As a small, family-run business that does historical walking tours of Edinburgh, we whole-heartedly get behind the idea that the 'past is the key to the future'. While we take this concept from the perspective of history and culture, the Dynamic Earth visitor attraction here in Edinburgh focuses on it from an earth science perspective. However, this 5-star attraction certainly doesn't take a boring approach to science! They provide an immersive and interactive experience that begins before you even enter the building. So, let's get to it....this is Dynamic Earth.
Even though our Golden Retriever tour guide, Sawyer, can't go inside Dynamic Earth, he sure loves to visit the grounds on a regular basis. He is there quite often as it is close to the park where he relaxes after his morning Wee Golden Walk I tour. In fact, on a recent visit, as Sawyer explored the various geological stones marking the walkway up to the entrance, he came face to face with a dinosaur! However, he took it in stride, and- in true Sawyer fashion- stopped to pose for a picture. With thanks to Sawyer for helping us explore the entrance to Dynamic Earth, lets continue our wee exploration and head inside.
Entertaining the Kid in All of Us
Dynamic Earth is fun for all ages, but it excels at providing an excellent experience for children. They offer regularly scheduled activities for children on the weekends and on school holiday periods. However, Dynamic Earth strikes a pretty good balance throughout their galleries and exhibits in captivating adults as well. Therefore, whether you have children or not, be assured that you will have a great time.
The galleries do an outstanding job at educating and entertaining visitors. Your journey starts off by 'listening' to some of Britain's early geologists. You then get to jump into a time machine to head back in time and explore the origins of earth's development through interactive exhibits.
All of the galleries are fun to experience, but I particularly enjoyed the polar region exhibit. This gallery truly immerses you into a realistic simulation of a polar biome. When we walked into the room my breath actually caught for a moment because it was so cold. And then we were quite surprised when we saw a giant iceberg in the middle of the room! There is something dangerous but magnificent about ice.
Another intriguing gallery was the yellow submarine. That's right sailors, you can 'climb' aboard and explore the mysterious depths of the ocean. Travelling around the world you learn how oceans differ whether, for example, you are in tropical or cold climates. Just before you leave your submarine, be sure to check out the periscope because you might spot some fascinating sea life above water. It was clear that it had captured the attention of the children as well as the adults in the room. Speaking of capturing the attention of the adults- our last stop on our Dynamic Earth journey sure brought out the kid in me and I suspect I'm not the only one. Let me provide a little background information as to how they truly saved the best for last.
During the 80s, one of my favourite movies was the 1986 film, SpaceCamp. Does anyone remember that one? Quite a few Hollywood stars were in it including Tate Donovan, Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson (Back to the Future anyone?), and a young Joaquin Phoenix. I must have watched that movie over 50 times! Anyway, the movie let my imagination run wild at the thought of being able to go to space camp and into space. Later on, in 1998, I was fortunate to watch John Glenn and the rest of the STS-95 crew take off from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard the space shuttle, Discovery. It was an incredible experience just to watch a space shuttle take off, never mind the fact that the man who was the first American to orbit the earth and then the oldest person to fly in space was on board.
With all of this in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that my favourite experience at Dynamic Earth was watching the film on the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and Apollo space programme- Capcom Go! The 360° ShowDome provided a thoroughly engaging opportunity to watch such an iconic part of space history unfold all around me. The film also touched on the ways that space exploration has evolved over the years and a little bit of what's happening in current times. If you visit Dynamic Earth, I highly recommend that you watch this film on your visit. They show it throughout the day (as well as other interesting films), and you can visit their website for showtime information.
Explore for the Day & More
When visiting Dynamic Earth, you realise that it is so much more than just a nice day trip with the family. In fact, we made sure to get our Annual Explorer Pass because Dynamic Earth offers fantastic themed events throughout the year. This is a great option for locals, but also for visitors who plan on returning to Edinburgh within the same year. Your Explorer Pass also gets you discounts at the Food Chain Café and Natural Selection Gift Shop- which we were pleased to be able to use on our recent visit. Dynamic Earth is also a venue for conferences, meetings, and- in keeping with the season- Christmas parties. Be sure to check out their website for more information on the Explorer Pass and venue information.
I hope you have enjoyed our journey to Dynamic Earth. It really is a brilliant
way to have a unique experience here in Edinburgh. There is obviously a lot more to do and see, but we wanted to provide a mere glimpse into what to expect. After all, no one likes too many spoilers!
As we discussed at the beginning of this article, one of the themes at Dynamic Earth is the idea that the 'past is the key to the future'. In this day and age, this is a concept that is more relevant than ever. Therefore, we are pleased to highly recommend Dynamic Earth because it helps to provide an understanding to young and old the importance of this earth we live on.
Until next time- Explore & Discover!