Learning can be fun, but so can play! The Resident picks out some of London’s best interactive exhibitions and activities that combine the best of both worlds to help you keep the kids entertained this summer
1 Dinosaurs in the Wild, Greenwich Peninsula
Dinosaurs in the Wild has proved so popular it’s extended its run until 2 September 2018. The interactive experience blends real and digital worlds into a unique, mixed reality of live immersive theatre, museum-quality dinosaur science and theme-park fun. Travel by time machine to TimeBase 67, a scientific research station built 67 million years in the past, where scientists now study living dinosaur, and get closer to prehistoric giants like Tyrannosaurus, Alamosaurus and Triceratops than you ever imagined possible. Tickets from £25 for Advanced Off-peak adult and £85 for Advanced Off-Peak family (2 adults, 2 children).
West Parkside, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 0BE; dinosaursinthewild.com
2 Nintendo Labo workshop experience at KidZania London
KidZania London, the indoor city run by kids, has teamed up with Nintendo UK to launch of the Nintendo Labo Make, Play and Discover workshop experience. The partnership aims to inspire future design engineers by exploring different ways to create and invent. Together with the Nintendo Switch console, the Nintendo Labo kits provide the tools and technology to make fun interactive DIY creations, play with them using the Nintendo Switch, and discover and learn how Nintendo Switch technology shapes ideas into reality.
Westfield London, Ariel Way W12 7GA; kidzania.co.uk
3 Dinosaur World Live at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
We can’t get enough of dinosaurs at the moment! As well as Dinosaurs in the Wild, listed above, you can now experience the dangers and delights of Dinosaur World Live in an interactive new family show at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Grab your compass and join an intrepid explorer to cross uncharted territories where remarkably life-like dinosaurs lurk. Meet a host of impressive creatures, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Giraffatitan and Segnosaurus. Running 14 August until 9 September 2018. Tickets £16.50.
Regent’s Park NW1 4NU; openairtheatre.com
4 A World Inside a Book at Discover Children’s Story Centre
At Discover you can adventure through two floors of magical Story Worlds, make up stories for resident space alien Hootah and slide down a monster’s tongue in the beautiful Story Garden. And this summer you can creep into a magical world of forests, miniature houses, Gruffalos, dragons and other creatures at the UK’s first immersive exhibition of best loved children’s author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. A World Inside a Book is a brilliant 3D technicolour world where you can spot The Gruffalo, Squash and Squeeze around a life-sized cow, climb through The Highway Rat’s cave, rock hop through the Monkey Puzzle jungle and more. Open till September. Day passes for adults and kids (2+) are £6.50, plus an additional charge of £1.50pp for the exhibition.
383-387 High Street, Stratford E15 4QZ; discover.org.uk
5 The Great Summer of Engineering at London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum is hosting a summer of STEM-related interactive challenges, storytelling and demonstrations, with a new transport challenge each week. From 6-12 August, the theme is Building and Materials, where kids can discover the effect different materials have on their dream ideas; from 13-19 August it’s Circuit Trail, where little ones can follow circuit trails to have a go at a ‘snap circuit’ challenge; from 20-26 August the theme is Moving Parts, where kids can pick and choose from a ‘conveyor belt’ of parts to create a mini moving bus; and finally, from 27 August to 3 September it’s Future: Dreamer, Planner, Fixer?, where they can experiment to try to solve the engineering problems of the future. Adults £17.50 on the door, £16 online (tickets allow unlimited daytime entry to the museum for a year). Under 18s free.
Covent Garden Piazza WC2E 7BB; ltmuseum.co.uk
6 Gnomus: Caretaker of the Earth at Kew Gardens
There’s always plenty to do at Kew. As well as the 200 metre-long Treetop Walkway, Log Trail, Woodland Walk and Giant Badger Set – all of which can be explored with the aid of a £4 summer explorer rucksack to help kids make the most of their time in the gardens, there’s also a new addition to the Temperate House for the summer… Gnomus: Caretaker of the Earth. Follow Gnomus the giant gnome puppet who will lead you on a story-filled adventure through the world’s temperate lands. The last survivor of an ancient race, Gnomus has emerged from his underground home to check on the plants at the Temperate House. Performances last 15 minutes. Until 2 September 2018.
Kew, Richmond TW9 3AE; kew.org
7 Active August at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Active August is a series of free child-friendly activities taking place across Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park throughout the month, all aimed at boosting fitness and wellbeing while having fun. Choose from more than 250 free activities including canoeing, basketball, mini-tennis, Parkour for youth and football, or take a trip to the ArcelorMittal Orbit to ride the world’s longest tunnel slide. You can even get a Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Day Pass, which includes mountain biking at Lee Valley VeloPark or tennis at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and a trip to ArcelorMittal Orbit (prices vary, to book see visitleevalley.org.uk).
For the full schedule, see queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk
8 Big Wednesdays at the Horniman Museum & Garden
Big Wednesdays are free, drop-in activities taking place weekly from 10.30am-3.30pm throughout August at the Horniman Museum & Gardens in Forest Hill. In celebrate of the museum’s newly opened World Gallery, the Big Wednesday Shared World events celebrate everything that makes us human and connects us with nature. Taking place on 8, 15, 22 and 29 August, activities include storytelling, performances, art and craft and film events. The Horniman has plenty for kids to do this summer, from the immersive Sound Garden to the Butterfly House and pop-up Plonk Crazy Golf course.
100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ; horniman.ac.uk
9 Journey Across The Great Map at National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum is running plenty of hands-on activities for kids entertained this summer. As well as Object Handling every Thursday, which takes place in a different gallery every week, and Character Encounters on Saturdays, where kids can meet a character from the past and take part in an exciting performance, there’s the chance to Journey Across the Great Map in an interactive family adventure. Grab a touch-screen tablet from the museum and step into the giant atlas at the centre of the museum. Use your tablet to explore distant lands, discover treasures from all around the world, uncover stories of female pirates and track currents and winds from live data.
Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9NF; rmg.co.uk