Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
When I read that Dynamic Earth explored the history of our planet I did feel an inner yawn come on, unsure that plate tectonics would rock my boat. Would my busy, lively children give a stuff either?
Dynamic Earth, to its credit, was wonderfully dynamic. The kids were transfixed from start to finish. All Scottish kids should have a school trip here as it makes learning fun. This is a five star attraction in the heart of Edinburgh and deserves a lot of credit.
The first room is the most historical, and possibly the least interesting for children. It tells the vital story of how a Scot, James Hutton, subtley pointed out to the religious bodies of the day, who were strongly arguing that the earth was around 6000 thousand years old, that the geology he saw pointed in a different direction (by only a few millions of years!). You can imagine how well that went down. Dealing with our planet was a controversial and risky business back in the 18th century.
From this room you progress to a chamber with a huge planet and yes, the inevitable explanation of plate tectonics and how continents collide, but this is where it gets really interesting for kids and juveniles like myself. Channelling your inner Dr Who you wait for a lift to become a … time lord. Yes, my friends!
Once inside the lift blackness descends briefly. Our toddlers both told us it was ‘DARK’, just in case we hadn’t noticed. Then all manner of flashing lights and illuminations reveal how animals and man have evolved over millennia with videos and visual displays lighting up the lift walls. It’s desperately engaging.
From there you learn about earthquakes and volcanoes, with the earth literally shaking beneath your feet. We had to scoop Mr Baby into our arms as Mr Toddler clung to our legs utterly flabbergasted. Always lovely to see them speechless.
Other highlights included a huge iceberg you can touch as penguins ‘swim’ under your feet on television screens in the floor. A 4D flight to the rain forest was another popular stop. Our plane, and its cheeky pilot, landed in desert landscapes, experienced a rhino charge, evaded a scorpio sting, flew over our own British temperate climate before reaching its humid destination.
The rain forest room itself is full of animated animals including a crocodile and gorilla. Thunder crashes and lightning flashes above you, and rain cascades through the evergreen canopy.
The grand finale is the Show Dome, 360° digital dome technology (the only one of its kind in Scotland) where we experienced a film about asteroids, their threat to our planet, and what scientists are planning for the future. Narrated by Sigourney Weaver it’s a visual feast and a riveting, awe inspiring glimpse into the future. Well, I thought so. Our children fell asleep in the darkness and we carried our little bundles out as the credits rolled. Every family should make an appointment with Dynamic Earth when in Auld Reekie.
Online prices start at £12.15 for adults, and children (aged 4-15) start at £8.10.
WHERE WE STAYED – Tots2Travel was glamping at Dundas Castle, just outside Edinburgh. A enjoyably novel way to experience the great outdoors with children and very close to the city centre too.
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