Today we visited Aylesbury to see the Buckinghamshire County Museum. Its centrally located and quite well signed from the town centre where there are lots of places to park.
The museum is divided into the main Buckinghamshire County Museum, which is free and a separate Roald Dahl Children's Gallery for which there is a small charge.
We headed to this first, and as you enter you are taken into the world of Roald Dahl's imagination. It really is a good museum for children, as everything is hands on and there is lots to experiment with and experience. The staff were fantastic in showing all the features to the children and getting them engaged.
As we entered we saw a giant peach, complete with James and the other characters on top which you could go inside. There were microscopes with various bugs and things to examine, fossils and corals to feel, butterflies to look at and puzzles to do etc.
There was a great dress up area, where you could be like Roald Dahl or a character from one of his stories.
A real hit with all the kids seemed to be Mr Fox's tunnel which you could crawl through and discover different things and your face came up on a tv screen which the kids loved.
There was a lot in this area to promote curiosity, including an area to experiment with sounds and then a separate quiet reading room. This had copies of all Dahl's books and you could sit and read for as long as you wanted.
There was also a second floor to the gallery which you accessed via a great glass elevator!!
On the second floor you experimented with mirrors and perception, Illusions and shadows. The boys loved standing against a green screen and using an "invisibility cape to disappear. There was also a shadow room where you could pose and a flash would freeze your shadows so you could look at them.
It really was a lot of fun and we spent a good chunk of time here. After we had seen everything in the Roald Dahl galleries we headed back to the main Buckinghamshire County Museum.
The museum has a small cafe and shop as you enter and they lead on to the exhibition rooms.
There are some permanent features to the museum which include a tudor house area which had interactive bits for the children to do and the rooms had been stripped so you could see the tudor features.
They also have temporary exhibitions which change each season. At the moment they had a further feature on Roald Dahl to commemorate 100 years since his birth. Again this had books to read, animals to look at and information about his life, inspirations and books.
There was also a gallery with a mammoth tusk, fossils, and other objects that had been found locally. There were lots of things in this area for toddlers and younger children to do and I believe during the summer holidays they also do craft activities all day for which there is a small charge.
The museum also had a small garden at the back of it which would be suitable for picnics on a sunny day.
I would say you'd need about 2 to 3 hours to see both parts of the museum and we'd highly recommend it for both variety and for being a lot of fun.