20 years on and having reached more than 4 million visitors, as a charity established to advance public education, we are embracing innovation and the changing digital landscape to make science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) more accessible, relevant, interesting and fun for all our visitors.
In 2017 we embarked on a journey of re-imagining what a new W5 could be. Following an extensive consultation and co-design process with a wide range of different stakeholders we identified the areas of innovation and technology that are of most interest and can now share the plans for a re-imagined W5.
We have developed a new approach to visitor engagement, both within W5 and the community, creating dynamic content with new science shows, family events and activities, presenting information in new and unusual ways.
The Marvellous Machine
Visitors are greeted with a high impact, large-scale and dramatic entry into the new Level 2 exhibition area. They will have entered the heart of a giant physical machine: an interactive showcase of the basic mechanical principles behind everything in our lives.
Northern Ireland has always been a place for innovation and engineering, particularly around transport. If you’ve ever wondered how a plane gets into the air; what makes one car faster than another; how a ship that weighs thousands of tonnes can float on water or how on earth a spaceship can fly to the Moon then Move It will help you find the answers. A high impact area with a replica Formula One car at its centre and the amazing Artemis yacht suspended in space above visitors’ heads.
An area that pulses with light and energy. A space that, from time to time, will send high voltage bolts into the air high above visitors’ heads! Here visitors can find out about sources of energy, how we use it, how one form of energy transforms into another and how energy and its generation impacts on every aspect our lives and our environment.
Enter a vibrant and exciting space that captures the feeling of being in a modern film/TV production environment, evoking elements of imagination, fun and fantasy. The studio is composed of three main areas: a film set, a ‘behind-the-scenes’ area focused on the diverse creative skillsets that go into creating a modern motion picture, and the TV studio which allows visitors to create and star in their own ‘live’ TV broadcast.
A visually stimulating and disorienting environment, where optical illusions and mysterious images surround you. Visitors will solve puzzles, play with perception, and perhaps even question their own grasp on reality. Can we trust what we see? How do we know what is real and what is imaginary? Can we use technology to find out what things ‘really’ look like?
In our Nature
Explore the diverse and beautiful landscapes of Northern Ireland and find out how nature supports a dazzling diversity of life. Encounter many of the species that live in our contrasting habitats and find out how these species, including humans, are connected through shared ecosystems.
Build It explores the world of architecture, construction and engineering. We challenge you to discover the sheer fun of building in this zone, taking inspiration from the incredible views of the city, river and harbour that surrounds it. A range of building blocks and construction materials in many shapes and sizes are available for visitors to get creative with. Take up the challenge to build cities, castles, bridges or elaborate works of art.
MED-Lab, the first of our eight new zones, opened in January 2019. MED-Lab, in association with Almac Group, is an innovative and intriguing investigation into our most prized possession – our body! Visitors can get hands on with some fascinating, entertaining interactives and then join ‘Alma Capsule’, and her friends at Almac to discover how life saving medicines are made.
Keep up to date with exciting developments between now and opening.