W5 is described as an interactive discovery centre. Located in Belfast, it’s like Scienceworks, only better (I can’t believe I said that) and was the only place where the kids did not want to leave. The first time we were there we stayed about four hours, the second time, about two.
Mummies and dinosaurs were great, but for the little BGs it was like an indoor play centre, mixed with kinder- fun and stimulating, with something new just around the corner.
We were lucky going in September, in that the school year had just begun and there were no school groups organised, so we basically had the place to ourselves, with the exception of a couple of grownups. There were five spaces, one of which was aimed at preschoolers, with the others aimed at primary school levels.
The preschool space had a mini supermarket (sponsored by Tesco), a Mimi Minor, a sound studio with a mixing desk and lighting desk, a mini cafe, a huge playhouse and a little castle.
The spaces aimed at older children had a flight simulator for an airplane, a giant table for building meccano (which was being used quite enthusiastically by dads, rather than kids), areas to experiment, with sound, weather, waves, wind, pulleys, animation, biology, botany…the list goes on.
We were lucky to chance upon a Wallace and Gromit exhibition which tied in with hands-on experimenting with stop-start animation. There was also a small exhibition on the building of the Titanic which was built at Harland and Wolff. With the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic approaching in 2012, the Titanic is being marketed quite heavily in Belfast.
It is a fantastic place to while away a rainy day- and as the photo indicated, we did have a couple of those…