An amazing day at The Centre for Life. My daughters six and four absolutely loved the new Experiment Zone. Having not studied science for almost three decades, the thought of how I was going to be able to help them “extract DNA” left me a little nervous! But the instructions were so clear and easy to follow, that literally a four-year-old could do it.
There are a wide range of experiments to choose from and we’ll definitely be back to try out another. Inspiring stuff.
There is so much to do, that you really could spend a whole day inside. We love the Little Bear film in the planetarium about the constellations. The play area upstairs can keep them entertained for an hour alone, and they never seem to get sick of the activities in the explorer zone.
My children are a little young to appreciate the Game On exhibition, but the range on show is fantastic, a real journey through gaming history. Spotting the Speak and Spell and Donkey Kong did however make me feel on the old side!
There is a cafe and restaurant, but also a picnic area too, which I think is great so you are welcome to bring your own food too.
A top quality place for a family day out time and time again.
A trip to Seven Stories has never failed to disappoint but the current Julia Donaldson exhibition has got to be the one of my favourites. I wasn’t the only mum queuing up to get a sneaky picture of myself next to the legend himself too. As well as stepping into the world of many of her most famous books, there are also fascinating displays that reveal how her ideas made their way to the page.
There is floor after floor of top quality children’s entertainment. The wood beamed book-filled attic is the reading hideaway I could only have dreamed of as a child along with a dressing up corner packed with everything from gruffalos to dragons and princesses.
Although my two and four year olds were a bit unsure the first time they entered the Vikings Guide to Deadly Dragons with Cressida Cowell exhibition it didn’t take them long to get into character and were soon seated in their viking ship, helmet on head and shield in hand like it was the most normal thing in the world.
Seven Stories really does allow you to immerse yourself in the books in the exhibitions and everything is there to be explored by little hands and there’s never a question of not being allowed to touch anything.
Even for the clumsy crafter like me, the art and craft room on the bottom floor always offers some kind of activity so that your little one can leave proudly clutching their hand made souvenir, from viking helmet to aeroplane.
And of course, after all that reading and playing there’s a cafe on hand too.
Prices for an adult are £6.50 but an annual pass seems good value at £26.00
under fours are free and a child ticket costs £5.50 or £21.00 for a pass.
The Centre for Life has to be about the most child-friendly place in the universe. It is one giant playpark and once you have paid your annual membership – free! From babies, to toddlers to pre-schoolers to school children, it’s just brilliant. The kids can run wild, they can’t break anything, they can dress up, play in a toy kitchen that is better than my own real kitchen at home, watch a film in the planetarium, build towers, climb in car, and mums and dads can get a Starbucks coffee – and that is just a fraction of what’s on offer. The under 7s area upstairs is the best I have ever seen in a North East venue. Instead of the usual soft play, there is a designer kitchen, shop with cash registers, a tree house for hiding in as well as a small soft play area, and activity tables from lego to drawing. My children’s other highlights are the daily film showings, special short ones of about ten minutes shown for younger children, based on an educational theme and in a planetarium style cinema. Another winner for me is that there is a free picnic area, so you can bring your own food if you wish and are not forced to eat in the cafe.
An adult annual pass is £24.95 a child 2-17 is £18.95 . Under 2s are free.
Top Tips: – visit the children’s planetarium show, the under 7s area and bring your own picnic. Only downside: during the week it can be very busy if school trips are in and sometimes certain parts are closed if an exhibition is being changes, so maybe ring ahead and check what’s happening.
We usually park in the Grainger Town multi-storey car park, a few minutes walk away but there are others nearby.