We are huge fans of the science center. Our kids are self proclaimed science geeks…so everyone has been itching to get out to see the new one. Well, everyone but me. I hate crowds. Hate them. And, knew it would be bad. It wasn’t soooo bad until we left(at 2:00pm)…then it was unbearable(do they have a maximum capacity? Do they ever enforce it?).
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the opening of this facility. It’s too expensive–not good value…who can afford it? We’ve heard it all. But, our kids were blown away. Loved every second of the 3+ hours we spent there. We bought an annual pass(we have done this for the last few years). Yes, it was more expensive than in the past, but not that much more. So, I am going to give my honest to goodness review here. No holds barred.
It is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing kid space in the city. This is huge for me. I know it won’t be for some, but it helps relax me in the sea of chaos that is hundreds of kids running amuck. I think I actually gasped when I entered the Creative Kids Museum…it was love at first site. And, the outdoor space is not complete, but it looks like it will be equally pleasing. I love the idea of mixing science and learning with design and creativity. I think often kids who are more science leaning are not exposed to enough beauty and creativity and it is my belief that the two go hand in hand…a good scientist has to be creative. Has to be able to think outside the box.
It is an extremely hands on experience. Every exhibit offers the kids(and Bob) an opportunity to explore in some way or other. It is sure to keep them busy for quite a while. There is also a lovely mix of knowledge and life. Like right next to the display on your body and how a baby is made is an interactive experience about love. You can listen to people tell the stories of their first dates and then write down your own to share. You can leave a little note about the day you were born…similar displays occur in other spots–about memories. Which memories will you remember when you are 90? Which will you forget? I thought it was a lovely way to tie a scientific idea to each visitor’s life.
You have to pay for parking and getting out of the parking lot on a busy weekend takes a long time. Yes, you had to pay at the last place, but it isn’t well set up this time around. Perhaps, they will adjust that.
They don’t have anything in the Featured Exhibit Gallery yet. So, it kind of felt like there was a big empty space. Ditto for the movies. No movies yet…and the movies were always one of my kids favorite things about the last center(so if you only go once a year–wait for the movies to come out). Plus, when we were buying our annual pass, they didn’t even know how much the movies would be so it was impossible to make a decision between the base pass and the ‘gold’ pass. The lovely girl behind the counter tried to upsell us to the gold pass based on the parking expense but at $5/time and a $28 price difference for each kid and a $30 difference for the adults that adds up to a lot of parking. We could never make that many trips to the science center in one year. And, since I am on the topic of the pass and it has created the most controversy…I have to add–for the price difference, I think the movies should be included not simply discounted in the gold level. If that was the case, it would have been a no brainer for us. As it is, I am saddened that my family paid over $200 for the base annual pass and now every time I visit I will have to pay for parking and movies. I think the criticism that it is too expensive is not off base. I’m not sure what they were thinking with this one…I hope it changes because of the pressure. Also, I believe it is one of the only family attractions in the city that requires 4 visits for the pass to pay for itself.
The cafe is way too small. HUGELY too small for such a large space. We didn’t have a hope of getting a seat and the line up for something to eat was at least 20 minutes. We were going to eat there, but left.
It was way too crowded. Yes, it’s new, but I think they should manage the crowds a bit better. Of course, if they opened the movies I think that problem would be solved.
There were already a few things that were broken. Here’s the difficult thing…it is super duper high tech. Now, my kids LOVED the high tech displays. Georgia’s favorite thing was the digital painting with music. It was incredible. And, Jack spent a long time exploring the multiple animation displays at the Open Studio. But, call me a cynic…I fear that these types of gadgety things do not live up well to the abuse that thousands of kids using them a month will place upon it. I guess only time will tell, but if we see a lot of broken displays in the future, we will be hesitant to renew our pass. We are hoping that they are able to maintain so many gadgets
Bob felt that there could have been more information available at many of the displays. There were times when we were left asking ourselves, what is this about?
So, it is new. There are kinks to work out. I truly hope that Calgarians do not turn their backs on this space. From the crowds there this weekend, I don’t think the negative press has had too much of an impact. For our kids, it is love at first site. We can’t wait to see it evolve into one of the premier spaces for families to come together in the city. I truly think it has the potential…