What to do on a rainy day in Glasgow? With 97.8% of all days in Glasgow being rainy ones, it stands to reason you will need to emerge from the safe haven of indoors from time-to-time. So even though it was a rainy day, I decided to finally brave the wilds and venture out to the Glasgow Science Centre (GSC). I have been meaning to visit for some time and today was finally the big day.
What he lacked in looks he made up for with insightful quotes.
Our group had only just set foot in the impressive titanium clad venue and we almost immediately regretted not having visited sooner. At the ticket kiosk I tentatively inquired if there was a discount available for the gainfully unemployed members of my entourage. The charming girl attending to me advised that there was and also passed me a few discount vouchers (accompanied by a wink) which she said we must have dropped. It really makes a big difference when the front of house staff go out of their way to charm you from the outset.
Not sure if the design was based on a ships sail or a wedge of edam cheese?
The GSC is located on a site that at one point was the central hub for shipbuilding within the British Empire. The nautical themed architecture gives a nod to the heritage of an industry that has created world famous ocean liners such as the QE2. The other QE2 (the little woman who wears fancy hats and lives in a castle) regally opened the science centre to the great unwashed people of Glasgow in 2001.
These days so many tourist attractions designed for families neglect to bring any educational element to the party. Vast ball pits, seizure inducing flashing lights and mass hysteria are all too often the only things on offer. The GSC presents families with the holy grail - allowing parents to educate their children in such a subversive fashion that even they won't know how they did it.
Raise your hand if you look silly and love science.
The moment you set foot onto the first floor of the science mall you are greeted by a throng of exited children engaging in all manners of scientific experiments. The GSC is probably the only place in the world where your children will learn more in an afternoon than they would in an entire week at school. Some parents suffering from PTSD during the school holidays might be tempted to find somewhere dark to hide while their children explore the site. For those of us with a stronger disposition, we will be able let our inner child enjoy the venue as much as our actual children. The science centre really is set up to be fun for all ages.
Taking keeping an eye on your kids to another level.
It is wonderful to see entire families engaging over such a worthy subject matter. Parents often sympathise with each other over their struggle to understand their child's undying love for the appalling Transformers film franchise. When I witnessed a mother and son working together to make a robotic arm pick up a ball, it was a scene so beautiful that even Michael Bay couldn't butcher it.
While floors one and two hold more general scientific frivolities such as electronics, magnets and optical illusions, the third floor is known as the BodyWorks zone. There we learn about the inner workings of our own anatomy. Some things are as equally gruesome as they are entertaining, which will only continue to captivate the kids. The interactive displays range from inflating some disembodied human lungs to running inside a giant hamster wheel.
There are more things to do than just scientific experiments though. Just when you think that your five-year-old daughter has finally managed to explain the overly complicated laws of thermodynamics to you, the science centre has another trick up its sleeve.
Feeling peckish? Take a spin down to the GSC cafe for a slice of Pi.
The GSC is home to the finest planetarium in the UK and one of the best in Europe. The amazing display which shows some 9000 stars will put your humble bedside galaxy projector to shame. I can honestly say that the view in the planetarium gives the sky I witnessed during my Port Arthur Ghost Tour a run for its money.
When visiting Glasgow a tornado is the least of your weather worries.
As the visionary Troy McClure from The Simpsons once said "There's more than one way to get high baby". So after you intergalactic stargazing has come to an end your next logical destination should be the Glasgow Tower.
On reflection this turned out to be the best rainy day ever.
Entry isn't included in the price but for only £5 it would be foolish not to take the opportunity to look down over the entire city. The tower is the only fully rotating building in the world and offers unparalleled vistas over the Glasgow skyline. The structure is shaped like an aerofoil and is able to turn into the wind, allowing a reduction in air resistance. The building design is somewhat reminiscent of the 7 star Burj Al Arab in Dubai while being much easier on the purse strings.
Towards the end of the day you will be thinking back on all the amazing sights that you saw at the GSC. You might begin to wonder if Glasgow has anything left to offer. Could there really be anything better than enjoying the most breathtaking views of this amazing city, witnessing the universe in all its wonderful glory and most astonishingly seeing your children actually enjoying being educated?
I can see the pub from here.
But wait, how could we forget about the GSC's own IMAX cinema? It features a healthy mix of Hollywood blockbusters and educational delights. You can decide if the kids have had enough education for the day or if you think you can cram in one last morsel of knowledge in the form of an IMAX masterpiece on the now supposedly extinct thylacine. If you are going to do it, then now is the time. Better be quick before the kids revert back to their predisposed state where their minds were impermeable to knowledge.
Don't lose your head you can always come back some other time.