The excellent We The Curious science museum is one of Bristol’s most family-friendly attractions.
The museum opened in 2000 (at the time it was called @Bristol) and it was initially centred around the exhibits from the former Exploratory science museum that closed a year earlier. The museum originally included an IMAX cinema and Wildwalk, an area consisting of nature-related exhibits including two artificial rainforests and an aquarium, however, these two areas closed in March 2007 and the Wildwalk building is now home to Bristol Aquarium. In September 2017, @Bristol was renamed We The Curious.
Like many science museums, We the Curious is geared towards families with children and much of the complex is not really suitable for older visitors without kids.
What to see at We The Curious
The museum’s ground floor was completely re-fitted with new exhibits in 2020 and it is noted for its hands-on science exhibits that explain various aspects of science and how it relates to the world we live in.
Exhibition spaces at the museum include All About Us, the Tinkering Space, Animate It!, the Curiosity Zone, Our World, the Space Gallery and a 3D planetarium.
All About Us is an exhibition space with interactive exhibits that show how the human body works. This area includes the Real Brain exhibit, which explores the human brain.
The Tinkering Space on the first floor is a space for designing and creating things that includes robots and 3D printers.
Animate It! is an exhibition developed with Bristol-based Aardman Animations, which includes a set from the Wallace & Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf and Death.
The Curiosity Zone takes up much of the top floor and includes interactive exhibits that explore force, magnetism, light and sound.
Our World is an exhibition space that has exhibits that explain phenomena about the world around us and the Space Gallery has exhibits about space travel. The planetarium, which is located inside the distinctive stainless steel sphere that dominates the museum’s Millenium Square entrance is an extension of this gallery. It is the UK’s first 3D planetarium with a programme of seasonal shows.
Visiting We The Curious
We The Curious is located in the Canon’s Wharf area of Bristol near Millenium Square. Nearby attractions include Bristol Aquarium and Bristol Cathedral and it is just a short walk across Pero’s Bridge to Arnolfini, Queen Square and the Old City.
Like most science museums, We The Curious is a great spot to take the kids, however, it is not a particularly cheap attraction to visit and there is an additional charge for planetarium shows (£2.50 for 2D shows and £3.50 for 3D shows). It works out around 5% cheaper if you buy your tickets online and admission is cheaper if you visit 1½ hours before closing time.
The complex is wheelchair accessible and there is a hearing loop in the planetarium for visitors with a hearing impairment and some of the exhibits are adapted for blind and visually-impaired visitors.
The museum has a nice cafe on site, although there are several other places to eat and drink nearby, particularly alongside the waterfront.
It also has a gift shop, which like most museum gift shops is a great place to pick up unique gifts and souvenirs.
Most people spend between three and four hours here.