The summer of science: keep kids busy with dinosaurs, robots and space mail
Are the kids getting bored? Here’s a handful of ways to keep their minds nourished
An augmented reality dinosaur in Belfast
With a few more weeks of school summer holidays to go, kids might welcome the fun of a science-themed day out.
If Birr, Co Offaly, is within reach, then check out Birr Castle Gardens and Science Centre. In the 19th century
Birr was home to the Leviathan or Great Telescope, which was the largest telescope in the world for decades. William Parsons, the third earl of Rosse, had the telescope built and he used it to describe the crab nebula.
Today the Great Telescope still resides at Birr, and the Science Centre looks back at photography, engineering, astronomy and some of the major scientific discoveries in Ireland. Birr Castle and Gardens is also home to an enormous treehouse, adventure playground and ecowalks, and older children can use an app to find out more about the plants in the gardens. birrcastle.ie
Dinosaurs go AR at W5
W5 in Belfast tends to be a popular indoor turn with children of all ages, with more than 250 interactive exhibits that encourage visitors to get hands-on with science and engineering.
There is also a changing programme of shows and events, and this summer the Build It play area encourages visitors to create their own structures with blocks. Then, for a more surreal experience, W5 is using augmented reality to bring dinosaurs to life on screen. Be sure to allow plenty of exploration time, as there is a lot to see and do. w5online.co.uk
Make and see – Science Gallery
Seeing: What Are You Looking At runs throughout August at Science Gallery in Dublin. Admission to the exhibition is free, which explores the complexities of human and robot vision. dublin.sciencegallery.com
For hands-on workshops, pop around to Science Gallery’s Make Shop on South Leinster Street, Dublin 2, near Trinity’s Lincoln gate. Youngsters from about five years old and up can get stuck in with the glue gun or (for older children and adults) solder and make gadgets such as “doodlebot” robots that draw, DIY amplifiers, electronic dice and even a radio. Prices vary and workshops last from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the creation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01-6624416 to book
Find space and sea in Cork
Budding astronomers will find plenty to interest them at Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. Cosmos at the Castle explores the universe, gets visitors thinking about the possibilities of alien life and even lets you send an email into space and chase a virtual comet. Journeys of Exploration, open from August, will also offer interactive indoor and outdoor activities to learn the story of Cork Harbour and Ireland’s southeast coast. bco.ie