discovering science at enginuity

Exploring engineering at Enginuity, Coalbrookdale

Over the holidays I had to get us out the house. This time we decided to visit Blists Hill Victorian Town (my request) and Enginuity (N’s preferred choice, and a way to get him to agree to Blists Hill). It’s great to have a good choice of museums so close to each other, and part of the same Ironbridge Gorge Museums.  It meant we could visit 2 in one day, have lunch, and only pay for one parking ticket that could be used across car parks.

discovering science at enginuity

Enginuity is on the Coalbrookedale museums site, alongside the Coalbrookdale museum of Iron and Darby Houses.  When we arrived it was nearly lunchtime so we headed to the Furnace Kitchen first. It’s a really nice café/bistro, although food options are limited for more basic tastes.  I did have a very delicious gnocchi light from the starter menu.  N chose macaroni cheese from the children’s menu which he said was good, but the sauce was very bland.

ironbridge map
Furnace kitchen cafe at Ironbridge
gnocchi with bacon
entrance to Enginuity

Enginuity is a small museum with an engineering theme. Most of the exhibits are interactive and there’s every type of aspect of engineering you could imagine. From the steam engine to the water dam area. From the world record attempting Lego suspension bridge spanning the length of the building (with 205,000 bricks) to the Enginuity puzzle lab in the middle where families of all ages can challenge themselves to different puzzles and maths ideas, to creating their own pictures.

longest lego suspension bridge
pythagoras theorum
activitiy station at enginuity
old green vehicle in enginuity
black steam engine decked out in christmas decorations

I was expecting it to be busier, but there it wasn’t too bad, so there were only a couple of displays we missed out as other children were using them.

N started off testing how much energy different electrical items use up.  A little bit of physical work turning the wheel, then some button pressing.  Learning while having fun and doing a bit of physical work.  It’s definitely the way N likes to learn.

testing out electronic item use with battery power
learning about wind and turbines

There was a big flywheel we tried turning, and we had a great time testing out what type of propeller structure works best to get the engine going.

giant flywheel

Around the building there are interactive screens to test your knowledge.  Some work needed from myself, and a lot for N as he couldn’t be bothered to complete them and let me to it.

blue interactive game
interactive science fact game

There were chances to complete electrical circuits and turn on different lights, those without pacemakers can try putting electric currents through them – I was surprised N didn’t want to try them given his obsession with the electric fences on the farm!

playing with electrical circuits
hands on electronic static light ball
static experiment with fabrics

Upstairs there was a display about different ways of moving on a smaller scale like skates, surf boards and skateboards.. N was surprised about the Sinclair C5 on display, causing us to debate it being ahead of it’s time, but also its flaws.

strange bath and toilet display from the ceiling
sinclair C5 car scooter
overlooking the enginuity displays

The biggest draw for all the children was definitely the water display. This combined lots of science and engineering ideas (I’m not sure N was that bothered about thinking about those – moving water via dam order, photosynthesis from evaporation to rainfall, and the Archimedes screw.

photosynthesis display at enginuity
playing dams at Enginuity
archimedes screw example

We finished off our visit past the Vintage Costume Project room. A chance to try and build an earthquake proof building, and understanding why bridges are built with criss cross sides rather than straight pillars.

vintage costume project displays
building a red play building to hold in an earthquake

N was still talking about what he liked there and various facts, walking back to the car and part of the journey home. He’s definitely a bit of a science and engineering fan.

A visit to Enginuity isn’t an expensive ticket price and you can easily spend 2-3 hours there. An annual passport is a great deal which lets you into all the Ironbridge Gorge museums for a year.  We did Enginuity and Blists Hill Victorian Town in the same day and could probably have fitted in a fleeting 3rd visit to one of the others near Enginuity if we’d wanted as well.

Have you ever visited the area? Which of the museums would you recommend?

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