Move And Play Exhibition at Coventry Transport Museum

Owen and I were invited to experience the Move And Play exhibition at Coventry Transport Museum by Coventry Bloggers. All words and photos in this post are my own.

As a family Coventry Transport Museum is one of our favourite visitor attractions in Coventry, so I jumped at the invitation to visit the new “Move And Play” exhibition, billed as “an immersive and interactive exhibition that gets people of all ages testing their senses, balance and fitness”. As much as I like looking at cars and bikes, interactive exhibits are much more fun, especially if you are three years old! Jen and Henry also joined us.

Vitruvian Owen

As soon as we walked into the big hall with the “Move And Play” exhibition Owen’s eyes lit up – there was so much for him to get involved in! First we compared him to Da Vinci’s Vetruvian Man – Owen still has some growing to do! Next to Vetruvian Man there was a thermal camera, which was funny to pose for. The Retro Tennis (Pong?) and Virtual Goalkeeping were a bit advanced for Owen, but Jen and I enjoyed them. I especially liked being a virtual goalkeeper, despite probably looking like a fool prancing around in front of the green screen.

Playing blow football

The next three exhibits were also football based, and Owen enjoyed them! The first was blow table football, with the blow coming from sitting down on the stools – easy for me, but less if you only weigh 16kg like Owen. We teamed up, with Owen aiming the jet of air whilst I provided the puff by pushing down on the seat. The other football games were measuring power and accuracy kicking balls into nets. I am not a footballer, in fact last time I played I ruptured my ACL, but found these particularly satisfying. Owen loved these – he struggled with the kicking accuracy, but enjoyed throwing the ball at the illuminated squares, really getting the hang of it!

The next exhibit was actually about throwing accuracy, throwing bean bags through illuminated holes, with the lights *mostly* going out when you threw the bean bag through. Owen was so pleased with himself when he switched off the lights. Next was a levitating beachball which you had to hit through a dangling hoop, which I found surprisingly hard – Jen did it on her first try!

It was not all physical activities, next was “Sailing by Shouts” a game where you had to shout into a microphone to sail a virtual boat around an island –  not my forte either! Opposite was “Disco Donut” a wheelchair on a round illuminated floor, with the aim to roll yourself onto the lit up area before the light moved, which took quite some coordination – especially whilst balancing a wriggly toddler on your lap. However, these were followed by the most physical of the exhibits – a giant skipping machine! It looked intimidating with the rope spinning round really fast, but once you have the knack it is quite fun. Unless there is a small boy keeping his finger on the button to keep the rope spinning and shouting “jump Daddy”! I worked up quite a sweat on that one, but was proud I had conquered the skipping machine.

Tightrope walking

After I managed to escape from Owen and the skipping machine, the tight rope exhibit provided a welcome slowdown of pace! This was probably the exhibit we spent the most time on. Owen really has a thing for balancing on things at the moment, either on foot, or on his bike – pretending to be his hero Danny MacAskill. I was proud that I managed to make it across the tight rope, but even more proud of Owen making it across, albeit with a helping hand! He also liked rolling around on the crash mat and looking at the cityscape.

The next few exhibits did not get too much attention, as Owen had already decided his favourites, but I thought that he would have liked the stomping race game, especially as the three of us could race each other – Jen won! He was really good at the “Pulse Adventure” computer game where you had to control the character by raising or lowering your heart rate – he beat me comprehensively! There was also a set of scales that converted your weight in to animals, which got more fun the more people you added!

The final exhibit was a computer game on a giant screen where you had to team up with someone to control the two characters on the screen by holding hands and running left or right together. The aim of the game was to guide your characters to catch falling fruit, once we got the hang of it I felt that Owen and I did really well. Unlike the goalkeeping game this one was easy to spectate. After seeing all of the exhibits Henry was getting hungry, but Owen wanted to revisit his favourite exhibits – the three football ones, the skipping, the throwing and the tight rope. Even after another lap he still did not want to leave – a definite seal of approval from a three year old! We spent well over an hour in the exhibition and could have spent longer.

On our way out to meet Jen and Henry in the cafe we did a quick lap of the museum. Owen’s favourite sections are the bikes at the start, the Peugeots (inexplicably he is obsessed with spotting Peugeots, shouting “lion!!!” excitedly when he sees one), the trucks, and especially the toy car room! As entry to the museum is free for Coventry residents (or if not, your ticket is valid for a whole year), we do not feel like we need to take in every exhibit when we visit, working with Owen’s attention span. Whenever we visit there is something new to see, which keeps it interesting, however the “Move And Play” exhibition has been our favourite so far – even beating Father Christmas’s sleigh ride!

Strawberry waffle

Whenever we visit the Transport Museum we always seem to end up in Sprinkles Gelato in the old fire station across Millenium Place from the museum. I particularly like their waffles, with a side of gelato!

The “Move And Play” exhibition is at the Coventry Transport Museum until the 10th November 2019. Entry to the exhibition is included with your museum admission, which is free for Coventry residents with a GoCV card, or £14 for adults, £7 for juniors and free for under fives.

Race Report: Warwick Town Races

Warwick Lanterne Rouge Cycling Club had organised a day of crit racing in the centre of Warwick – including pedal and balance bike races for kids under 6, in partnership with Peddlamaniacs and Warwick Castle. I entered Owen in the balance bike race as soon as I heard about the event from my favourite burger stand – The Flying Cows, who were one of the street food traders there.

We got to the race early, to get Owen signed in, grab a burger and watch some of the adult races, however they were running a bit late, so we got to watch plenty of the cat 4 race. By the time the shorter kids course was being set up on the market square the balance bikers were raring to go! Owen definitely looked the coolest rider there in his Little Rider Co jersey.

The track was a banana shaped loop, on a slight slope, with tricky hairpins at each end, probably a 120 metre lap. Michelle from Peddlamaniacs lined the racers up on the start line – the same start line as the adult races, before the Union Jack was waved to set them off.

Owen had a good start, but got caught up in a melee at the first hairpin, and using his initiative, he decided to turn round and ride the wrong way round the track. Fortunately there were plenty of marshals available to usher him (and the other kids following) back onto the correct side of the course. Owen definitely preferred the downhill section, he was freewheeling down and overtaking other riders, however he was less keen on the climb back up – definitely a mountain biker! He had to have a few rests towards the end of the race – he is more used to shorter BMX style races, than the ten minute format used for this race.

As far as I can tell there was no winner at the end of the ten minutes, all the children were awarded a prize and medal. Owen was particularly pleased with getting a water bottle, but I though the entry ticket for Warwick Castle was a nice touch! The prize giving was on the track, so on the way back to the car we snuck Owen onto the big podium for a photo. When we got home we watched the MTB Downhill World Championships and Owen was fired up to ride them and said he wanted to stand on the podium there too!