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Science Museum Review

This, one of the three great South Kensington museums, stands next to the Natural History Museum in a far plainer building. It has lots of hands-on painlessly educational exhibits, with entire schools of children apparently decanted inside to interact with them, but don't dismiss the Science Museum as just for kids. Highlights include the Launch Pad gallery, which demonstrates basic laws of physics; Puffing Billy, the oldest steam locomotive in the world; and the actual Apollo 10 capsule. The six floors are devoted to subjects as diverse as the history of flight, space exploration, the large Hadron collider, 3D printing, and a sublime exhibition on science in the 18th century. Overshadowed by a three-story blue-glass wall, the Wellcome Wing is an annex to the rear of the museum, devoted to contemporary science and technology. It contains a 450-seat IMAX theater and the Legend of Apollo—an advanced motion simulator that combines seat vibration with other technical gizmos to re-create the experience of a moon landing. If you're a family of at least five, you might be able to get a place on one of the popular new Science Night sleepovers by booking well in advance. Aimed at kids 8–11 years old, these nighttime science workshops offer the chance to camp out in one of the galleries, and include a free IMAX show the next morning. Check the website for details.

Updated: 02-27-2014

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