Thursday 26 March 2015

Underwater Street Children's Discovery Centre Review

We spent Friday in Liverpool so I could attend the UK premier of Breastmilk (you can read my review here). I didn’t think my three year old daughter would want to watch a 90 minute documentary about breastfeeding, so Laurie took the day off work so that he could keep her entertained. I’d heard about Underwater Street and was keen to try it out, so Laurie took Ebony there while I watched the film.

After the film was over, I headed across to meet them. It was long after lunchtime but despite being hungry Ebony wasn’t ready to leave just yet. I think Underwater Street had too much to offer in terms of entertainment.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect at Underwater Street, I know that school trips often go there but it didn’t sound much like a museum from what I’d heard. I thought it might be a bit like Eureka before we arrived, but it’s not really, it’s more focused on play than learning, or learning through play I guess I should say.

There is a row of shops to play in, with the dog parlour being Ebony’s absolute favourite. There were lots of soft toy dogs of various sizes, dog bowls, grooming toys and leads. When I arrived Ebony was happily dragging a dog round by a lead, and I gather she’d been doing this for quite some time. There was also a little play shop with toy food and baskets as well as a check out area. And there was a post office which Ebony loved, and there were letterboxes to post the letters through, so that was a big hit.

There was also a big craft table with regular craft activities running throughout the day for no extra cost. Ebony did some painting and made some slime which she was really impressed with. There was also a full size car in a messy area what you could go in and paint, which looked like a lot of fun. There was a big water play area, with lots of different toys for pouring as well as nets, sieves and pebbles.

There was an area where you could dig for fossils, and then materials out so you could do colourings of them. One of Ebony’s favourite bits was a huge bubble you could stand in. You stood in the middle of a circle, and then pulled on a rope which lifted the circle up, creating a cylindrical bubble around you. She very much enjoyed popping it.

It’s hard to remember all of the things they had there, there really was so much stuff. The ideas were fun and simple, and it was obviously put together by some very creative people. Far better than a typical play area, there was a focus on learning through play, and lots of different things to do. It wasn't huge, but you could happily spend a few hours there playing in all the different areas and exploring everything on offer. We had a really love time, and Ebony is already excited about going back one day.

My only criticism would be the food. There was a packed lunch area that was only available to schools, but we were planning on eating in the cafe anyway. This turned out to be a bad idea because the cafe menu was pretty uninspiring. Obviously, as vegans it’s not always easy to find good food in these sorts of places, but most menus will have at least a couple of options. The menu here was quite pricey and didn’t tickle our taste buds so in the end we left and found food elsewhere (at Jamie’s Italian which I was a bit surprised to discover did pretty decent vegan food).

Underwater Street Children’s Discovery Centre is on Underwater Street (of course) and is located down near the docks in Liverpool. It was £7.95 for Ebony to attend during term time, but you can find a full list of prices here. When I arrived it was pretty quiet and Ebony didn’t have to wait to play on things, but Laurie said there had been a school trip in earlier and the whole place had been pretty busy so if you have younger kids it might be worth trying to go on a quieter day if you can.

I would absolutely recommend this as a place to visit, there are so many different things to do, and little ones (and I'm sure bigger ones) will be happily entertained for hours. It was really hard work getting Ebony to leave even though I'm sure she must have been starving!

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