In the Templeborough area of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, you will find the Magna Science Adventure Centre. It is a vast family-friendly visitor attraction set in an old steelworks. It has one of the biggest outdoor playgrounds I have ever seen and there’s even a splash pad that is open in the warmer months. There is more than enough there to spend a full day out.
Magna Science Adventure Centre – Review – Things To Do
The one thing that strikes you when you drive up to the centre is just how big the building is. By now the kids will have clocked the huge playground but we always head indoors before we venture over. The one thing to note is that this building is cold, it is really cold for most of the year so make sure you layer up well. It is so vast it can’t possibly be heated. Luckily, the cafe is heated so it’s a great place to take a break and warm up.
You start your visit indoors with an exhibition detailing the history of steelmaking in Rotherham. You then head into the vast steelworks.
There are exhibitions with sights and sounds dotted all around but a lot of them you can’t really see until you shine one of their huge lights. These can be moved around and kids will love doing this to see what they can spot next. As you move along a long platform you will start hearing sounds from other exhibitions.
There are four main exhibition areas with interactive galleries inside. These are air, fire, water and earth. There is so much to play with that at times you’ll wonder if you will ever fit it all in.
Sadly, some of the displays aren’t always working but there is so much to take care of, it’s not surprising. They are also a registered charity so not always able to afford to repair some of the exhibits. Within the four galleries, there are over 100 interactive exhibits.
There are lifts to take you up and down the floors and watch out for the main lift room – there’s a bit of a surprise when you enter. As well as the four galleries there is the “Big Melt”. This is a ‘show’ on the old furnace that takes place on the hour, every hour. A voice-over tells you about the history of the building and how the machinery was used to make the steel. There are a few fireworks towards the end so it’s worth a watch.
Fire Pavillion is in a large room where you enter past large screens playing images of fire. There is then interactive exhibits that teach you all about fire and how heat is used. The main thing to see in here is a 5-metre tornado made of fire. This is fascinating and only works if someone presses the button. It’s a great space for kids to learn more about heat conduction.
The Water Pavillion is our favourite exhibition. The entrance has water on both sides of the walkway and you then enter a room full of interactive fun. Your kids will probably get wet in here so make sure you roll up their sleeves. They do have some aprons if your kids are happy wearing them.
There are exhibits showing how the water cycle works and what you can do with water. There are locks, ways to create waves, water sprayers where you have to knock down targets, dams and more.
In the Air Pavillion, you can make lots of noise with various displays. There is a large machine that blows wind at different speeds and you then enter a blimp shaped room with music bottles you can play with, a bridge where you can create an earthquake, a whirlwind you can attempt to blow out and noises you can hear by squeezing on the end of pipes plus many more things to do.
The final gallery is the Earth Pavillion which has been a favourite of my sons. On our last two visits, it hasn’t been as good though and I hope that they will improve the issues in this area.
The hole in the floor that you shout down where a voice answers back wasn’t working and also the rock collection area had no rocks. In the past kids have been able to work together to ferry rocks around (light fake rocks). They start by creating an explosion and rocks then fall out. They then have to collect them up and send them on their way along conveyor belts.
There are also JCB digger arms in here where you can try and move steel items around plus a sandpit with diggers which younger kids will love.
Outdoors the playground is always open when the centre is open. The splash park is only open in the warmer months. There is plenty in there for kids to splash and play in. In the playground, there is a fantastic mix of equipment for toddlers up to older children.
Some of the areas have sand under the play equipment so you may need a change of clothes. It really is a great playground so make sure you have enough time as your kids won’t want to leave. It’s a great place for kids to make new friends.
Manga hosts a number of family-friendly events throughout the year. Magna Mayhem is one we keep meaning to try. They basically fill one of their halls with massive inflatables which looks great fun.
On an average visit, we spend around 4 hours at Magna which includes lunch. You are welcome to eat your picnic in the cafe area or you can take it outside.
Magna Science Adventure Centre FAQ & Further Information
Address: Magna Way, Templeborough, Rotherham S60 1FD, South Yorkshire
Category – Interactive Museum – Indoors and Outdoors – Suitable for all ages
What are the ticket prices?
We find the tickets great value for money as once you’ve purchased a ticket you can return as much as you like for the next 12 months for free (not including special events). An adult ticket costs £13.95, children 4-15 £11.95. 2-3s £5.50, under 2s are free.
What are the main facilities and things to do?
Interactive museum in an old steelworks based on air, wind, fire and earth. There are over 100 interactive exhibits, a huge outdoor playground and summer splash pad. There are toilets and a cafe.
When are they open?
Magna is open for most of the year and closes during most of December. For up-to-date opening times please visit their website.
Is there food available?
There is a cafe serving limited hot and cold food and drinks. You are welcome to bring a picnic.
Is there parking?
There is free on-site parking.
Are they dog friendly?
Only assistance dogs are permitted.
Are they accessible?
Please contact the venue.