A mighty explosion of fun and learning for all the family at Dynamic Earth
With a mix of science, super volcanoes, Harry Potter-style magic – and even some Benedict Cumberbatch for mum – Our Dynamic Earth is the perfect place for families this summer.
Situated at the foot of Edinburgh’s spectacular Salisbury Crags, the five-star visitor attraction underwent a massive £1million redevelopment recently, with the opening of Scotland’s Timelords – A New Beginning.
Scotland’s Timelords celebrates the life of one of Scotland’s greatest scientists, James Hutton – widely regarded as the father of modern geology.
Edinburgh born and bred, Hutton was the first to challenge commonly held theories about the Earth’s evolution, and he even wrote his Theory of the Earth within a stone’s throw of where Dynamic Earth is today.
He discovered the concept of deep time, and recognised that the Earth is a “heat engine”, capable of generating molten rock and forming volcanoes.
The visitor journey now begins in a Georgian-style classroom, complete with magic blackboards and talking portraits, where the ghost of Hutton talks the audience through his theories on how the Earth was formed.
The tour then moves to the adjoining gallery, where an extraordinary illuminated globe shows the effect of plate tectonics, before heading back through time to the Big Bang and beyond.
The much-loved time machine has been upgraded and is now even more dramatic, taking visitors back 13billion years to deep time in just 90 seconds.
Each of the new galleries is completely different, using innovative technology, interactive exhibits and audiovisual presentations to tell the story, including the journey back to the origins of the universe and the beginning of time itself.
This summer, the Hutton story is continued in a fourth new gallery, Earth’s Core, which opened at the beginning of July. Situated in the earthy dome in front of the attraction, Earth’s Core takes visitors on a voyage to the centre of the Earth.
Through the use of high-quality projections, the gallery showcases Hutton’s theories and demonstrates how the Earth works.
In honour of the recent changes at Dynamic Earth, there is also a new volcano-themed film in the awe-inspiring showdome.
Narrated by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, Supervolcanoes explores the impact of colossal volcanic eruptions around our solar system.
The dramatic 360-degree full-dome projection is screened with 10.2 surround sound, providing a fully immersive cinematic experience, allowing the audience to feel part of the action as they fly from giant volcanoes on other planets to the legendary North American hotspot that is Yellowstone National Park.
Additional special events for the summer months also include family-friendly guided geo-walks around Edinburgh’s own volcano, Arthur’s Seat (Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 24-August 14, at 2pm, excluding July 31).
Or follow in the footsteps of Hutton, searching for evidence of creeping glaciers, as Dynamic Earth’s education officers explain the fascinating geological history of the area, with an engaging mix of storytelling, activities and observations.
Those who have been to the attraction before will be pleased to know that the family favourites remain in place. Visitors still experience the humidity of the tropical rainforest and a bone-shaking earthquake, before touching a real iceberg beneath the Aurora Borealis and coming face to face with a rhino in the 4D theatre, 4DVENTURE.
Where: Our Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
When: the centre is open 10am-6pm daily during July and August, 10am-5.30pm the rest of the year.
Admission: adult £12.50, child (aged 3-15) £7.95, concession £10.50, under-threes go free. Buy in advance online and the cost is cheaper. Guided geo-walks are free with ticket on the same day/explorer pass or £2.95 just for the walk.
Extras: for less than the cost of two visits, you can upgrade to an annual explorer pass, which entitles holders to free entry to the attraction for a whole year: adult £16, child £12, concession £14.
Contact: 0131 550 7800 or visit www.dynamicearth.co.uk