My young teen rated this museum as one of his favorite parts of London. He is a scientist at heart and loves interactive museums. The musem is FREE and is part of a block of several excellent museums, which are all free (Victoria and Albert's and Natural History). It is steps from the Big Bus Tours stop and from the Underground. Staff at the information desk went above and beyond to learn of my son's interests and to show us which parts of the museum would appeal to him. They also looked up directions for us to take the Tube to our next stop, the Churchill Museum. Very helpful!
There are a myriad of exhibits relating to transportation, air flight, space, the industrial age, the history of medicine, climate change and the environment, marine life, and more. There is a play and learn section for kids under six on the basement level. A sit-down cafe is located on the ground floor (no chicken tenders, hot dogs, or other American kid favorites--a common finding throughout London). The building has a very clean, modern, hip, appealing design. It is very appealing and has great informative signage on exhibits.
We founds some interactive displays throughout the museum, but the heart of interaction was in the Wellcome (as in the former Burroughs-Wellcome Medicine Company) Wing. It can be accessed from the main floor but doesn't connect at all the floors. It would be easy to miss if you didn't know it was there. Also, we couldn't cross from the second or third floor of the Wellcome Wing to the second or third floor to the main museum. Better signage or just connecting the two would be invaluable.
Anyway, the Wellcome wing had great video games that taught about the effects of various life choices, the effects of climate change, why some particles reflect heat back to the earth while others allow them to escape (greenhouse effect), and more. Teens and adults alike seemed to enjoy the games and they also learned in the process. FUN and EDUCATION combined! Perfect!
Three hours would be about perfect to enjoy this museum. Grab some lunch and then try the V & A or History Museums next door! Nice gift shop as well.
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