If you live in the north of England, then you’ve probably heard of the EUREKA science museum, which is located in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Here, I explain why this is a must-visit attraction for thrifty families and I’ll tell you how you can visit for less.
What’s the EUREKA science museum all about?
This family attraction is aimed at children aged 0-11. It is interactive educational museum for children and the emphasis is on learning through play.
The museum has ten different sections, including the ‘Living and Working Together’ section (which is my family’s favourite). Within the ‘Living and Working Together’ section, you’ll find:
- A garage with cars that you can sit in and add (pretend) fuel to, a car wash, a mechanic’s office, a truck that you can sit in and lots of different wheels
- A mini M&S store where kids can add fruit, veg and even flowers to their basket, before heading to the checkout
- A mini post office, with packages and a cashier’s desk
- The Halifax Bank. This mini building comes complete with a vault and safes with codes to crack
- A bathroom, showing what happens when you flush the toilet, turn the shower on, or run the bath
- Underground works, with brickwork and pipes, where your child can explore, whilst wearing a high-visibility jacket
There’s also a large outside area, complete with a sand pit, a train and a yellow-brick road.
They also have gardens offering activities that vary depending on the season. There’s a sand pit, a train and a yellow-brick road there permanently though.
How much does it cost?
EUREKA! The National Children’s Museum has the following admission prices:
- Under 1 year: free
- Aged 1-2years: £5.95
- Aged 3-15: 13.95
- Adults: £13.95
Pay for the day… but visit with the children all year
Once you’ve visited the EUREKA science museum, you can convert your day ticket into an annual pass. That means that you’ll be able to visit for the rest of the year, without repurchasing tickets.
The process for activating your annual pass differs slightly, depending on whether you buy your tickets online, or in person on the day. But if you do buy them in person, make sure you keep the receipt, as this contains the membership number you’ll need to convert your ticket.
To activate your annual pass, you must provide the names of everyone on the initial visit and include an address. You will also have to either upload a picture when you activate your pass, or bring photo ID on all future visits.
Annual passes are non-transferable and they can only be used by the people named on it. It is not valid for school trips, birthday parties, or group visits.
When you visit the EUREKA! The National Children’s Museum, you will need to pay for parking. It costs £3.20 for up to four hours, or £6.40 for up to 12 hours.
If you want to take your own lunch then, there’s a large outside area where you can eat. If you decide to purchase refreshments whilst you’re there, then there’s a café within the museum, which sells sandwiches, drinks and a small selection of meals. You’ll find an ice cream kiosk on site too.
Would you want to visit more than once?
Many of the EUREKA science museum exhibits have been there for many years and there are permanent areas. However, changes do occur and there’s definitely enough going on for you to enjoy four (if not more) family days out each year. If you want to read about the latest attractions specifically, then check out TripAdvisor where you’ll find plenty of reviews.
The exhibition within The Spark Gallery changes regularly too, so make sure you check that out every time. EUREKA! also puts on live science shows and demonstrations; I highly recommend Professor Pumpernickel’s Science Show!
There are ten zones and each area has permanent exhibitions. There’s lots of information to take in, so your children could visit numerous occasions and have a different experience each time. This is a different type of day out in the sunshine, to how it is the rain too. Your child probably won’t make the most of the sand pit and the musical outdoor equipment in the height of winter.
But I don’t drive…
It can be tricky to visit popular tourist attractions if you don’t have a car, as many of them are located in random places, that are tricky to get to without your own transport. But the EUREKA science museum doesn’t fall into this category, as it’s just a three-minute walk from Halifax railway station. You can get a direct train to Halifax from both Leeds and Manchester, meaning that you should be able to get there relatively easily, even if you don’t have a car.
But I live quite far away…
If you want to experience the national children’s museum but you live quite far away, so you won’t be able to visit frequently within a 12-month period, then use your Tesco’s Clubcard points to buy tickets. There are hotels locally too, if you feel that you’d need an overnight stay to get the most out of your visit.
EUREKA! The Children’s Science Museum is one of the attractions that you can use your Clubcard points towards. Tesco’s is one of the best loyalty schemes available and I’d always advise you to spend your Tesco’s Clubcard points on attraction tickets, because Tesco’s Clubcard vouchers are worth 3x the face value! However, it’s important to remember that if you use your Tesco’s Clubcard points to pay for a ticket, it will just be for the day; this ticket can’t be converted into an annul pass.
If you live a distance away from Halifax, West Yorkshire, then converting your Tesco’s Clubcard points is the thriftiest way for your family to visit. But if you live closer, I’d advise you to buy a day ticket and convert it into an annual pass, as that’s definitely the thriftiest way to visit on repeat.
Is the EUREKA science museum suitable for all?
I have fond memories of the EUREKA science museum, as I used to visit on school trips when I was a child. But I have also visited with my own little family. We first went when my son was 14 months old and we last went when he two years and five months.
I really think that EUREKA! has nailed being able to appeal to children of all ages. There are areas dedicated specifically to under fives. They include:
- The Creativity Space – which includes a range of sensory toys for little ones to explore
- Desert Discovery – with soft play equipment, soft balls and games aimed at little ones
- Sound Garden – again, this area contains soft play equipment, it’s focussed on sound and everything is accessible to toddlers
However, all children are free to enjoy all areas and each age bracket will get something different from each zone. For example, my two year old loved pretending to drive the green Leyland truck, but older kids would be able to appreciate the different car parts on display; they can read about spark plugs and internal combustion engines.
The museum fully accommodates disabled visitors and there’s a place for parents to park their pushchairs.
Can you go without kids?
Unfortunately, you can’t just rock up and visit the EUREKA science museum without a child. This is because the museum is designed to be a safe, family-friendly environment, where families can play and learn together. However, if you do want to go to reminisce, or simply to explore the museum without kids, then you can go to one of their regular adults-only evening events.
Let’s talk about Archimedes
Archimedes was a physicist, a mathematician, an astronomer, an inventor and an engineer and many of his inventions, theories and concepts are still in use today. However, one of his best-known achievement was his “Eureka” moment, when he discovered the principle of buoyancy. The national children’s museum is, of course, named after this iconic moment, so it’s celebrated within the EUREKA science museum. Every half hour you will see a model of Archimedes enter a bath full of water.
Is there anything else I need to know?
During term-time, the museum is open from Tuesday-Sunday and it is closed on Mondays. In the school holidays, the opening hours are 10am-5pm, daily.
The museum opened back up after the Covid-19 pandemic and at the moment, walk-in tickets are not available, so if you want to go, you’ll need to book on the website in advance.
Coming up with fun things to do with the family can be a challenge and many museums don’t have enough happening for families to visit more than once each year. However, I think that EUREKA! The National Children’s Museum is the exception, as it’s a lot of fun and there is so much to see and explore.
If a family of four visited once and then returned four times within the same year, then each visit, including a day’s worth of parking, would cost £20.35 (the equivalent of £5.09 per person). And of course, after that initial visit, you’ll only have to find the cash for petrol and parking, or train travel.
The EUREKA science museum is a fun, affordable, family day out. If you haven’t taken the kids yet, then I highly recommend that you head there soon!
If you’re looking for further inspiration, check out my days out section. I have written about other things you can do in Yorkshire with your family; find out what to do in Skipton on a budget and find out about my family’s walk up Pen-Y-Ghent.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2021 and has been revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.