The space centre is surprisingly small compared to how large it looks from the outside - a large part of the building is taken up by the MOV (Museum of Vancouver). They have live shows featuring talks on various topics (I saw two - one on a "day in space" for an ISS astronaut, and a second on the possibility of asteroids hitting the earth), hands on exhibits, and of course, the planetarium theatre upstairs which features 'movies' and laser light shows.
First the kudos - the live shows were good. About 20 minutes long, and the presenter kept things lively and moving. My 6 year old was kept interested for the whole thing with no attention wander at all. Presenter took time to answer all questions from the audience and was deft with his delivery and enthusiasm.
The planetarium shows in the big theatre upstairs are fun just for the experience of sitting back and watching the action unfold on the ceiling. About 30 - 40 minutes long, and well done.
Now the criticism... the exhibits were very dull (didn't really seem to have any cohesive theme?) and in serious need of upgrading if not complete revamping. Some were out of order, and it was a little jarring to see interactive exhibits for kids in a "space centre" that required you to use roller balls (like that arcade game from the 1980's - Centipede) and an industrial style push button to activate. Most interactive exhibits I've seen lately are much more touch screen oriented - these were all old CRT TV's. The touchable moon rock was a small triangle maybe 3 inches on the long edge, and the meteorite was kept in a plexiglass box that was in serious need of repair. In a world with the Discovery Channel, National Geographic channel, and PBS' NOVA available for kids, the exhibits seemed extremely amateurish and quaint.
Personally, we ended up walking around the grounds of beautiful Vanier Park to kill the time between shows since the exhibits were so poor.
For parents with kids, I'd recommend taking the time to review the show schedule, pick out what you want to see, and then build your trip schedule appropriately.
On a value for money scale, I'd give this one 'average'. It was around $28 total admission for adult and child. I would have rated this one closer to $20 in value. I didn't feel totally ripped off, but also would not come back here until it gets upgraded significantly with something new to do in between waiting for a show to start.
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