I realized that the other week I promised to post the photos from our visit to Telus Spark in Calgary aka the new Science Centre but then I never did! Oops!
In any case better late then never ;) We went to the Spark while Auntie Amanda was here doing some baby pics for our friends. She has an annual pass to the Edmonton Telus World of Science and we had some discounted tickets (I don't know that I would pay full price to go).
|Grady playing in the station that helps you discover how rivers determine their path.|
|Brian and Grady building a river path|
I don't like that you have to pay for parking at the Telus Spark I think it is totally unnecessary. Yes I know that it is near (not close but a decent 5+ min walk from the closest parking lot) to the zoo and that the zoo charges for parking to make money off those people using its lots for transit parking to commute to downtown. I don't see any scenario in which the Spark stops charging for parking and suddenly their lot is overwhelmed with transit parkers as it would be a good 10+ min walk to the C-train station. Plus if you are a savvy transit user you would realize that it would cost you less to purchase and annual membership to the zoo to receive free parking and BONUS you would also get to go to the zoo!
Sorry off topic there for a sec. The other thing I don't get is why they say the first 1/2 hour of parking is free yet they make you pay for parking up front. What is with that? What if I had something happen in the first 30min and had to leave? Would I have to line up for a refund? Just get some parking payment machine for heavens sake and place them by the door.
I like that they offer lockers for use but again I don't see why they need to charge for them? I really felt there was a lot of nickel and diming at the Spark. Why not refund the dollar when you pick up yourself or charge something more reasonable like $0.25 (I know that makes me sound cheap but I am in this case) Once they open the movie dome there will be yet another place for them to add a charge. While I do think their pricing is in line with other attractions in Calgary those other places such as the Zoo or Calaway almost everything there is all-inclusive in the pricing except for things you would expect to pay for (i.e. food)
|Grady and I in the Aurora Borealis simulator|
The Telus Spark has a lot to offer and I was very impressed with the building overall. I thought it was pretty well laid out and it was easy to visit or not visit certain areas if for example you only wanted to see the Creative Kids museum without your kid having a fit over not seeing the rest.
|some of the color filled mason jars in front of the window.|
|playing with the ribbons in the lobby|
I really liked (and so did Grady) the variety of things to play with in the lobby. It is a great place to get away from the crowds and play until your body is ready to go back to "learning"
|testing out the echo simulator|
|Amanda and Grady smelling the scents of Alberta|
As you can see there are LOTS of hands on exhibits which is great. Even though Grady may be young to stand and listen to what you are supposed to learn from each station there was a lot that he could do. I didn't find any stations that were broken or missing pieces as I had previously read in other reviews.
|of course a mighty machine catches Grady's attention!|
|using magnets to find the treasure|
There were of course stations that were very involved and required a more mature mind that would be interested to sit and build and discover so I can see the value in an annual pass for families with older children that might go and just visit one station and really explore all it has to offer. We won't be buying an annual pass anytime until I see the value for young kids. It will really depend on travelling exhibits and movies and whether those are included or extra cost. It is good though that if we had memberships we could also go to the Edmonton Telus World of Science for free.
|making rainstorm sounds|
|more magnet fun|
|a big hit (pun intended) was the drum station for both Grady and Daddy!|
|a fun way to discover the laws of physics|
|this station was very involved and would require a bit more patience than I had at the time to play with|
|dams and electricity|
We will be back for at least one more visit as we have another set of discounted tickets but I think we will wait a bit until the outdoor area is finished or the movie dome is ready
|this is another station that would require a good 30min of play to really discover and enjoy. It is all about building a pipeline|
|discover the difference between SAG-D and THAI|
|you'll recognize these from our slow motion video|
Here we had some fun with the shadow station:
|not as scary as he looks...|
|oh no run away Grady!|
|no Grady's were harmed in the making of this photo montage, its all shadows folks|
After a good hour or so we headed over to check out the Creative Kids Museum, I really wanted to see how it compared to Discoveryland in Edmonton.
The water play area is not as well setup as in Edmonton, the ducks don't naturally move through the exhibit as well and it is easy for one kid to "hog" an area and there isn't a lot more to do that just get wet
The play structure a the Spark is miles better than the one in Edmonton and I liked the stations with different things to play with but other than that I would say Discoveryland is much better. I really liked the imaginary play station in Edmonton and while the Spark has a theatre area all there was to play with was 2 torn "costumes" (really just scraps of fabric), a spot light and some angry birds. Not really sure the point of that?
Have you been to the Spark? What did you think of it?