Back in the summer, we heard from a mum whose daughter had just won a story-writing competition that was all about her passion — and her passion turned out to be Techniquest!
Naomi had visited us back in 2019, and been so taken with all the exhibits and live experiments she’d experienced that she left us with a love of science and space that’s really taken hold of her imagination.
We wanted to welcome her back to see our Science Capital extension that first opened in 2020, to share all the new exhibits that houses; so she returned along with her older brother Daniel, her mum, dad and also her grandmother, who was visiting from Nigeria at the time.
Our over-arching mission at Techniquest is to inspire a passion for science in others, so it was a real pleasure to meet the family and witness first-hand their enjoyment of all we now have to offer.
Naomi kindly wrote up a short piece about their visit too, with help from Daniel, which we’ve shared with their permission below:
This summer, I visited Techniquest, Cardiff for the second time. When I arrived I was warmly welcomed by Rachel, a lovely member of staff who showed me around throughout the day. I was amazed by the new equipment they now have since my last visit.
The first thing I did was try the Magnetic Sunflower activity. The Sunflower’s petals were able to move magnetically when you push the button. I liked how the sunflower’s petals were able to move backwards and light showed through. Afterwards, I tried out the big slide. It was really fun going on the slide and one of my favourite activities on the day.
I went upstairs and saw a huge blue globe and an iPad control where you were asked questions on where certain foods came from and to answer you press the buttons of the country on the globe. For example, I learned that rice is made in China.
I then saw a big water tank with a machine and camera inside of it and I was able to use an iPad to control the machine to take pictures. I also took a few nice photos of myself and my brother.
Rachel later introduced me to a staff member called James who taught me a lot of exciting information about science and aerospace and I got to try out a number of activities and ask him some questions about space.
We then went to a beautiful and vibrant sensory garden where we saw a wide variety of plant species and one of them had really soft leaves that felt like velvet. I helped by filling in the water fountain for the plants and learned that it is powered by solar energy. Some plants had unique and nice scents like chocolate and lavender. It was a nice place to relax as you could see boats across Cardiff bay from the garden.
One of the things I found fascinating was the ants colony, there were over 10,000 ants and the ants pick up big pieces of leaves and rip them into smaller bits; they then go through the tubes to their home and deliver the leaf, climbing up and down and splitting the work in an organised manner. This area was quite dark. I learnt that ants also have a queen, just like bees and they use leaves to grow fungus for their nutrients.
Later on in the day, I met a different James in the workshop; I programmed LEGO robot cars to move around the table. Then I practised a fun activity with a stretch band, pulling it up with my hands to imitate the exercise that astronauts do because their muscles don’t move as much in space due to the low gravity.
James kindly gave me a cool Techniquest gift bag. It had an astronaut pen, note pads, mug and keyring and moon sticky notes and glow lights. I loved all my gifts.
Then I entered the hurricane section with my mum. It felt very windy and so much fun!
We went to see the Earth show in a movie-like theatre, we saw a few events that could happen in real life like earthquakes, fires, volcanoes and tsunamis. We also watched experiments and able to see their reactions. I really enjoyed watching the experiments.
It was such a fantastic day, I learnt so much and enjoyed it! I would recommend Techniquest to my friends and family and would love to come again, both times I have been to Techniquest have been the highlight of my summer holiday.
Naomi Akinbogun, age 10
with contributions from Daniel Akinbogun, age 14
It was a genuine delight to share our space with Naomi and her family, and we hope very much that they’re able to make a return visit in the future — and also hope that Techniquest continues to be an inspiration for other young people who’ve yet to discover where their passion lies.
Naomi’s original prize-winning story can be seen here: