We had a wonder around the Millennium Square but didn't go inside at At-Bristol, a science interactive museum. I've heard At-Bristol is an interesting museum with so much to see and do there. The time I had then I felt I wouldn't give the museum justice so it's somewhere to visit on a future trip to Bristol. I've left the website address below incase you would like to check it out.
There was a natural science festival going on when we there during our walking tour. We were told there was a city bike ride the following day so it was very busy when we visited. The main square was cordoned off as there was a controlled entry for the stalls and events that were happening at the time.
I was not overly impressed by this place, billed as ' A true 21st century science centre combining the best of hands-on activities with the very latest multi-media techniques'. It's quite expensive (£17 for myself and one offspring) and, especially considering the price, I think far too many of the exhibits were out of order. However, Johnny had a whale of a time, and might possibly have learnt a little about Bernouelli's theorem. Entertaining but overpriced.
If you wanna feel like a child go to EXPLORE at Bristol. There are 11 acres of exploration in science and nature. There are many virtual games, multimedia activities, IMAX theatre rooms where you can fly to space or swim with a dolphin (!). I think the kids will love the place anyway. There are many cafes around to relax too.
It’s open daily 10:00-17:00 (18:00 on weekends) and the entrance fee is £10.80 for adults and £7 for children. For £30.90 you can get a family ticket (2 adults-2 children). With the same ticket you have entrance to the Planetarium but book on your arrival in Explore.
The Millennium Square is central open space of the Harbourside area, located above the huge underground car park next to the At-Bristol Centre. The square was also designed by Alec French Architects. In their design they concentrated on water and light features as well as the public art.
The square was one of the Millennium projects for Bristol and was the winner of Civic Trust National Award For Urban Design and RTPI Award for Planning In The Public Realm.
I must say that water features look interesting and terracota-clad ventilation towers are interesting during the night when they are colorfully lit. But this square desperately lacks one thing: Users! It was empty all the time and I felt like a suspect surrounded by numerous CCTV cameras. I have a feeling that too much attention was given to design and too little to planning and programming.
And why did they put the running water on the only element of urban design that looks like a bench?
At Bristol is the main attraction of the fast developing Harbourside area in central Bristol. The centre occupies several former industrial buildings as well as modern additions. There are three principal attractions: Explore, an interactive science exhibition; Wildwalk, a multimedia wildwalk complex and an IMAX cinema. Additional attractions include a shiny spherical planetarium located on the Millennium square and an indoor "tropical forest"
On the ground floor of the At Centre there one of the Tourist Info Centres is located.
The whole thing was aggressively marketed but it did not seem that successful to me since every time I passed by the complex seemed rather empty. Later I read that the Wildwalk and an IMAX cinema were closed due to high operating deficits. Since it seems to me that the success of the Harbourside area will largely depend on this Centre let's hope it will see its better days and Harbourside won't become one of the boring areas with generic office and residential buildings.
@Bristol is a new urbanistic project which was constructed on the place of former wharfs and harbour structures. The area was rebuilt in the late 1990s gioving Bristol's city center a new place for entertainment in recreation. A focus was placed on a mixture of education and entertainment. An IMAX cinema is found here, as well as a large square (made to host different events) which is surrounded by cafés, bars and restaurants. The "Explore" and Wildwalk" sections give kids and adult a chance to explore science on their own. Topics like the human brain, space, life in the rainforest and other popular science themes are found here. Unfortunately, I haven't visited it. But for our german visitors, it seems to be similar to Bremen's "Universum" - just without the urbanistic incorporation and the cafés.
It made me smile to see all the kiddies playing in the fountain, although this was forbidden...
