Magna is located in an old steel plant just off the M1 in Rotherham. It is clearly signposted and easily found.
It is a hands-on interactive science learning centre, primarily aimed at children, although adults can learn things as well. There is no heating in the building, so be prepared to wear your coat all day if it’s cold. It is also quite dark in places, which creates an eerie feeling, like walking through an abandoned building.
Inside there are four main areas, or pavilions, which are based on the four elements (Fire, Air, Earth and Water) and an exhibition area. There are also two fun/playareas outside: Sci-Tek an adventure playground) and Aqua-Tek (a very wet play area).
The first thing we encountered was an exhibition on colour, what it is and how it effects our lives. This is a good exhibit, and if you don’t know the difference between addictive and subtractive colour mixing, then this will teach you!
You walk past the restaurant, and enter the main part of the building. Each of the pavilions is on a different level and there are stairs and lifts for access. We headed of towards Fire first. To get there you have to walk along a long gantry which runs alongside one of the old furnaces. It is very dark here with very little natural light. Every hour there is a display of how the furnace worked using lights and pyrotechnics which lasts about 10-15mins and is very good.
In the Fire pavilion you can find out about fire and heat. The displays range from heating up a piece of wire with electricity, to how heat is used in making steel and there is an impressive fire-tornando in the centre of the room.
Our next stop was up in an “air-ship” which was the Air pavilion. Here we found out how a dyson vacuum cleaner works, all about sound and various other things.
Two floors down is the Water pavilion. Again this is hands on, so expect to get a bit wet. You can learn all about whirlpools, water flow and play with an “industrial water soaker”. Good fun for little ones!
Down underground is the Earth pavilion. This is all about rocks and other natural resources. You can pretended to excavate rocks, carry them in a wheel barrow and watch how they move around a convey-belt system like a real quarry. It’s even possible to lift yorself of the ground by pulling on a rope.
There are three eating areas in the building: a restaurant which provides hot meals and sandwiches, a cafe (which we didn’t sample) and a large area for eating picnics.
This is also a reasonable gift shop which sells science related products and toys.
This is a good example of a hands-on science museum that teaches children all about science without them realising. However, you’ll probably find they want to spend all they’re time outside playing in the play areas – probably the Aqua-Tek one. It is a good idea to bring either a swimming costume or a spare set of clothes for them as they will be absolutely soaked.
Should you find you have finsihed here and there is still some time left in you day, then just 5mins away is Meadowhall Shopping Centre.