Life Science Centre – Review for families

Make science interactive and interesting for even the youngest of children at Newcastle's Centre for Life

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What is it?

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The International Centre of Life is a hub in the heart of Newcastle focused on researching and developing human knowledge of science. The Life Science Centre is a family-friendly visitor attraction that is part of the overall centre. t’s mostly referred to as the ‘Centre for Life’. Find it in Times Square, Newcastle. The Sat Nav postcode is NE4 7AD.

Best for:

Babies / Toddlers & Preschool / 5 – 8

OK for:

9 – 12

Cost

£££ – A family ticket costs just under £30 and is valid for 2 adults/2 children or 1 adult/3 children. Either way, its still expensive and single admission tickets are just as costly, if not more so. Please remember Life Centre is an educational charity organization and they do not receive public funding.

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What’s on offer

Included in the admission fee are the Life Science Centre’s biggest attractions and best exhibits, including Body Worlds Vital, the planetarium, the 4D Motion Ride and the Science Theatre. The first floor is also a special ‘young explorers’ zone for under 7’s.  Adults and children alike will learn things they never knew about the human body, feel the rush of the motion ride and have science explained to them in the Science Theatre.

They also offer an outdoor, seasonal ice rink over the Christmas period each year – November until February – so check the website for the exact dates and times. There are several events and travelling exhibitions on at various times, so check the website for up-to-date information about what’s on and when. There’s also a monthly under 4’s session during term time, so little ones can explore the centre without the hustle and bustle of other tourists.

Like most attractions, there is a café (oddly placed in between two attractions) and a gift shop, but the Life Science Centre ticket allows you to come and go throughout the day, so you’re not confined to the on-site café. There are some local restaurants, coffee shops and fast food outlets nearby. There’s also an indoor picnic area in the centre itself and the quayside isn’t far if you’d prefer to eat alongside the river.

Facilities-wise, the Life Science Centre is family friendly. There are plenty of decent sized lockers to rent and accessible toilets with baby changing facilities upon your entrance to the centre. There’s also a car park just two minutes away, the Times Square Car Park. It’s not free, but it’s probably your best bet!

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Highlights

The Inside DNA and Body World exhibitions are often regarded by TripAdvisor users as “awe-inspiring” and ‘intriguing”

Most families enjoy the 4D motion ride – some even go on it more than once. Little children will love all the amazing creative play in the curiosity zone and will no doubt be worn out after partying to the soft play.

What to watch out for

  • You must be 1.2m or taller to ride the 4D Motion Ride. There are several other restrictions applicable, so please read the following clause from the website: 

    “The ride is also unsuitable if you are pregnant, suffer back or neck problems, have heart problems, have a pace maker or if you suffer from motion sickness. All visitors must be able to sit upright and step up into the seat (with or without assistance from a carer.) Due to the special effects used on the Motion Ride, you and your belongings will get wet. Visitors are responsible for the safe keeping of their own belongings.”

  • The Christmassy ice rink is always very popular, so be prepared to wait or maybe try to book tickets ahead of time.
  • The Planetarium at the Life Science Centre received negative feedback over one of its videos (a video sponsored by Google regarding space exploration). The Life Science Centre is therefore changing its programme for the Planetarium. The Body Worlds Vital exhibition may finish its stay in Newcastle at some stage. Always check the website to make sure you’ve got the latest information as we wouldn’t want anyone to be disappointed.
  • The café is expensive and also hard to avoid, as it’s right in the middle of the attraction. Make sure you’ve got a lovely picnic planned if you don’t want to shell out.
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MFM tips:

  • If you’re travelling by public transport, keep your ticket and you may get a discounted entry free. Please check the website for full, up-to-date details.
  • The family ticket during the months of November to February for just the centre itself costs a few £s less. The centre and skating costs £32.50 for the whole family, which is an excellent discount and good way to get your money’s worth.
  • If you don’t find the entertainment you’re looking for at Life, the completely free Discovery Museum is just a five minute walk away.
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What the owners say

“For a great day out in Newcastle upon Tyne, look no further than the Life Science Centre with exhibitions, events, theatre shows and the biggest planetarium in the North of England!

We’re an award-winning Science Centre full of exciting exhibitions, activities and events for all ages. Our programme changes regularly so there’s always a new reason to visit. And remember – everything is included in the price of admission.”

Visit the official Life Science Centre website

Visit more of Newcastle and the North East…

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