Posted by Mother Hen on 08/06/2008. Tags: Family And Leisure
Me and mine took an unscheduled trip to Belfast on the May Bank holiday weekend. Having never been before, Belfast was on our agenda for some time and we also wanted to take the kids to the W5
complex in the Odyssey. Needless to say, being so last minute, we had some difficulties finding accommodation in advance but we did manage to book rooms at the Malone Lodge Hotel which worked out well. Probably a little pricier than we wanted to pay but cheaper than many of the big hotels and all the B&B’s we tried were booked out. We did have to ask to move rooms due to some mysterious drilling type noises going on overhead that the hotel could not explain. However once relocated all was fine.
We travelled up on Sunday morning and went straight to W5. W5 describes itself as an ‘interactive discovery centre’. Occupying 4 floors, the centre has an incredible range of interactive experiments to suit all age groups, everything from lie detectors to tug-of-war challenges, simulated races in wheelchairs and optical illusions. My son (7yrs) loved the musical stairs throughout the building and the glass bridge. He also had great fun building a K’nex car with his Dad. My daughter (11 yrs) enjoyed playing the invisible musical instruments and recording herself as a TV reporter!
Overall the W5 visit was a great success. We were easily there 4 hours, popping out to lunch in the mall attached to the Odyssey Centre and re-entering W5 using the same ticket. At €27.33 (£20.50) for a family ticket for 2 adults & 2 children we thought it was good value for money. The only slight drawback from a parenting point of view was that we had to continually split up into pairs as each child was interested in trying out different experiments so we only managed to join up as a family a couple of times throughout the afternoon.
We had hoped to visit Belfast Zoo the following day as part of our visit but foolishly we didn’t realise in advance of our visit that it was also a Bank Holiday in Belfast and that the Belfast Marathon was on! Not being familiar with Belfast, driving around was a nightmare with all the road closures for the Marathon. After 1.5 hours we eventually made it to the Zoo car park. It was impossible to find parking and we could see the huge queues waiting to enter the Zoo so we turned around and left … straight back out into the mad traffic and road closures. Our trip back to Dublin via the coastline was equally nightmarish with hours of traffic queues. W5 was really the highlight of the weekend although the tour around Belfast in an open-topped bus was also interesting, well at least for the parents …. kids lost interest fast.