As we had our daughter with us, we finished the day with a child friendly event in the form of a visit to @Bristol. It is a great science centre and just as fun for adults with its two sections: Explore and Wildwalk. You can buy a combined ticket or separate ones. We never had enough time to visit the Explore section (which is about scientific experiments, the body, transport etc.) which takes at least 3 hrs as opposed to the 2 hrs for Wildwalk, so we settled for the latter which takes you through a rainforest and a great exhibition which starts with bacteria and life in the sea and ends up with mammals, taking you through funghi, insects, small mammals etc. as you go along. The rainforest was the least impressive part and francly, even disappointing to someone used to all the butterflies and things in the Universeum in Gothenburg, Sweden. However, the exhibition itself was fantastic as it was very interactive and both children and adults will learn an awful lot about plants and animals through opening lids and pressing buttons everywhere. Our favourite part was the bit on primates where children could build a monkey tree shelter and I amused myself testing just how much I understood of ape facial expressions. There was also the opportunity to stroke a corn snake and get to know what species were native to Britain and not. The whole thing ended with questioning just how much waste you think you generate and what you could change in your lifestyle. We all learned a lot and hope to see the Explore part some time.
At-Bristol is a unique leisure destination bringing science and nature to life on Bristol's historic Harbourside. Voted ‘Family Attraction of the Year’ by the Good Britain Guide 2001, it comprises three new, world-class attractions: Explore, Wildwalk and the IMAX Theatre.
Explore . ...an amazing world of hands-on discovery. Explore involves people of all ages in an incredible journey through science, the forces of nature and the unique workings of the human brain and body.
Wildwalk ...a living rainforest in the heart of the city. With its unique mix of tropical gardens, live animals and multimedia technology, Wildwalk takes you on a breathtaking journey through the incredible history and variety of life on Earth.
IMAX Theatre ...the biggest cinema screen in the West. Feel the force of a rocket launch, experience a bug's rainforest life, or meet animated characters in awesome 3D - with a screen that is four storeys high and digital surround sound, it's the ultimate film experience!
Prices for At-Bristol Fare Price
Adult from £6.50
Child from £4.50
From M4/M5 (N) follow the M32 to the end, then bear right and follow the signs for the city centre; then follow signs for the A4 to Anchor Road (or Avonmouth). From M5(S) exit at junction 18 and follow the A4 to the city centre. At-Bristol is on Anchor Road with car parking in Canons Way, in Millennium Square underground car park.
Public Transport Directions
By Bus: any First City Line bus to the city centre or First Badgerline service to Anchor Road. Phone 0845 602 0156 for details of services and special combined discounts.
By Ferry: Bristol Ferry Boat Company operate between Harbourside attractions
By train: to Bristol Temple Meads, then either buses 8 or 9 to the centre, a ferry boat to the Harbourside or a 20 min walk.
Accessible to Wheelchair Users
Facilities for children
@ Bristol is a complex of several activities; a hands-on, science based 'exploratorium'; a fun filled wildlife zone and an IMAX cinema (and probably more, we didn't have enough time to explore it all). My daughter's favorite was the TV studio on the first floor
@-Bristol is a unique destination bringing science, nature and art to life… A place of discovery and surprise, home to three magical attractions:
journey from the origins of life to the ends of the Earth - spy inside a spider’s web, come face-to-face with scorpions and walk through a tropical forest with free flying birds and butterflies.
the first true 21st century science centre – play virtual volleyball, enter the eye of a tornado, or be the star of your own TV show
visit Cyberworld, float in space, or swim with dolphins – with a screen that is four storeys high and digital surround sound, it’s the next best thing to being there
a one-stop destination for a great day out with endless educational opportunities. Students will be interested and inspired, seeing new ways of looking at the world
Linking the exhibitions, Open Spaces are full of discovery and surprise. A complex of new public squares - full of shops, cafes and places to relax. You can enjoy the stimulation of public art in the form of beautiful water and light features, sculptures and landscaping, then watch as these become the exciting backdrop for live performances and multi-media activities for both day and night viewing.
Exloration Bristol. The exploratory holding many exhitits which change from time to time and a lovely living rainforest. The Exploration Bristol caters for all ages and is a great way of spending a rainy day especially those with children.
At-Bristol is a place of discovery and surprise, a place where education, exploration and sheer delight go hand in hand with an unforgettable day out. An immense £97 million project, at-Bristol is the core of a £450 million urban rejuvenation scheme, covering 11 acres at the heart of Bristol’s Harbourside area.