British Science Week: Top educational attractions in the Midlands and Shropshire
Get your Bunsen burners and safety goggles out - British Science Week is here.
The event, run by the British Science Association, celebrates science, technology, engineering and maths from March 9 to 18.
Looking for somewhere scientific to visit in the Midlands and Shropshire? Take a look at our smart selections below:
Thinktank - Birmingham
Birmingham's ThinkTank is an award-winning science museum, packed full of fun for the whole family.
From steam engines and talking robots, through to gurgling guts and a chocolate wrapping machine, Thinktank has more than 200 hands-on displays on science and technology.
Visitors can also take a walk around the Science Garden, or marvel at the wonders of the universe in the Planetarium.
During weekends and school holidays hot and cold food is available in the Thinktank cafe, including a children’s menu and a range of healthy main meals.
There is also a coffee cart, Secret Garden kiosk, and a gift shop filled with scientific goodies.
Tickets start from £9.75, with children under three years old going free.
Dudley Zoological Gardens
Get closer to more than 1,300 animals at Dudley Zoo.
The attraction hosts some of the world's most endangered animals, and boasts a rich geological history as well as the ruins of 11th century Dudley Castle.
Education conservation activities happen daily at the zoo, aiming to teach visitors about the importance of animal care.
Tickets starts from £8.60.
National SEALIFE Centre - Birmingham
The National SEALIFE Centre features more than 60 displays of freshwater and marine life.
Visitors can look at thousands of species in themed zones, including the 360-degree shark tunnel and Antarctic penguin enclosure.
Informative talks take place throughout the day that also inform visitors of the attractions' various conservation programmes.
Tickets start from £13.
Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park
Get up-close and personal with a variety of endangered species at Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.
The attraction is home to a unique collection of animals from across the world, including red pandas, lemurs, reptiles, meerkats, otters, birds, wallabies, and a large collection of monkeys.
Tickets start from £3.30.
Erasmus Darwin House - Lichfield
Nestled in Lichfield’s Cathedral Close, Darwin House is an independent, accredited museum that was once the family home of doctor, inventor and published poet Erasmus Darwin.
Erasmus Darwin was the grandfather of celebrated naturalist Charles Darwin.
You can learn all about the medicinal qualities of plants with which Erasmus treated his patients, uncover his theories and inventions, as well as enjoy numerous interactive exhibits.
This attraction is free to enter.
Lapworth Museum of Geology - Birmingham
Explore life from the past 3.5 billion years at the Lapworth Museum.
The attraction has the most extensive collection of fossils, minerals and rocks in the region, all accompanied by in-depth and captivating knowledge about their origin and place in history.
This attraction is free to enter.
Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre - Craven Arms
The award-winning Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre is perfect for the whole family.
Fly over the Shropshire hills in a panoramic film, learn all about the wonders of the landscape, as well as standing next to the centre's larger-than-life woolly mammoth.
The attraction is free to enter.
British Ironworks Centre - Oswestry
This decorative ironwork centre showcases a variety of items from suits of armour to animal sculptures and lamps, and teaches you the history and science behind them all.
The attraction offers a range of experiences, from blacksmithing and silversmithing, to floral workshops and ceramic workshops.
There is also a nature trail, a sculpture park and more.
Walsall Leather Museum
This free-to-enter museum shows guests why Walsall became the British leather goods capital.
It is a working museum, housed in a restored leather factory.
Walsall Leather Museum celebrates the great achievements of local leather craftsmen and women, and tells the story of the Walsall leather trade. Displays feature examples of historic craftsmanship and contemporary designs.
Kinver Edge Rock Houses - Stourbridge
This unique attraction boasts homes carved into the red sandstone, a hill fort and a high sandstone ridge.
The famous Holy Austin Rock Houses are restored, where visitors can get comfortable by the fire and volunteers will tell tales of the people that lived right inside the rock.
Just outside is the heathland of Kinver Edge is a pocket of wilderness, filled with insects, gorse and purple heather.
The Red House Glass Cone - Stourbridge
The Red House Glass Cone is a heritage site boasting 225 years of glass, industrial and social history.
Exhibition galleries tell the story of glass-making in the area and the history of this unique glassworks. Glass and archive material from the Stuart collection which spans more than 100 years is also on display.
Glass-blowing demonstrations are also hosted at the attraction, but will not be running between March 12 and 24 due to maintenance works being carried out.
The site is also home to many artists and companies who invite you to visit their units and find unique gifts for special occasions.
Big Bang Fair - Birmingham NEC
From March 14 to 17 explore the wonders of science at Birmingham's annual Big Bang Fair.
The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK.
The event also hosts national competitions, inviting young people from across the UK to compete, amongst other things, for the title of UK Young Scientist and UK Young Engineer of the Year.
By Kirsten Rawlins and Becci Stanley