Have you been planning a visit to Belfast with the family? Etain, mum of 3, shares her experience of how to visit Belfast with kids:
Having family in Belfast and deciding to take advantage of the mid term break, we took a road trip to Belfast with our 3 sons aged 9, 6 & 4. From Galway, we drove on the M6 to Dublin, then M50 North to M1. Having in car sat nav would have been handy, but we just about managed without it.
The Armagh Planetarium
The Armagh Planetarium is about 45 mins from Belfast. There are number of shows in their Dome theatre which are geared to different age groups. These shows are very popular so it is recommended to book tickets in advance.
We booked Zula Patrol for the whole family, which was about aliens travelling through the solar system looking for different types of weather. All 3 boys enjoyed this. Then we went to Astronaut – how space travel affects your body, for over 6’s, the older boys (aged 6 & 9) enjoyed this. All 3 explored the exhibits, watched 3D shows and participated in a rocket-making workshop. We spent about 3 hours at the Planetarium.
The cost for 2 adults and 3 children is approximately £28 (cost depends on the number of shows). The café was closed for maintenance and the local Centra was poor, so I would recommend bringing a picnic lunch. There is a café area and picnic tables to eat outside. It is closed on Sundays.
W5 in Belfast
The W5 (whowhatwherewhenwhy is Ireland’s multi award-winning interactive discovery centre) and is situated at the Odyssey Centre, in Belfast. It is open every day, we visited it on Sunday. Admission for 2 adults and 3 children was £24. There is a café and picnic areas and lockers on the ground level. There are also some restaurants in the Odyssey Centre and there is no problem with leaving and returning.
The W5 is set over 5 floors: 2 main exhibit floors, 2 floors with galleries and 1 floor with the café. There are four main exhibit areas: Start, Go, See, Do. Each with many interactive stations and exhibits.
Start – this was geared towards under 8’s with a toddler section, it includes a pretend shop & café, trains, water play and other hands-on activities, also a quiet corner to read books.
Go – This is where my husband and youngest son built Knex cars and all 3 boys raced balls down a track they built and other activities.
See – The boys looked at many things under microscopes, sent video emails and participated in other activities.
Do – Our eldest son’s favourite activities were; to record a weather forecast in a mini TV studio and built a giant bridge from Meccano.
The W5 is a great museum, loads and loads of hands-on exhibits, very family friendly. We spent about 5 hours there.
While in Belfast we also went on the Belfast Eye, which is a ferris wheel located at City Hall. There is a recorded commentary and it went around 4 times, we all had a great view of Belfast, and found it very interesting. Cost: Adult: £6.50, Child (3 to 12 years): £4.50.
Article written by Etain, mum of 3.
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Have you visited Belfast with kids? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.