Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium Hampshire
Winchester Science Centre Telegraph Way, Winchester, S021 1HZ
MONTHS OPENJanuary, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Listed under: Art and Design | Science Discovery Centre | Planetariums | STEM | Special Educational Needs (SEN) | Technology | Picnic Areas | Museums | Day Trip Destinations | PSHE | PE (Physical Education/Sport) | Mathematics | Leisure and Tourism | ICT | Engineering | Design and Technology | Themed Attraction
What we offer
The Science Centre houses 100 hands-on science exhibits and the UK's largest capacity digital planetarium.
Winchester Science Centre is a purpose built visitor attraction housed in a giant pyramid and dome on the South Downs, easily accessed from the M3 and other major routes. A dedicated team coordinate visits from nearly 40,000 schools visitors each year, offering a variety of activities to suit different ages and abilities.
The Science Centre is run by an independent charity who use public visitor income and other income sources to subsidise school trips, and so is able to offer excellent value.
The main part of the building contains two floors of hands-on science exhibition, allowing self-led exploration of 100 interactive science exhibits. Current exhibits range from a giant crane, walk-through colon and the chance to create a smoke tornado or water whirlpool, to distorted illusion room, sports zone and the opportunity to step inside an EVA spacesuit.
Schools usually also add at least one booked activity to their trip. All activities are presented by professional science communicators from the Learning and Participation team:
Planetarium: the UK's largest standalone planetarium; a truly inspirational experience and often reported as the most popular part of a trip. The giant domed screen gives a sense of immersion, creating an awe-inspiring and memorable experience which can be invaluable in communicating ideas of scale and distance in space. A variety of shows are available for all ages and abilities, usually followed by Q and A.
Workshops and activities: a new, updated offer with reduced prices from September 2017. Workshops are designed with the curriculum in mind and include hands on practical activities, providing meaningful and exciting experiences not always possible in school. Use of the Invention Studio (engineering zone) and science shows are also available.
We are attracting more schools every year, and so for the best choice of dates we recommend booking at least three to four months in advance of your visit, especially for larger groups.
However, we will always try to fit you in and so do let us know if you have a shorter time frame.
What makes us a great choice?
Winchester Science Centre provides a safe, exciting and exploratory environment for children, while professionally coordinating visits to allow the adults also to enjoy the day.
The Science Centre staff are experienced at managing school visits for groups of all sizes. Staff delivering activities are all trained professionals with a passion for education, and with the drive to spark curiosity in each individual child. Every member of the Planetarium Team has a university-level astrophysics qualification.
In academic year 2016-17, 96% of visiting teachers scored us 5-6 out of 6 when asked whether they were likely to return.
Group Sizes Catered For
Up to 300 students. Small groups from SEN schools are very welcome.
Materials, Resources & Information Provided
Each visiting schools receives a teacher pack on departure, including useful information about external projects they may wish to become involved with, and resources such as star guides and Moon calendars.
The Science Centre manages the STEM Ambassador scheme for the South Central region and can arrange for STEM professional volunteers to support schools with their activities, including by giving careers talks. Let us know if we can help - and you don?t need to visit the Centre to take advantage of this! Please note STEM Ambassadors do not provide workshops.
Photography, Filming & Audio Restrictions
Yes, please do! We only ask that you be mindful of the fact that other visitors to the Centre may not wish their images to be made public for reasons of personal security.
In the planetarium it is possible to take photographs before the show as the audience take their seats, but not during the show itself.
Risk Assessment Details
Information to help with preparing a risk assessment is available for download from the website.
Teachers are invited to monthly Teacher Preview evenings for pre-visit/pre-booking exploration of the facilities and to help with risk assessment.
Education Officer Information
Winchester Science Centre's Learning and Participation Department employs eleven staff within the Education and Planetarium teams. The first point of contact for schools is the Schools and Groups Booking Officer, Anita Shearing. If enquiring about a booking, please use the online enquiry form to help speed the process.
General visit (including access to hands-on science exhibition): £4.15 per child, supervising adults free.
Add a workshop for £1.50 (45min) or £3 (90min) per child, supervising adults free.
Add planetarium shows for £1.75 per person per show.
Some workshops use outdoor grassy spaces and may require weather-appropriate dress.
First Aid Information
There are on-site first aiders, and a first aid room. Please let us know if you would like to use this room for medical requirements during your visit.
Schools indoor lunch area / outside picnic areas.
Girls/Boys toilets (in addition to Ladies/Gents/Accessible).
Bag/coat storage (although these can often be left on the coach)
cafe (not usually used by school children; please ask if you would like to use this facility).
Shop (recommended spend £3-£5, more expensive items also available).
Coach parking, with free entry to the Science Centre for coach drivers.
Accessibility & Disabled Facilities
Winchester Science Centre is pleased to welcome many disabled visitors, including groups from special needs schools and PMLD visitors.
Flat, open access throughout the buildings.
Six (or seven, please ask for advice) wheelchair spaces available in the planetarium - with a good view!
Hearing loop system in the planetarium (please let the planetarium operator know you will be using this).
Roll-on roll-off lift.
Wheelchairs available to borrow during your visit (please book these in advance).
Accessible toilet on both floors (upstairs toilet includes an open shower, but please be aware we do not at this time have a hoist or changing facilities).
Dedicated disabled parking at the base of the building (ramp up to main entrance) and top of the car park (flat access but longer distance to main entrance).
Wheelchair basketball exhibit! Try out our sports wheelchair, or compete against your classmates using your own.
Planetarium shows and activities may be adapted by request to suit groups? needs to enable access. Please let us know when booking. Private planetarium shows are available for groups where it is not possible to join other groups due to disruptive vocalisation or other issues.
Opening Hours & Information
Hampshire school days 10am - 4pm (earlier arrival is available for schools)
Other days 10am - 5pm (with occasional extended hours)
Closed 24-26 December
A big thank you for a wonderful visit yesterday; my Year 6s were absolutely raving about it afterwards. Your staff are amazing; the KNEX workshop was inspired, especially the team work aspect and the presenter in your Planetarium was outstanding - she impressed me with her amazing knowledge but also her ability to make it accessible for 10 year olds! Amazing. I also felt that your overall logistics and organisation made the day super smooth. Highfield School, Liphook (2017)
We were really impressed with the organisation at the centre. Not having been before it was difficult to know what to expect [?] All the staff were very polite and efficient and we were able to keep to schedule and all the activities ran to time. We were even able to board the coaches and leave on time. I know that the students really got a buzz from some of the exhibits and could hear many of them talking about what they had done. I know the real value will come in the next few days when we are able to link their understanding to what they were doing. Thank you for our visit today. Amersham School (2017)
Thank you all so much for a fantastic day. Your organisation of our huge group was exemplary, as was the quality of the Planetarium Show which was absolutely top class, as well as the wonderful exhibits. All of our 180 children had a marvellous day as did our parent helpers. We are very keen to return next year! Baden Powell and St Michaels Middle School (2017)