Scitech is an interactive science discovery centre located at City West, Sutherland Street in Perth. You can see it from the Freeway – it has a dome shaped roof that’s lit up at night. My 5 year old always squeals when she sees it, as she loves going there so much.
There is plenty of free undercover and open-air parking at City West for Scitech visitors. Get your ticket as you enter at the booms, and then ask at the Scitech ticket office for them to validate your ticket and you won’t pay a cent. It used to be a complicated system that involved an awkward dash back to the car with frustrated kids in tow, but now it’s a smooth and easy arrival ensuring everyone remains in a good mood.
Scitech is located upstairs, but there is a lift from the car park right up to the entrance for pram users. As you walk in the fun begins with infra-red video cameras that capture your movements so you can spot yourself on the moving screens.
Further in on the left is an area called Discoverland, which is exclusively for 3–7 year olds so that is always my first stop. It’s full of great interactive exhibits that the kids can touch to their heart’s content and parents needn’t worry about them breaking. The exhibits cleverly teach the children about magnets, gravity, electricity, water and other science concepts without them even realising it. Kids yank and pull and dash around excitedly with smiles on their faces. My child loves the conveyor system with balls that you move along in a loop, and would be quite happy to spend all her time doing that alone!
There is also a great shadow play setup that is a lot of fun: kids can hold shapes in front of a special light box to create shadows on a screen. The construction site is very popular – the kids use wheelbarrows and pulleys to move foam bricks up and down the ramps to build walls.
My favourite area is the small aquarium that you can sit beneath (the glass is curved and forms an underwater cave) – my baby giggles at all the fish swimming around her. Other fun things include bubble tubes; special warping mirrors that elicit a lot of laughs; musical tubes that you bang on with a thong; a life size human skeleton you can sit next to; and a periscope to peer through. There is even a section with baby toys and Lego –something for everybody. As a parent you can really relax in Discoverland while your kids are occupied and before you know it an hour or more will have passed.
Time for a snack! There is an open area further inside Scitech with tables and chairs, alongside which you will find some vending machines containing packaged food and colddrinks. A recent addition is a small coffee stall providing freshly prepared coffees, as well as a limited selection of muffins and sandwiches. We usually take our own packed lunches and snacks. En route to eat my 5 year old has to bribed and forced to stop looking and touching all the exhibits – even though many are above her understanding. That’s the best part about Scitech – there really is no age limit and I always let my child explore and dash around touching and learning.
Don’t miss the exciting new Bee Hive exhibit too, which is near the windows in the eating area – a real swarm can enter and leave the hive through a pipe that leads to the exterior of the building. You can view activity in the hive through glass panels.
Your entry ticket includes a visit to Horizon – the Planetarium (which has a strict 4+ age limit) which is a thrilling experience. The indoor theatre displays the night skies, the solar system and beyond on its digital projection dome screen.
Your ticket also includes entry to any of the informative Science Shows (mainly for older kids), as well as fun Puppet Shows (3–7 years only) that cleverly introduce science through storytelling. These are all performed at different times throughout the day. You can plan your visit by checking the times on their website before you go, but chances are you will be able to see one at least while you are there. A visit to Scitech in my experience is never shorter than 2 or 3 hours.
Last but not least is the Discovery Shop, cleverly positioned as you make your way to the Exit. There are some great gift ideas in there, with a range of prices to suit most budgets. I always end up buying something be it a small plastic dinosaur or a remote controlled aeroplane.
It’s a great way to spend a chunk of a day – sunny or rainy. I know that many repeat visits will be in our future as the kids grow older. And the best part for me is that the kids always sleep on the way home in the car!
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