The Wirral, The Final Frontier

A family trip to Merseyside to visit the parents for bonfire night gave us the chance for another day trip.

This time we decided to try out the Spaceport, which is based at the Mersey ferry port of Seacombe on The Wirral. In the past we’d seen a Dr. Who exhibition advertised, but at the moment it’s featuring a Wallace & Gromit exhibition – how could we resist!

After a brief ride into Liverpool city centre on the local trains, we walked up to the pier head, near the famous Liver Buildings

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If you haven’t been to the area before, or recently, forget all the images of Brookside or Bread (showing my age now!), the regeneration of Liverpool’s waterfront is worth the trip on its own!

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We were able to buy our ferry & Spaceport tickets at the ferry terminal – a family ticket (2 adults & 3 children for £20) and hopped onto the ferry. The ferry always makes me smile. As it arrives at each dock, you will here Gerry & The Pacemakers belting out the classic “Ferry, Cross the Mersey”, but the audio commentary as you cross the river is fascinating & a great way to learn about the history of the region.

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Spaceport is right next to the first stop at Seacombe, and all the staff in the exhibit were informative, friendly & helpful.

We started our space exploration by entering ‘The Pod’. This is a small simulator with a central screen you stand around. On here you can watch you’re journey into the Solar System, and as you accelerate, the lights pulse and the floor vibrates. My 4 year old boy, wasn’t sure about this, and as we got out, sobbed “I want to go back to Earth!”

After this brief emotional hiccough, we began to explore the exhibition. The ground floor takes you on a tour around the Solar System with plenty of information, pictures, video and hands on experiments for all ages to find something they can engage in.

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My boy’s favourite was the ‘pinball’ style game to try and get the ‘probe’ into Neptune’s gravitational pull!

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My favourite were the scales that told you your weight on different planets – if only we were on Uranus!

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We then headed upstairs to the Wallace & Gromit exhibition, which again was excellent.

There was a game were you had to control Wallace’s shopping trolley to collect his list groceries and some film sets to look at.

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There were also some film sets & a huge model of the rocket Wallace builds in ‘A Grand Day Out’

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One of the best bits in this section was the sound lab. There’s a recording of Wallace saying “Gromit! Launch the probe!” and a microphone with three buttons under it. You push whichever button takes your fancy and answer Wallace – the buttons change your voice to ‘Alien’ (my favourite!), ‘Low’ (my boy’s favourite) or ‘Echo’ (my girl’s favourite). We played in there for quite some time, getting progressively gigglier!

There was other games, a ‘moon’ soft play section and colouring activities in this section and a photo spot, where you could pose with Wallace & Gromit.

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After this, we went into the Planetarium. This was fantastic. We were shown a film about what it takes to become an astronaut. This covered some fairly scientific detail, and used cartoons & CGI to illustrate some of the concepts. If you go, look out for the sequence involving ‘Chad’ – its very clever and very funny. This was all narrated by Ewan McGregor, so there was something for all the family to enjoy!

We had a fantastic day out, and although not cheap, there was something for all our family to enjoy and enthuse about from age 4 to 60!

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