or try and sift through? And what are your opinions? Anyone seen The Terracotta Army?


  1. I personally don't enjoy this kind of thing (I don't like museums either except Sci-Bono but that's the science part I love) but D likes them. He didn't think art of the brick was worth it if memory serves.

    I love that you found A reading at 11 am :)

    1. Was 11pm! We loved The Lego one - but I think my kids are Lego obsessed and I loved the famous art and architecture done in Lego.

  2. We are super keen to the see the Gateway to Space exhibit and I was lucky enough to win a family ticket to Bodyworlds recently, so we just need to book for that one...

  3. We are super keen to see Gateway to Space! And I was lucky enough to win a family ticket to Bodyworlds the other day, so there's that to look forward to as well! :)

  4. I like some of them. The Dino one was disappointing. We wanted to do the space one, however, after reading the age and height restriction, we decided not to go. They do not let the very little ones into the space station model. etc. Hoping it will come around again when HB is old enough to enjoy all of it.

    1. The Dino one was way better than the Ice Age one though. I think you may have some info wrong -= the littles can go into everything in the main expo. There are some activities that you pay extra for that they can not do but they can definitely go into the space station and everything.

  5. Since the YOU mag is the only thing I get time to read (takes me a week) I do see the adverts for all these exhibitions and I must say I was seriously considering planning a holiday around the Space one. There was some sort of Dinosaur one planned for PE in April but it was cancelled due to some very bad reviews about the shocking state it was in. I'm not sure if it was the same Ice Age one you mention here. PE unfortunately is left off the map when it comes to exhibits and concerts.


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