Over the school holidays, with the weather still not being very Spring-like, we were on the hunt for some indoor activities to keep the children entertained. I came across The Look Out Discovery Centre in Bracknell, which is not too far from us so decided to give it a go.
It reminded me a bit of the Science Museum (which I will hopefully put a post up on soon as we have been a few times lately), although not the whole centre is not as big it has some quite similar elements in terms of toddler activities, but with the massive advantage that it is far less crowded! You do have to pay to go in, but the price was pretty reasonable and if you go in term time with preschoolers there are special rates for that, so would be even better.
The first thing you see when you go in is the water play room, the main attraction is a long yellow water play trough for the children with fountains, boats and all sorts of little things to experiment with. Waterproof covers are provided for the children, and also hand dryers which is a nice touch! This water play section is pretty big so plenty of room for all the children to play and move around, and not too over crowded. There also seemed to be plenty of boats to go around. My boys aged 1-4 all really enjoyed this water play. There are other water related features in this room but not as interactive as this play area so this was the one which kept most of their attention in the room.
We were really wondering how we were going to manage to drag them away from the water play so we could go and see the rest of the centre! But luckily then my 4 year old noticed the construction area opposite, so eager to have a look they agreed to come out of the water!
I was really impressed by the construction zone! I can’t see much mention of it on the website, but it is a great feature. There is a massive two story house structure, which the children can build from giant lego blocks – following the architect plans. They can make the walls, add all the tiles to the roof, move around the bricks in their wheel barrows and ride around the “construction site” on little diggers and bull dozers. Hats and luminous jackets also provided to help them get into character!
My 4 year old loved this area and it was really nice to see many of the children working together to build the walls, cooperating well and working as a team although they don’t even know each other!
My younger two really enjoyed the ride ons and there was plenty of space for them to ride around in this area.
Once you have finished in the construction area, you go further on into the main hall which has two floors. The upper one seemed to have exhibits a bit more suitable for older children so we did not concentrate on that too much, but I did see that they all seemed to be quite interactive.
In the lower level there are plenty of things to discover. At the front a giant hot air balloon which the children can activate, as well as some experiments with balls and other interactive exhibits. Again these are probably more for slightly older children. My 4 year old was interested but I would say he was definitely at the lower age range for them and an older child would learn more from it. Toward the back of this hall is a toddler section, which has a little shop area which my 3 year old really enjoyed. It also has a small ball pool and some soft play blocks and a nice relaxing area with sofa, books, giant lego and other activities suitable for little ones.
Outdoors the whole centre is surrounded by woodlands and seems to be really popular for biking. It also has an outdoor play area which we didn’t have the chance to explore as it was not good weather. I’m sure we will go back in the summer and check it out.
Definitely worth a visit for those not too far away. Makes a nice change from the usual soft play on rainy days. There is plenty to keep the little ones entertained. We were there for a good few hours and still they were reluctant to leave at closing time!