I remember visiting Eureka Children's Museum as a child myself, so I was really excited about being able to take my own daughter there.
Eureka is such good value for money - buy entrance once and it's valid all year as an annual pass!
One thing I didn't realise is that although under 1's are free, if you register them on your annual pass, it is then valid until the adults pass runs out. Eg. If you register a 10 month old, it would still be valid for a year despite the fact they'd be one in just two months time. Even better!
Eureka is in Halifax, right next door to the train station, so easily accessible without a car.
I did wonder how good it would be for a not-yet-walking toddler, but since we got our pass nearly a year ago, we've visited probably a dozen times and had lots of fun.
I thought i'd do a blog post about what's on offer for younger children and so I took my camera along to our last visit to capture the action.
At the moment, Tilly is obsessed with cars, well, anything with wheels. She loved the car mechanics area and the chance to pretend to drive!
Eureka is set over two floors, and is full accessible throughout. The facilities available are, as you'd expect, great for families. There are numerous baby change rooms, as well as the 'changing places' room for people with disabilities, a great child-friendly cafe and buggy parks throughout.
There are a fair few things to discover, interactive exhibits for learning, and lots of role-play opportunities too.
There are a few areas specifically for under-5's, including 'Creativity Space' which is a sensory & craft room.
The cafe is a particular highlight of Eureka. It has a range of home-cooked meals, with lots of healthy choices. There are some more interesting options than the usual 'cafe grub', and there are plenty of options for vegetarians.
After 2pm, they also have an excellent deal, any hot drink & cake for £2.95 which I have taken advantage of a couple of times.
See the menu here.
The staff are extremely child friendly and have always been super helpful when i've visited alone with my daughter trying to juggle everything. However one thing I think could improve the Eureka cafe is if there were plastic plates and cutlery available for the little ones. Tilly had the childrens' tomato pasta, but it came in a heavy ceramic bowl and I had to tip it onto another plate to make it easier for her to eat. Still she loved it!
As well as the cafe, there's also a couple of areas on site for you to eat your own picnic inside. One is a really lovely idea - in an old train carriage outside. Tilly is just starting to show an interest in trains, so I think next time we will take a picnic to eat there, and then follow it up with the afternoon coffee & cake deal at the cafe :D
The role play areas have several things suitable for babies who aren't yet walking. (Tilly is currently only just taking a few steps but not unaided yet). There is plenty to touch and feel in the post office, bank, the kitchen & Marks and Spencers shop in particular. Tilly also loved looking in the vaults at the bank.
There's a couple of areas specifically for under 5's - There is a lovely safe contained place specifically for non-walking babies to crawl about in the butterfly garden area.
There's also the 'desert discovery' area upstairs. However I'd say there isn't actually loads for them to touch and play with in those areas so Tilly does seem to prefer playing in other areas such as the shop & kitchen.
Upstairs is the 'all about me' area, which is brilliant! You can find out a lot about your body and how it all works, about food, about medicine.
There's role play areas - a doctor, dentist, and there's also an area to learn about pregnancy and babies!
And of course the famous giant teeth!
Tilly is on the smaller site for her age, but once she's a wee bit taller and a bit more steady on her feet I can't wait to let her have a go in the water area upstairs - she loves splashing about and playing with ducks so I know she will love it ! There are aprons on hand to help keep the children dry - but I think i'll take a change of clothes just incase too.
Outside there is also a giant sandpit, which is perfect for children of all ages. There's also a sensory garden just next to Eureka, so there's also various outdoor possibilities here.
Eureka! The National Children's Museum Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE
Phone number - 01422 330069
Eureka is open Tuesday-Sundays (Closed Mondays) outside of school holidays. 10am-4pm on weekdays and 10am-5pm on weekends.
Open everyday in the school holidays from 10am-5pm
There is a large car park just next to Eureka, which is pay and display (also takes cards)
Up to 4 hours is £3
Up to 12 hours is £6
UNDER ONES - FREE
1-2 YEAR OLDS - £5.95
CHILDREN AGE 3+ AND ADULTS: £12.95
(Visit once, valid for a year)
As mentioned there is a cafe & picnic areas on site, and also a gift shop on exit.
For more info visit the website here