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Ready to planet? Events for World Space Week 2013

September 26, 2013
by Laura Canning | events

World Space Week logo Got a space cadet in the family? Starstruck about the stellar? Then you might already know about World Space Week from 4 – 10 October: set up in 1999 to annually celebrate giant leaps for mankind, galaxies far far away, and all things space. Cos-mic.

From stargazing in the Brecon Beacons to astronaut training in Greenwich , there are events all over to celebrate the celestial – we’ve listed our top five below to help you planet. We’ve also included campsites closer than light years away so you can make a Sirius stargazing weekend of it: just don’t forget the telescope…

(Also, we Apollo-gise for the astronomically bad puns throughout.)

National Space Centre , Leicestershire

One of the best places in the country for space sorts at any time of year, the National Space Centre has six galleries, a planetarium and cinema, the only Soyuz spacecraft in Europe and regular events: the Star Wars weekend was on 21 – 22 September and Science of the Timelords , a look at fifty years of Doctor Who, is in November.

Get into the atmosphere of World Space Week with an evening of events on 5 October from 6 – 10pm, with special guests, talks, experiments and competitions. Tickets are £10 for a family of four (max two adults).

Staying nearby to stargaze? Book an electric pitch for four people at Ranksborough Hall Caravan and Camping 16 miles away in Rutland, available 4 – 6 October from £42.

Satrosphere Science Centre , Aberdeenshire

Satrosphere was Scotland’s first science centre when it opened in 1989, and is now one of four in Scotland : the others are Dundee Science Centre, Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh and Glasgow Science Centre.

Satrosphere has a World Science Week family day from 10am – 5pm on 5 October with talks and interactive workshops on everything under the sun including a look at life on Mars, 3D art and dressing up as an astronaut – sounds out of this world. Admission to the centre is £17 for a family of four (two adults and two children or one adult and three children); entry to the World Space Day activities is a bargainous £1 per person.

Camping pods at Deeside Just along the horizon, there are camping pods seven miles away at Deeside Holiday Park , with children’s playground, TV room, campers’ kitchen and a pub next door. Pods sleep up to five and come with electricity, fridge, heating, TV and DVD player. They’re available for the weekend of 4 – 6 October, starting from £40 pn.

At-Bristol Science Centre , Somerset (adults’ evening)

Grownup galaxy gazing can be had at Bristol’s science centre with its Space Odyssey adults’ evening from 630 – 10pm on 10 October. As well as a meal of Blast Off meatballs and Moon Rock marshmallow, stargazers can use hundreds of hands-on exhibits, analyse rock samples in the Mars Lab, create their own animation and – tee hee – run in a giant hamster wheel. That’ll eclipse an evening at home with the kids. Tickets are £7 and the two-course meal is £7.50 (there’s a one-course option too for a fiver).

If little people will be mooning over the events being adults-only, they can plough through the many events throughout autumn and winter for kids, like the Little Stars Planetarium Show every weekend until 31 December (and just 50p per person).

Within ten miles, cosmopolitan Newton Mill Holiday Park is two miles from Bath with a bar/restaurant in its 350 year old mill house, award-winning showers and loos and smart landscaping all around. Electric pitches for 10 October start from £15 pn.

INTECH Science Centre , Hampshire

National Space Centre. Pic credit National Space Centre, Leicester. This Winchester centre and planetarium is open seven days a week with events all year: coming up this autumn and winter are Late Night Fridays, Saturday Night at the Planetarium, After Dark for adults only, beginners’ stargazing nights, talks and the Space Mission for Santa planetarium show.

INTECH has a weekend of activities for World Space Week , running on 12 and 13 October from 10am – 530pm, where guests can meet space engineers, hold pieces of the moon and launch a water rocket. All events are free after paying standard admission prices to the main centre: £25.36 for a family ticket of two adults and two children, or £8.18 per adult and £5.15 per child.

13 miles away at Hamble, Riverside Holidays has electric grass pitches that weekend from £15 pn. It’s on the river for sailing and fishing and is two minutes from a Hamble marina for boat hire.

Techniquest , Glamorgan

Techniquest is the UK’s longest established science centre, open from 1986 and moving to a purpose-built centre in Cardiff Bay in 1995. There are other Techniquests at Wrexham and Llanberis.

Techniquest Cardiff Bay has events running the weekend of World Space Week and all through October: a new space show for under-sevens, Space Hunters ; planetarium show Guardians of the Solar System for ages seven and over; and the Fire & Light Show on the science of fireworks. There are also Toddler Days once a month for the under-fours.

Admission to Techniquest is £20.70 for a family of five (two adults and up to three children), or £6.30 per adult and £4.50 per child. Admission to the planetarium is an extra £1.30 per person.

Take the kids to stay at Happy Jakes Touring Park is twelve miles from Techniquest at Barry, near the beaches and coves of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. Pitches with optional electric hook-up are available throughout October starting from £14.



Other events and info:

World Space Week at the Eureka! National Children’s Museum , West Yorkshire

Science centres in the UK

Exmoor National Park Dark Skies Guide [pdf]

Astronomical calendar for the UK and northern Europe

GoSkyWatch Planetarium app for iPad (free)


Campsites to stargaze at:

BlueBell at Birdsong Garden , Northumberland

Glenluce Holiday Park , Dumfries and Galloway

Newcourt Farm Campsite , Powys

Little Copse Farm Camping, Devon

Exmoor Green and Wild Camping , Somerset

Haw Wood Farm , Suffolk

Wild camping