12 free Festival of Tomorrow family activities to consider this half term

By Nick Batten on 12 February, 2024

With half term in full swing, the Festival of Tomorrow is set to feature a whole week of fun to help keep all the family entertained – including a number of free events and experiences.

Centered in Swindon, the Festival of Tomorrow is an action-packed exploration of the wonders of science, innovation and the arts. The event shares the knowledge and research which will shape the future of the World.

This year, organisers have picked a dozen of their favourite things for families to see and do, completely free.

At STEAM, Museum of the Great Western Railway

1.   Meet Luma, the giant soft-robotic snail! Monday 12th – Saturday 17, 10AM to 5PM/ Sunday 18 Feb, 10AM to 4PM

Luma is a huge 9m long inflatable robot snail who loves an audience. Inspired by nature, Luma is a stunning and enormous interactive being, which brings wonder, joy and escapist magic! Luma will be accompanied by programme of completely free, drop-in activities and live shows:

2.   Monday 12 Feb, 10am-5pm – Zoolab Animal Encounters: Get up close and hands on with live giant snails and other amazing animals 

3.   Tuesday 13 February – Amazing Air – every hour from 11am-4pm: Join Dr Sarah Bearchell for this interactive show, where everyone joins in the multi-sensory experiments to gather proof that air really is there!

4.   Wednesday 14 February – The Cloud Factory – every hour from 11am-4pm: everyone can touch, see, hear, smell and taste clouds at this amazing workshop, as they are made from dry ice!

5.   Thursday 15 February – Fun Science Shows – Every 30 minutes between 11.30AM and 2.30PM – amazing, hair raising live demonstrations and experiments. 

6.   Friday 16 February – Make your own Slime and build and race robots! Have a go at building a robot racer, or make your own snail slime to take home. 

7.   Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 February -Super Sonic Science Show – 11am-3.30pm Embark on a journey of marvels with the Super Sonic Science Professor! Behold the electrifying dance of lightning, soar on a magic carpet, see the world from inside bubble, and witness the mesmerizing eruption of a bubble volcano. 

At the Swindon Designer Outlet

Photo: Justin Thomas

8.   What the Tortoise Taught us – Monday 12 to Friday 16 February 11am-3pm

Look out for Zelva, the beautiful animatronic giant Tortoise.

Designed and built by The Flying Buttresses, who have lent their making talents to films such as Prometheus, Guardians of the Galaxy and Artemis Fowl, Zelva represents a unique approach to animatronics.

9.   Mechanical Bloom Lab – Sunday 11 Feb, 11AM – 4PM/ Monday – Wednesday 10AM to 4PM/ Thurs 15 Feb, 11AM to 4PM

Neon Dance presents this nature-themed robotic exhibition and installation in collaboration with Bristol Robotics Lab Meet and interact with the robots and share your own ideas on what you think the robots should do!

10. What is a robot? And can we trust them? – Wednesday 14 Feb, 11am-3pm

Meet the University of Bristol’s Trustworthy Autonomous Systems researchers on Wednesday 14 February to try out some robotic demos and talk to them about their work. Ask the engineers, roboticists and sociologists anything, as they take you through some surprising robotics. 

11. Augmented Reality Space Trail – Sunday 11 – Sunday 18 February

See if you can spot all the Augmented Reality, space-themed models hidden around Swindon’s Designer Outlet. Find the Swindon’s Space Trail boards, scan the QR code with your phone, and see the models come to life!

Plus watch out for a team of young guerrilla street theatre scientists who will be enlisting your help in their experiments. Expect wonder, awe – and some silliness!

At The Deanery CE Academy

12.Festival Finale – Friday 16 and Saturday 17 February 10am -5pm

The highlight of the week is bound to be the popular Festival Finale extravaganza. From the latest e-sports gaming kit, racing model hydrogen cars, to arts and crafts, festivalgoers will be able to explore amazing exhibitors, chat with leading researchers, scientists, engineers and artists, watch live demonstrations, or get hands-on with a huge range of FREE activities and workshops for all ages. 

For tickets and the full programme visit: www.festivaloftomorrow.com