At-Bristol - the blog

You can become an animator for the day, take part in real experiments in Live Lab and cover yourself in a giant soap bubble in At-Bristol Science Centre! The young people above are in the food lab. With changing exhibitions and exciting programme of events and activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Get starstruck in the UKs only 3D Planetarium which opened in 2015. Find out more about what you’ll find when you visit At-Bristol, how to get there, opening times and prices, membership and buy tickets online by clicking  HERE.

Lovely day out at At-Bristol


At-Bristol is THE destination of choice for people looking for educational fun with their primary aged children.

However, the technophobic grown-ups among us may find the city science centre at Harbouside a little challenging.

At the admission desk I had to be given a new wristband as I had mistakenly peeled off all the adhesive side on mine.

Needless to say the grandchildren witnessing I had messed up managed to put on their bands without my help!

Luckily my gang had been before and after depositing big coats and backpacks in the left luggage lockers headed off quickly for their favourite exhibits.

Some liked the under 8s building bricks compound upstairs, others with Tomorrow’s Word in mind went to the studio to spend time making documentaries and weather forecasts.

The real-life size plastic babies portrayed throughout the gestation period from embryo to full term always get taken out of the womb-like tummy for a cuddle.

What is good about At-Bristol is it attracts lots of parents and grandparents although it is the boffin-type blokes who come into their element.

I stood behind one middle-aged theoretical physicist while he explained the theory of everything to his children.

However, I was impressed with his knowledge of background radiation even if it left me feeling even more inept.

Me, all I really wanted to know was if you pulled, pushed, tugged, turned, twisted or thumped the exhibit and when eventually finding out it was out-of-order why didn’t it have a notice saying so?

It would be lovely if some ‘happy to help’ A-level science boffins in white coats could be found wandering about.

I could happily pay a sixth former a bit of pocket money to help me look work things out but then I suppose this defeats the element of discovery.

And a floor map would be good to know what is where.

But enough of my my prattling what did the children think?

We look four children aged between four and 12 years.

Four-year-old Estelle loved the bus journey into Bristol as she got to ring the bell and see real cows in the fields on route.

Being awarded a space explorer’s badge in the Planetarium for making a trip to Mars and back made her feel like a seasoned traveller.

The pass the planet game was a great success and the presenter would make a wonderful host for a children’s television programme.

Estelle said her favourite things at At-Bristol were milking the cow and building a Lego-style house.

She said: “I went to space at At-Bristol, it was amazing because I liked to go to different planets.

Her older cousin Clara said: “We played with the bubble mixture and I did some filming in the television studio of a random person.

“I did the Yum and Yuck food test and I got a coloured postcard printed with Yum! for Marmite.

“And we turned the atlas ball into a cannon ball and fired it at people.”

Estelle added: “I helped build a house but forgot to wear my hard hat.”

Clara said: “Well I liked going in the mummy’s tummy and when the baby came out she screamed.

“And I liked going in the Planetarium because we learned all about the planets and there has been a new planet discovered with water so there could be living creatures on it.

“I liked looking at the stars and I liked doing the special effects but my favourite part of At-Bristol was where you did a bicycle ride and a run and using a bat to bang on the noisy tubes.”

The pre teenagers liked the ‘disgusting’ pig’s heart dissection they saw.

Neave said: “It was a bloody lump of muscle being cut up – we loved it."

The autumn kitchen and greenhouse which ends on Thursday, November 26, is part of the Food! exhibition.

Children while exploring the science of food can make weird and wonderful juices, create their own take-away breakfast and sample some space age future food.

And they can get their hands dirty by planting a ‘green manure’ crop to take home.

This appeared to be closed so the country cousins had to pass on this treat.

From Friday, November 27, autumn becomes winter with warming food and the children can learn what is stirring in the greenhouse.

We would definitely return because writing this I realised all the bits we missed and all the new things happening.

The biggest complaint I overheard was the cost – a visit to At-Bristol isn’t cheap for a family and the biggest praise I heard was from the children because there is so much to do in a safe environment.

Planetarium shows are £2 per seat for a 2D show, £3 per seat for a 3D show.

Booking in advance is advised, and 3D shows are only available for children aged 6 and over.

At-Bristol is open 10am-6pm daily. To learn more click HERE.



  • At-Bristol is a leading science centre in the UK and a major player in the worldwide science centre movement with more than 277,000 visitors a year including over 60,000 school visits.

  • Since it opened in June 2000 it has had more than four million visitors.

  • At-Bristol runs its own YouTube channel which is the most subscribed science centre channel in the world with more than 12,000 subscribers.

  • At-Bristol is a registered charity which receives no government funding. It makes and develops new exhibitions for science centres and schools worldwide to purchase and hire.

  • At-Bristol is currently one of the most innovative sustainable buildings in the country and has been awarded silver in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2012, a Gold Green Tourism Business Scheme Award, and won bronze in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2014.


Carol Deacon