Top Scottish days out for little scientists
Whether your little ones are always asking never-ending questions about the world, are endlessly curious about everything or just like an explosion or two, here are some top sites that will encourage their love of science on your next visit to Scotland.
Since opening in 2001, Glasgow Science Centre has become a staple day out for both school trips and family days out. With exhibits across three floors, the Science Hall is incredible. Filled to the brim with interactive exhibits for all ages, you'll leave knowing far more than you did when you arrived and we're sure you'll be back again in no time at all to learn more.
You can visit the Science Show Theatre to see live experiments, explore the planetarium and its special "Big Explorer" area specifically aimed at young children, or just wander through the three floors to learn all about scientific principles, the solar system, human bodies, artificial intelligence and so much more through fun games, illusions and interactive experiments. Keep an eye out for special family-themed events too - there's usually workshops and special little explorer days on throughout the year!
Once you're all scienced out, consider visiting Glasgow Tower for fantastic views of the city or watching a 3D documentary at the IMAX. On a practical note, there are plenty of lifts, lockers and toilets available on site, as well as a picnic area, a café and a gift shop.
A tripAbrood favourite, Dynamic Earth is an incredible visitors centre next to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. It's a very unique educational experience where adults and children of all ages can learn all about planet Earth in a really fun dynamic way.
When you enter, you'll be guided into their time machine where you'll travel back to the beginning of time. You'll gradually return to modern day after witnessing the Big Bang, travelling through the pre-historic world, visiting volcanoes, polar icecaps and rainforests, before blasting off into space. All with plenty of interactive exhibits and experiences along the way. Last year, they began work on their new state-of-the-art planetarium. There really is nowhere else like Dynamic Earth.
They also run their own Dino's Club for children ages 6 to 14 where they have weekly workshops offering a unique combination of science, crafts, storytelling and adventures. You'll find a café, soft play area and gift shop once you've completed your journey exploring planet earth.
Located on the West coast, the new Ocean Explorer Centre is a perfect trip for any little oceanographers out there. Get ready to don your lab coats and learn all about what lies beneath the surface.
From viewing algae through a microscope to crawling through their Arctic tunnel, there's plenty of hands on activities here to keep the whole family occupied. If it's a rainy day, watch some short films on the real work that oceanographers are doing in their polar theme cinema. If it's a sunny day (they do exist in Scotland, we promise), grab a bucket and clipboard and head to the beach where you can follow the clues to learn all about the local ecology. Don't forget to report what you find at the centre!
All the research and exhibits at the centre come from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Scotland's oldest oceanographic institution so keep your eyes peeled and maybe you'll spot some real scientists!
Fort William, Scotland
More of a traditional museum and certainly quite a bit smaller than some of the others on the list but definitely one for anyone with future geologists or archaeologists in their family. Treasures of the Earth has one of Europe's finest collections of gemstones and fossils - the collection even includes some dinosaur poo and amethyst geodes over 7 feet tall!
Created by a father and son team in 1990, the passion that has been put into this place is evident and the museum has clearly been carefully planned to appeal to aspiring geologists of all ages. Make sure you don't miss the cave with ultra-violet light where you'll see crystals change colour and begin to glow in front of your eyes. If you fancy bringing your own real fossils home, check out their gift shop!
North Queensferry, Scotland
Deep Sea World is Scotland's national aquarium and with over 40 displays, everything from seals to seahorses and the largest temperate marine exhibit in the UK, it's easy to see why.
When you arrive, you'll find scheduled talks for various exhibits, public feedings for others, hands on sessions such as Creative Encounters and one of the longest underwater safaris in the world. If you fancy checking something off your bucket list, you can even do a shark dive - that even includes the little ones (age 8+) if you're all feeling brave enough!
On the other end of the spectrum are Deep Sea World's gorgeous seals. Deep Sea World has a big focus on education and conservation. When visiting the seals, you might be lucky enough to see them get fed or hear a talk all about how you can all help wild seals at home through recycling and other measures. With a gift shop and café on site, you can make a full-day trip out of it.