The shadow of the long extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat is an apt setting for a venue offering a potted history of the planet. At Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh complex and varied scientific subjects are explained with ease and enthusiasm.
With clever use of video and sound, the descent in the “time machine” (in reality, a highly accessible lift) transports visitors backwards from the present day, through the history of time, to the formation of the universe. At the end of the short journey, the doors of the time machine open out onto the bridge of a spaceship where huge screens display Hubble Telescope images of the Big Bang. And from that point – going forward through time – the story of the creation of our Earth and continents is told via a series of vivid and spectacular 3D, 4D and tactile exhibits. In Restless Earth, the floor shudders with the colossal force of an earthquake and the icebergs in Polar Extremes are authentically chilly to touch. On the incredible 4DVENTURE expedition, you’ll be guided by a CGI pilot on a flight from the Arctic to the tropical rainforest – it is such a realistic experience that you’ll even feel g-force and sense your tummy roll during turbulence.
Our Dynamic Earth’s glass-fronted, marquee-style, Millennium Dome-inspired construction stands out from the Old Town buildings nearby and contrasts with the futuristic Scottish Parliament building – it is well signposted and isn’t difficult to find. The underground car park has numerous disabled bays and lift access to the entrance level. Wheelchair users and their friends and family are able to stay together throughout – seeing and touching all the exhibits from the same angles. Complimentary audio guides and induction loops are available. This is an inclusive, multi-sensory, seamless experience – a triumph of accessibility.
Food & drink: The bright, clean and spacious Food Chain Café has identical adult and child menus, serving a decent selection of meals for different times of the day, from a variety of excellent coffees and muffins to meatballs and chips. There is also a range of daily specials.