If you expect your child to learn something useful - choose something else.
If you are happy to send your child to run around the building all day and have peaceful time with your friends in the cafe - you and your child will love it.
Unless you make all the effort and have all the patient to stay with your child, to read and explain what the random buttons are doing - your child will just run around in a plastic world pushing buttons and things all day in a crowded, busy place also you have to wait for your turn everywhere or push others out of the way, not knowing what you have really done before you go to next room/station with full of chilly-willy shiny buttons and screens.
After our holiday, we had a short chat with my family what we liked or disliked.
Eureka managed to score 2 out of 4 of our worst experience:
4 year old - I was not allowed to play peacefully, others always ruined my game (not exact words though)
mum: rubbish, crowded, loud - please don't take me to a place like this ever again!
I was determined to have a great day, and felt responsible for the bad choice. So I made all the effort to make our visit as good as possible. We arrived at 10.30 and left 15.00. The idea and intention of the place is great, but the execution and design is very poor. Although it meant to be child-friendly, educational and self-explanatory - it is very far from it. It had a great potential, but completely failed to fulfill it. It might be a good opportunity if you are prepared, your child is patient, can read and like reading instructions, ready to learn thing which are very basic stuff anyway and visit it in a quite period. But most probably that would be a school day, when you cannot make it. It is an overrated children attraction for no reason - but you would only realize it after it is too late.
My personal thoughts are:
- Food is good and priced reasonable, with outdoor spaces where you can eat your own lunch as well.
- Really convenient public transport, train station next door.
- Offer an annual pass for free of charge after your first visit. Only if you were wanting to visit it again, it is a really good perk!
- Really efficient and speedy tills at the entrance - buy your ticket in advance online and you are in within 5 minutes, otherwise you will be queuing however that was served by 4-6 tills as well and seemed to progress very quickly.
- spacey, grassy outdoor play area with a huge sand pit and other fun, lot of tables for picnic. If you stay for the day, it would be refreshing to go out time to time
- most probably your child will enjoy pushing all the buttons and screen, and have a good time
- friendly staff, plenty of them everywhere, to keep the place running smoothly, tidying up frequently so when children took pieces out of a room it was returned by them reasonable quickly. Clean, plenty of toilets, spaces for coats and pushchairs
- most probably you will leave with a headache
- most probably your child won't remember what they were doing all day
- most probably the cafe will be full at lunch time
- most probably your child will get wet in the bathroom area
- most probably you were expecting more
- and most importantly
most probably your child did not learn anything useful at all
As long as you know what to expect, you might still like this place.
Actually in spite of all of my negative experience, I might still return again and stay in Halifax for a couple of days, the city seemed to be a nice place to visit (this time we spent 5 minutes in the city walking between the train station and Eureka). And I might come back to Eureka with my two children leaving my wife behind in the city and go round after 15.30 when it is not so busy anymore, just for 30 minutes or 1 hour every day. Thanks to the free annual pass they might still learn that way something useful, who knows...