Kids Entertainment Tour (Self Guided), Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city with a thousand and one things for children to enjoy. There are many sources of amusement for children of all ages, from tots to teens, such as playgrounds, toy stores, children's museums, sweet-shops, and wonderful ice cream stores to keep them happy. Take this tour and discover the best kids entertainment venues in Edinburgh!
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Kids Entertainment Tour Map

Guide Name: Kids Entertainment Tour
Guide Location: Scotland » Edinburgh (See other walking tours in Edinburgh)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: Helen
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Our Dynamic Earth
  • Museum of Childhood
  • Scott Monument
  • Princes Street Gardens
  • Traverse Theatre
1
Our Dynamic Earth

1) Our Dynamic Earth

Our Dynamic Earth is a great place for an instructive, interesting day out for both adults and children. It is located at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, not far from the Scottish Parliament building.

O.D.E. is an earth science museum, which opened in 1999, funded by the Millennium Commission. It is housed in the William Younger Conference Centre, a modern building consisting of a thin steel skin stretched over a steel skeleton, and looking a little bit like a circus big top.

The museum is an educational adventure voyage through time and space, with smells, sound effects, visual displays and interactive workshops. The journey starts in the present, where you see the world as we know it.

Then you step into the “time machine” and you are whisked into space at the time of the Big Bang. You’ll follow the creation of the planets, the forming of Earth and the movement of the tectonic plaques and the glaciers. You’ll learn about the power of volcanoes and earthquakes.

From the beginning of the Earth, you’ll be taken to the evolution of species where there is a section that explains why some species became extinct, why the dinosaurs died and why the mammals survived.

Coming back to the present, you will discover the savannahs and mountains, deserts and tropic rain forests and take a quick trip to the North and South Poles. The visit ends in the Future Dome which shows how the future will be and what you can do in the present to preserve it.

Winter Opening Hours (From December - June):
Wednesday - Friday: 10.00am - 4.00pm;
Saturday - Sunday: 10.00am - 5.30pm;

Summer Opening Hours (July - August):
Monday - Sunday 10.00am - 5.30pm.
2
Museum of Childhood

2) Museum of Childhood (must see)

If your kids are a bit fed up with visiting ancient monuments and galleries, it’s time to take them to the Museum of Childhood on the Royal Mile.

In the early 1950s, Patrick Murray, a member of the Edinburgh Council, realized that a lot of children weren’t very interested in the museums their parents took them to on cold, wet days. He began to think about a museum dedicated to children and everything that centers around kids – their education, their health and, of course, their toys and games. In this way, he hoped to amuse and educate both children and adults. In 1955 he founded the Museum of Childhood.

It is really a great place for everyone; the exhibits are spread out in five galleries over five floors and deal, as Mr. Murray hoped, with every aspect of childhood. In the Education section, your children can learn about how schools were run between 1950 and the present day and see photos of classic classrooms. Different uniforms are on display as well as the famous “birch rod”, used to discipline unruly pupils.

There are wonderful hands-on activities with a dressing-up room and a puppet theatre. And of course, there are toys all over the place! The children will see and learn about the toys and games that kept you and your parents happy long before video games were ever thought of. They can play with dolls and teddy bears, tin soldiers with cannons that fire match-sticks, numerous board games, train sets and other toys from all around the world.

The museum has a wonderful toy shop, where you’ll quickly find that your kids will be choosing a special toy to take home – and where you can perhaps buy a replacement for that favourite teddy you cuddled up with when you were a child.

Why You Should Visit:
To step back in time – this place is not just for families. There are all sort of interesting toys & games on display, some dating back centuries, others from recent past decades.

Tip:
Free entry, but there are donation boxes as well as funny things and souvenirs you can buy on the ground floor.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
3
Scott Monument

3) Scott Monument (must see)

Sir Walter Scott was perhaps Scotland’s best-loved poet and novelist, so it is only natural that the nation wanted to pay him homage. You will find the Scott Monument in Princes Gardens.

When Scott died in 1832 an architectural competition was launched to build a monument in his honour. A great many noted architects submitted their ideas; the winning design was by George Meikle Kemp, a draughtsman who had no architectural experience and who had submitted his design under the name of John Morvo, a 15th-century stonemason and architect.

The 61-metre high monument has several viewing galleries reached by narrow winding stairways. The highest gallery is reached after climbing 287 stairs and when you reach the top you are given a certificate to prove that you survived the climb!

The monument was built out of Binny Sandstone, a substance so oily that it attracts dirt very fast, so that a year after the construction was finished, it looked as if it had been there for centuries. The American author, Bill Bryson described it as a “Gothic rocket-ship”.

The lovely marble statue of Sir Walter, seated with his writing implements and his faithful dog at his feet, was sculpted by John Steell. The 64 statues decorating the monument feature characters from Sir Walter’s books. You will also see many grotesques – those hideous character faces so beloved by Gothic architects, which Kemp included in his design to add to the monument’s “ancient” appearance.

Why You Should Visit:
You can enjoy the monument casually at its base, or you can climb up to have a 360-degree view that is open-air (though there's a fee attached to that).

Tip:
It might be good to know – especially if you are claustrophobic – that this gets a little tight, especially if others climbers happen to be going the other way.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-7pm (Apr-Sep); 10am-4pm (Oct-Mar)
4
Princes Street Gardens

4) Princes Street Gardens (must see)

Between Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street, renowned for its superb shops, pubs and restaurants, lies the beautiful Princes Street Gardens, a haven of peace and beauty in the heart of the city.

110,000 years ago the area that is now the gardens was formed by glacial erosion, when the basalt bulk of Castle Rock caused a glacier to divide around it, forming a depression at the foot of the rock. For thousands of years this area was marshland and when man came to the region, it formed a natural defence at the foot of Castle Rock, which was inhabited since the 9th century BC.

King James III ordered the marsh to be flooded in 1460 to add to the defences of the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. The flooded area was named Nor Loch and it dominated the area until it was drained in 1759, although the vicinity sometimes gets flooded even today.

When the New Town was under construction, millions of tons of earth were dumped in the former loch and this eventually became The Mound, upon which many prestigious buildings now stand. The gardens were created in 1820; on the east side of The Mound they cover an area of 8.5 acres and on the west side they take up 29 acres.

The most important monument in the gardens is the Scott Monument, and there are a lot of statues dedicated to John Wilson, David Livingstone, and Allan Ramsey, among others. There is a play area for children, lush lawns and spreading trees, lots of benches, kiosks and a café.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas and into the New Year the park hosts fairground rides, the city’s main Christmas Market and an ice-skating rink.
5
Traverse Theatre

5) Traverse Theatre

This theater has a great reputation for the highest quality productions, staging many major new plays and encouraging the work of young writers. The theater was built in 1963, specializing in the development of puppetry and animation, where visitors can relax in the café while watching the show.

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