A good friend of mine is Young Scientist Centre Manager at the Royal Institution. The centre doesn’t open until September but in the meantime we were invited along to one of the Institution’s Family Fun Days.
We were treated to a lecture about the science of rock music, demonstrations of the world’s largest whoopie cushion, and received instructions on how to make two coat hangers sound like Big Ben (strangely the most impressive bit of the whole day).
On our friend’s recommendation we also went to the Royal Society for their Summer Science Exhibition.
This was a bigger, busier event with the emphasis more on cutting edge scientific research and less on hands-on stuff for kids. In retrospect I spent most time on the biology stands and now feel well educated about ladybirds and snails. Goo-making seemed to captivate the kids.
There seemed a curious bias amongst the medical stands which seemed strangely focused on female anatomy, including a stand with real human placenta in a bag, which provided the ick factor for the grown-ups.
We did a bad job of collecting all the freebies but we did come away with slinkys. So we were kept amused on the journey home.
I’d recommend both events to science fans (and to fans of grand buildings) but the RI event is particularly good if you’ve got kids.