Play with boats (and get soaked) in the Science Museum’s The Garden gallery

An abundance of toddle space and enough lights, sounds and hanging stuff to keep kids and adults entertained

What?: Bab Dad foams at the mouth over science and is determined that our daughter is going to be the next Marie Curie. On the contrary, I find that even the word ‘science’ makes me want to take a very long nap, but since Bab is in prolonged teething hell and currently about as much company as a small, angry, grapefruit, I was willing to step out of my comfort zone on the off chance that one of us might have something approaching fun. And we did.

The Science Museum is vast – too vast to do in a day, so we had to pick our battles. Bab adored The Garden, which wasn’t actually a garden but rather a large, interactive kids’ gallery filled with things for her to touch and lick. She was so thrilled by the water-play feature she managed to completely soak her outfit, which I couldn’t change because I’m crap and don’t carry spares. She also drank about a pint of chlorine but I just let it happen because I haven’t seen her that happy in weeks.

The rest of the museum offers acre upon acre of crawl/toddle space for tinies and enough lights, sounds and hanging stuff to keep kids with even the shortest of attention spans entertained. Bab got overwhelmed and broke after a while, then she just sort of installed herself on my leg like a tiny, tired koala.

Where?: Museumsville, South Kensington. The easiest way to navigate is to get the tube to South Ken (Piccadilly, District & Circle) then walk right to the end of the museums subway. Be warned though, there are steps.

Facilities: Loads of lifts; four family-friendly cafes, a diner complete with kids’ menu and a milkshake/ice cream bar; buggy parking in the cloakroom; baby changing on all but one floor; nice, calm family room in the basement where you can all sit and cry when everything gets a bit much.

Best Bits: We both thoroughly enjoyed The Garden, even if the sign on the door said it was for ages 3-6. The Shake Bar looked sexy.

Worst Bits: School trippers have become the bane of our lives since we started on our Bablands adventure, and the Science Museum is inevitably prime school-trip territory. At one point Bab got trampled by an army of six-year-olds with tiny wheelbarrows who all wanted to pat her head like she was a good dog.

Cost: Well they say it’s free and then they put up giant suggested donation £5 banners and make you queue up to have an awkward exchange with a super-chatty museum minion, during which you will merrily hand over a £10 note for fear of looking like a tight bastard. I draw the line at effing Gift Aid though.

Would We Come Back?: Yes but remind me to bring a change of Bab clothes next time. And possibly some galoshes.

Bab plays in The Garden at the Science Museum


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