Techniquest, Cardiff – yup, it’s another field trip!

It’s quite likely you’ll recognise Cardiff Bay from somewhere. If you’re a saddo like me, it’ll be from camp-but-educational Beebies show “Rhyme Rocket”. If you’re a different kind of saddo, like Nathan, it’ll be from Doctor Who.  And the boy lucked out, by spotting Rory and Amy’s house as soon as we got there:

It’s the blue one. He was excited, anyway.

So, onto Techniquest. I’ve been debating whether or not to blog about this because it’s not exactly London-y. But hey, a bunch of you enjoyed my posts on Gütersloh and Norfolk, so I figured what the heck. Plus I got a bunch of nice photos, so it’s a good excuse. Like this one:

Wooooo! Is that hurting your eyes yet? Anyhoo, I realise I haven’t yet explained to you what Techniquest is. It’s essentially a Welsh version of Launchpad at the Science Museum. Lots and lots of hands-on things to do, with a scientific explanation if you want it. Roo – as you may guess – just likes things that light up and make noises. There’s almost too much to describe here (or remember, let’s be honest), but here are some of my favourites.

Like any kid of the 80s, I’ve always wanted to dance on a giant piano. It’s harder than Tom Hanks makes it look, but then he didn’t have a baby wrapped onto him. I got a credible “In The Night Garden” theme tune out of it, but amazingly no-one applauded. The Welsh are clearly tone-deaf. Or musical. One of the two. Roo also enjoyed it, but I was better at it. Yes, I won this round.

Near the giant piano, there was also a wall-mounted, circular xylophone and a board with headphones on, where you could listen to snippets of music from different eras. The headphones were wireless, with a kind of stethoscope-y bit that you held against the pictures to hear the clips. All very clever.

Downstairs, there was water-play, including this ton of granite that you could roll using the power of water. Naturally, we weren’t prepared for water play. Equally naturally, Roo got stuck in. There was also a shadow camera, in the darkened area, and some cool lightboxes and things. Roo also loved launching the hot air balloon, although again he needed Mummy’s help. Score 2 to Mummy.

We also took in a show while we were there, on athletic bodies (yes, this was during the Olympics). Roo was a bit restless, as it involved…yknow…sitting still for more than ten seconds, and Nathan had to take him out before it got interesting. By interesting, I mean there was a lot of setting fire to stuff, which I always enjoy, but may have made Roo jump up and down yelling “call Fireman Sam!”. He does that for a small candle, so who knows what he’d make of a bunsen burner. Luckily, we can’t have been far from Sam’s firestation, given that Roo thinks the entirety of South Wales “yooks yike Pontypandy!”

Squirming toddlers aside, the show was good. My nieces and nephews (now 7, 9 and 10) thoroughly enjoyed it and my youngest nephew got up on stage at least twice. It was free, so worth a look if your child isn’t as ADD as mine.

We left Techniquest because Roo was getting tired and heading for naptime, but we could have spent a lot longer in there. Lots and lots for toddlers to do, and the kind of accessibility/baby changing etc that you’d expect from a new(ish) building. Lovely natural light too.

VERDICT: Don’t rely on my limited knowledge of Cardiff, but probably one of the best things to do with a toddler that end of the M4

More details here (official website)

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