We've all got fond childhood memories of the Science Museum's Launchpad. Now it's had a £6m upgrade — so it's time to meet its bigger, flashier successor: Wonderlab.
Highlights include an extremely noisy Tesla coil that generates a million volts, slides made from different materials to demonstrate friction, a particulate-filled room where light beams create shapes, and an orrery with glowing sun and star constellations.
Old Launchpad favourites have been given a make over too, including the magnetic discs which can be used to create metal sculptures, and the blocks with which you can build an arched bridge, capable of holding the heaviest person.
We particularly liked some of the smaller exhibits that were grabbing the attention of adults. A particle detector constantly signals whether muons, electrons or alpha particles have been detected locally; we have to admit to a mini nerdgasm over that one.
We're also impressed by a water fountain, with a clever take on the prisoner's dilemma. Two people choose whether to offer the person opposite a sip of water or to be sprayed in the face.
There will be regular live demonstrations across the seven zones and there's an adjacent auditorium, which can hold 120 people, for further talks and demos.
This is money well spent, to the point that we can now understand why there needs to be an admission charge. It will remain free to certain school trips which will allow over 200,000 young people a year to experience Wonderlab without charge.
Judging by how much fun the first group of schoolchildren were having, we reckon Wonderlab will be a big hit.
Wonderlab is now open at Science Museum. Tickets are £8 for adults, £6 for children and £22.50 for a family of four. Annual passes allowing for repeat entry are £14, £10 and £39 respectively.