War HUH! What is it good for? Rainy afternoons, yeah…!
This is another one of our frequent, local fixes. Considering I am broadly a pacificist, this child is going to grow up knowing a lot about the glory of war. Historical wars, anyway….there is a slight lack of exhibits on the Iraq War!
So, the advantages are that it is a large, free space that is close by and rainproof. The disadvantages are that it is often populated by a) school parties and b) very serious older men who take umbrage at the noise created by a) the school parties and b) your toddler. That’s the risk. We’ve generally been OK but have had the odd dirty look and mutter. I know war is a serious subject but you can’t really explain that to a 2-year-old, who just wants to climb on the tanks.
Other disadvantage – you can’t climb on the tanks.
But enough negativity! There are many things for a toddler to look at -tanks and planes particularly. There is a cafe which does nice cakes and pots of tea. The mock-up submarine is a fave with Roo – he can use the steering wheel, hoot down the speaking tubes, climb into the bunks, crawl through the hatches and launch himself down the ladder. There is also a Halifax bomber that you can walk through – another fave with Roo. Last time we took him and his friend Luke (last Friday) they delighted in running repeatedly through the Secret War exhibition. We convinced them that the infofilm was “a bit like cBeebies” and they happily watched for a few minutes before we had to remove them, as they were lying on the floor and waving their legs in the air while shrieking with laughter. Not sure why. Roo also enjoys the fact that they have telephones on the wall which will talk to him if he picks them up. Ditto the headphones. Another time-waster…
VERDICT: Could be more toddler-friendly (why can’t they climb on the tanks?! What kind of tank buckles under the weight of a toddler?!) but definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Small update (04/10/12): the submarine is no longer there! The area is blocked off, and I’m assured that something new and interactive will be there soon. Watch this space!