Review: The Lookout, Bracknell.
Talk about misleading a 3 year old Paw Patrol obsessive. When I told M we were off to The Lookout Discovery Centre, his eyes lit up with thoughts of pups, emergencies and Mayor Goodway having yet another chicken-related drama.
This particular Lookout is not in Adventure Bay, however. It’s a science-based activity centre in the middle of a forest on the outskirts of Bracknell, next to ‘Go Ape!’ and an awesome outdoor woodland playground. A perfect setting for a family day out.
Well. What a gem! It’s quite a hard place to describe – perhaps you’ll get the idea if I say it’s a bit like a bigger version of the kids’ section of the Science Museum in London…
There are different zones with themed interactive fun, ready to show you up on how much basic school science you’ve forgotten.
In the Body and Perception zone, M found out how little Mummy knew about where exactly in the body various organs go. Really worth doing A-level biology then.
There were puzzles to solve – like how to open this treasure chest, which having watched us struggling for 5 minutes (and probably having a good chuckle), another nice Mum helped us solve. Not telling you how to do it or I’ll ruin it…
In the Forces and Movement zone, we launched a hot air balloon and a rocket. Well, we kind of failed on the latter as I didn’t quite wind up the lever enough with a baby on my hip and an impatient M hitting the red button too fast. There’s a little soft play area and ball pit for the smaller ones with a comfy seats and lovely books. As I was feeding Little P, M came over raving as he’d found a book about ‘where the Go-Jetters went Mummy!’ – so we sat reading about Egypt and the Pyramids. No Disco Donkey (a.k.a. Ubercorn) in this version sadly.
Ooh, and we made a little animation about horses! Very cool to show M how that works. (Although, as you can see, they all died in the end. Read: “What does die mean, Mummy?” Sigh.)
We loved the Woodland and Water play section, where we spent most of our time actually. Loads of things to push and pull, spin and guess. We learnt which trees certain leaves belonged to, how to build a fire, and how canal locks work by getting our hands wet.
The Build It! Zone was a big hit too with wheelbarrows, ride on construction vehicles and walls to build. “It’s giant Lego Mummy!”
We were invited along on a toddler ‘In The Jungle’ day, with added extras including face painting, animal storytime and arts and crafts – a nice touch. (There’s no way I could get M to have his face painted though sadly, even though I thought he’d look cute as a bear).
We only just had enough time to munch our sarnies in the outdoor play area, which is ace. Plenty of picnic benches if the weather holds up but a decent cafe if not, and an epic woodland play park the littlies will love come rain or shine. M was not a happy bunny as I prised him away for his swimming lesson.
It’s not the newest of attractions so don’t expect shiny modern experiments and equipment. I think it makes the place all the more charming and homely though, and takes you back to those brilliant Bunsen burner type days at school. M’s got a curious little mind at the best of times, and this place certainly fired up his “what’s that?”, “why?” and “how?” cylinders.
The only thing missing? Ryder and the Paw Patrol pups I suppose. But I’m pretty sure this Lookout was here first…