Journey through water, air, fire and earth...

You don’t have to be a boffin to want to know more about the world we live in and Magna offers an adventure through the planet.

By Nancy Fielder
Thursday, 4th August 2011, 9:43 am

It is divided into four sections so you can squirt, dig and float your way through water, air, fire and earth.

Just stepping inside is an education in its own right because the centre was once a noisy, dark, typical South Yorkshire steelworks.

There are games, information and plenty of reminders of its proud past on the way round – in fact it is such an interesting building you can hardly forget its history.

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However the main attractions are the four elements which are all vital in the steelmaking process.

We started in the enormous floating balloon which is air and got an unusual welcome by stepping into the wind tunnel which sucks you in at 125mph.

The kids loved having the freedom to try the interactive displays and use their heads to figure out how they all worked.

Each themed pavilion is large enough for them to have lots to do but small enough for youngsters to explore without wandering too far.

Our favourite section was earth where you can detonate an explosion which sends mini boulders rolling through the room.

You can grab a tiny wheelbarrow, put on a hard hat and put them all back on to a huge conveyor belt so the fun starts again.

There are diggers where kids can take control and a sandpit which is always a hit.

In the aqua you can shoot water guns, weigh yourself in liquid and see life through the eyes of a fish.

The central attraction of fire is a flame tornado which is brilliant to watch but there are also lots of educational activities to play.

Magna is one of the few attractions that is great even in extreme weather.

There is plenty to do inside the old steelworks and it is so big you’ll be completely oblivious to the weather outside.

But on a gloriously sunny day you’ll have to hunt hard to find a better play area – especially the watertastic Aqua-Tek.

We went on a typically grey day but that didn’t stop hordes of kids pulling on their swimsuits and dashing through the water.

There is equipment that tips, squirts and shoots water at them when they least expect it as well as plenty that are just splashing fun all the time.

Despite the fact we needed a cup of tea to warm us up as we watched the children play, they were very happy playing regardless of the weather.

Next door to Aqua-Tek is the region’s largest play area which has a zipwire and tall climbing structures for older children as well as specially-designed play equipment for tiny tots.

Magna has lots of special events on during the summer holidays including family workshops where you can make giant bubbles, enjoy sherbet that you have created and see the explosive kitchen sink show made from ingredients found at home. Other summer additions include a giant zipwire for the daring and SNO!zone Castleford’s giant inflatable slide.

Every Thursday throughout the summer holidays, Family Matters will be bringing you our unique guide to a different attraction on your own doorstep.

There’s lots to do in South Yorkshire and we’ll be offering g reat discounts to help you keep the kids entertained without breaking the bank.

Next week: Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre, North Anston.

Fun for all ages in all weathers at Magna

Address: Magna Science Adventure Centre, Sheffield Road, Templeborough, Rotherham, S60 1DX

Phone: 01709 720002


Price: Adults £10.95, children £8.95, family ticket £44.95 for five.

Opening times: 10am to 5pm daily

Ages: Plenty for all – from toddlers in the play areas to teenagers wanting to learn.

Weather warning: Great come rain or sun.

Don’t miss: Grabbing a wheelbarrow and catching the rocks in Earth

Top tip: Take a change of clothes for the kids - AquaTek is great but very wet!