National Space Centre, Leicester
Cross the final frontier with Leicester's super-shiny space centre
It’s the Midlands’ answer to the Kennedy Space Center. Rising like a gigantic see-through beehive on the outskirts of Leicester, the centre’s space-age tower could be the outpost of an advanced alien race from a far-flung galaxy. Contained within this bubble are the centre’s two powerful rockets, Thor Able and Blue Streak. With the UK’s largest planetarium, a stellarium and hands-on exhibits, there’s all young space cadets need to reach for the stars.
Star attractions Get a closer look at those handsome rockets by soaring skywards, Willy Wonka-style, in a cool glass elevator. Sure-fire crowd pullers are the stellarium, where the 525 stars nearest the sun are
marked out with pinpricks of light; the 3D Simulator, which transports you to Europa, Jupiter’s sixth moon; and the Gagarin Experience, where you can squeeze inside the tiny metal box of a replica Vostok capsule and blast off into space. Wander among the galleries and you’ll happen upon some smaller gems, such as a piece of Moon rock brought back from the Apollo mission.
Family X-Factor Exhibits are designed to appeal to a child’s fun-loving nature. Children can prepare for life aboard a 2025 spaceflight on a lunar base, manoeuvre a space module, take a moon walk, learn about planetary life with cool touch tables, and create an imaginary alien.
Not many people know this, but… The centre is hatching plans for a Martian base, and is in the process of testing robotic craft for a mission to the Red Planet in 2016.
Don’t forget to pack A Martian phrase book (you never know…).
Special Events From July 18–September 4, there will be special space Lego challenges in the galleries. Plus, this summer sees the opening of the new weather centre.
Cost £13 (adults), £11 (children).
National Space Centre, Exploration Drive Leicester LE4 5NS.
Also in the area The Abbey Pumping Station nearby focuses on matters of a more earthy nature, with all you need to know about the old sewage systems of Leicester.
Find more fun Summer Events For The Midlands
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