Activities: Dynamic Earth

Activities: Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth has always been on my list of places to visit, but I had never quite gotten round to it. I was never quite sure how to navigate there by car and I wasn’t quite sure Katie was old enough. However, when a fellow Mum from school suggested a play date there over half term – it was obvious that the time was right!

Dynamic Earth is probably the most accurate educational experience I’ve visited  in some time. Years of Geography lessons started hurtling back towards me as the kids started playing with an exhibition designed to show how rock changes as it’s compressed. As the first voice-over began, I started to recall helping my University flatmate revise for her Geology exams – and in all honesty, I thought I had been a bit too tired to take any of it in!

Although there is an impressive amount that you can learn from Dynamic Earth, it was ideal for an exhausted Mum because everything was so interactive for the kids. You could really be passive as all the information was thrown at you in one form or another – it was pretty astonishing.

Effectively, you are taken through the story of planet Earth from the moment of it’s creation. Whilst there are some more traditional exhibits with information to read, there are far more buttons to press in these sections or glowing lights for the kids to look at. The exhibit of particular note was the large piece of an iceberg in the middle of the room that you were free to go touch!

As there were no restrictions on where the kids could go – it did make things much easier,  and with doors shutting between each exhibit it was difficult for any of the kids to wander far. Of course, it was also  tremendously helpful to have three other Mums there who were more awake than me!

The majority of the time is spent being shepherded into different rooms with big screens with various videos – the key thing being the multi-sensory nature of these rooms – in one room the ground shook whilst smoke was pumped out, in another we had a 4-D experience with wind and snow and finally, we reclined looking up at a 360 full dome film about asteroids. The kids were properly entranced by all of this and were engaged for at least two and half hours – pretty good going for three year olds!

Kids at Dynamic Earth

Thomas was less impressed – despite the whole thing being one HUGE baby sensory experience, he really wanted to nap and I stupidly forgot to take the baby sling so he was staring at everything from his pram. Even when I tried to hide everything with a shade – the noise was pretty immense. There was a much older child who was very upset and I can imagine it would be a sensory overload for some kids.

After we had made our way round the museum we went off for lunch.  I was really impressed with the variety of food on offer.  There was a wide choice of hot meals, salad bowls, sandwiches, and picnic bags for the kids – many of which were included in a meal deal to help reduce cost.

After lunch we made our way down to the soft play – ‘ocean commotion’ – this wasn’t your typical soft play in that it was a single room with a ball pit, submarine, climbing wall and then a selection of shapes to climb over. What was very cool was the dim lighting which made it look like you were underwater – but I did think this made it very hard to assess how clean it was!

The additional downside was that soft play could only be reached through the gift shop – which made for a lot of pronouncements from Katie that she wanted to buy something. This would have all been fine and well if she had any money of her own!

Overall, I had thought it was quite pricey before going in – £12.50 for an adult and £7.95 for (3-15 year olds) – but given we spent about five hours there total – it doesn’t seem so bad. I noticed that a season ticket is only £20 for an adult and £15 for a child – whilst I’m not sure how often I’d want to go back this does seem like exceptional value.

I was very lucky as Mike was free to drop us off and pick us up but I was quite surprised by parking charges. Edinburgh is generally notorious for massively overpriced parking but £3 for the first three hours followed by £1.50 thereafter seems positively budget breaking!

Overall, I thought it was a perfect playdate. There was so much for the kids to be focused on that there was far less pressure over who was playing with who, or having to share etc. I am of course incredibly grateful to Una for leading the wee ones round as the rest of us navigated tiny lifts with pushchairs! Most important thing to note: take a sling!

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17 Comments

  1. February 25, 2016 / 11:44 am

    I’ve never heard of this place until now. As you say, it sounds quite expensive, but I’d be happy paying that if it kept everyone entertained for several hours.

    • February 25, 2016 / 4:30 pm

      If we hadn’t spent so long there I think I would’ve been grumpier about the price! 5 hours at soft play would’ve been about the same but they would’ve been bored much quicker!

  2. February 25, 2016 / 11:56 am

    It seems a little pricey but a good experience, I have never heard of it before, but it looks really good ! Just looked it up gutted it’s too far away fro us x

    • February 25, 2016 / 4:29 pm

      Maybe you’ll have a holiday in Edinburgh one day! Think it’s a good rainy day option 🙂

  3. February 25, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    That sounds like a lovely idea for a play-date, especially since it is so interactive. Looks like the kids had so much fun, I bet they were exhausted at the end of the day 😉 x

    • February 25, 2016 / 4:28 pm

      I was actually surprised that Katie didn’t crash out in the car on the way home! She certainly did have fun though x

  4. February 25, 2016 / 4:28 pm

    We’re lucky to have the National Museum of Scotland which is absolutely free and loads for the kids – but it’s not quite as dramatic as this! I know it was cost a lot to run etc. but going by the number of kids there on a weekday they must be making a lot – I do wonder if they lowered the price a bit it would be a bit more open to even more people!

  5. February 25, 2016 / 10:16 pm

    This looks amazing! My Harry would love this. I remember him being really prone to over stimulation when he was younger though, and as we know if they want to sleep its nearly impossible to distract them otherwise! Sounds like you handled it like a pro! Joined playdates are god-sends on those oh-so-tired days aren’t they? Thanks for linking to #CityCountryLife xo

  6. February 26, 2016 / 12:58 am

    This sounds like the perfect play date I love the sound of the soft play that looks like you are underwater. Learning about asteroids sounds fun too but those parking charges are terrible!

  7. February 26, 2016 / 7:52 am

    Looks like a great place to visit. I’d love to come to Edinburgh one day, great review #citycountrylife

  8. February 26, 2016 / 8:00 am

    This sounds like a fantastic place to visit. My kids would love to do something like this the next time we are on the mainland.

    • February 26, 2016 / 9:03 am

      I just had to go and check where you are. Shetland is definitely on my ‘to do’ list. My reading got interrupted but your staircase is amazing! Will return later – so disorganised right now!

  9. February 26, 2016 / 10:56 am

    What a cool place for a playdate, Dynamic Earth sounds brilliant, we need one in London!! Thank you so much for linking up to #CityCountryLife again
    Becca xx

  10. February 26, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    This sounds great! I love the sound of that soft play (although enter through the gift shop tactics are pretty sneaky!) My mum would love this too – her family are from Edinburgh and she’s a geography teacher, it’s her two favourite things! #CityCountryLife

    • February 28, 2016 / 9:42 am

      It is the place to go for Geography trips from school! Think there’s always sneaky tactics like having to go straight through gift shops – with a whole host of toys at kid height! :/

  11. February 26, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    Never mind the kids, I want to go to this place! It sounds so good! I need to plan a trip to this place when L is a bit older

    • February 28, 2016 / 9:40 am

      Geology isn’t really my area of interest but it really was pretty cool – particularly the 4D stuff with smells and snow!

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