Harry and I came back today from an overnight visit to Edinburgh. It is the first time we have done something like this - Stuart took some holiday from work to look after Peter today and I think we all had a great experience of some quality one-to-one time.
We started at Our Dynamic Earth, which was very good, although the tour aspect was not what I expected (perhaps I should have read the details more closely). We started in a 'time machine' lift and were transported back to the beginning of time where we watched a narration of the big bang. We then moved into rooms showing films of how volcanoes and glaciers have shaped the planet.
After this, the galleries were more like what I had expected with freedom to explore in our own time. Harry liked the bubbling primordial swamp water showing the conditions in which life began.
We explored events that have led to the extinction of various species.
And had fun looking at how dinosaurs would have had to evolve to survive in the various habitats on earth today. We felt the cold ourselves in the polar gallery.
After the galleries we went into a 4D show which flew us from the north pole to the rainforest through all the areas (which I now know as biomes) of earth. We smelled pine trees, got snowed on in the alps and were charged at by a rhino in the grasslands. This was really good.
We also went to the show dome after the tour (included in the entrance fee) to see the Wildest Weather in the Solar System, which took us on a flight to the planets showing their extremes. It was a good show but the planetarium type screen was too intense and noisy for Harry and he wasn't keen.
I am glad that we only had an afternoon at Dynamic Earth as we couldn't have filled the whole day there. Overall though I think it was a very worthwhile visit and I feel like it was good value (although Harry was probably only just old enough to get value from it). The exhibits and shows were good quality and the interactive parts all worked. The staff were great and let me leave my very heavy bag behind reception. The shop was lovely with some unusual things and there was a small soft play area which was free with a tour ticket.
Harry chose pizza for tea (of course!) and after that we headed to our hotel. A big plus point of being in a hotel with a sleeping child is an early night and I needed it after all the walking.
Today we headed to the Museum of Scotland, which was a big hit with Harry. It is a huge museum with spacious exhibits and great children's areas.
He made a camouflage fish to try and evade the shark. Here he is watching it 'swimming' in the CGI sea on the floor.
Dressed as a scuba diver
We played lots of games of 'guess who' with rocks and animals
Feeling animal coverings to guess which animal they belong to
Making the Chinese dragon dance
Looking at Middle Eastern geometric designs and then making our own. We played with these shapes for over an hour! Definitely Harry's favourite area.
Making up a story using shadow puppets on a light box which was projected onto a screen on the wall.
Then it was time to head home on the train. Harry has done really well on our trip and I am expecting to do many more (taking advantage of off-peak travel and term-time quietness in attractions of course!), especially when Peter is 4 years plus. It has been tiring but he hasn't complained about walking around and has been very well behaved when we have been eating out and travelling on the train. Peter had trips to Seven Stories and swimming with Stuart and they had a lovely time together. He was so excited to see us though when we got home. It is very nice to all be back together again!