Frequently asked questions
We The Curious is reopening in November 2020, following temporary closure due to the COVID pandemic.
If you have a question and you can't find the information here, please get in touch on 0117 915 1000 (Weekdays 9am-5pm, excluding Bank Holidays), or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We The Curious is reopening in November 2020, following temporary closure to the COVID pandemic. As part of reopening, we are reviewing our opening hours and will update this page with news as soon as we can.
Before the pandemic, we were open seven days a week at the following times:
10am - 5pm Monday to Friday
10am - 6pm Weekends and Bristol school holidays
We made the decision to open in November after extensive consultation with external experts and fellow visitor attractions.
Since opening 20 years ago, we have been proud to be a welcoming and inclusive space where everyone can interact freely with installations and exhibits. When we reopen, we want to remain true to our values and our ethos of encouraging a 'culture of curiosity', while providing a safe space for all.
Reopening in November means we can take the time to get it right and provide you with a safe, welcoming, rich experience when you come back to visit us. November is also when our new exhibition Project What If is due to be completed, which brings with it a total transformation of our ground floor.
Project What If is our brand new exhibition and opens in November. It will be the first major science centre exhibition in the UK all about the curiosity of a city.
Project What If uses questions asked by real people as a springboard to delve into the real world of science which is creative, collaborative, inspiring and has never been more important.
Over the past three years, we’ve gathered over 10,000 questions from people in every postcode of Bristol - both in our venue and out in the city with our silver Curious Cube.
With the help of some of our community partners, staff and volunteers we whittled the list down to just seven final questions, covering themes such as happiness, the universe, invisibility, illness and time. Each question will be explored through a 'constellation' in the Project What If exhibition space.
With Project What If we're aiming to open up science by putting people at the heart of it. As well as the exhibit constellations, on the exhibition floor you'll find 'Open City Lab', a ground-breaking area where you'll be able to take part in real scientific research as it happens and the ‘John James Theatre of Curiosity’, which will explore visitors’ questions in new and unexpected ways.
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The installation of Project What If means a radical transformation of ground floor and foyer. You'll be able to enjoy loads of exciting new exhibits and installations, but it does mean that many of our old exhibits are changing.
We know that lot of the exhibits on the ground floor were really loved, so our Projects Team have worked hard to try and keep as many as possible.
24 of our much loved exhibits from the ground floor are being re-homed in the rest of the exhibition, 18 are being stored for later use and 14 stripped for spares and recycled.
Our immersive Planetarium features 360° digital 3D, 4K Ultra High Definition and incredible 7.1 surround sound - and is the only one of it's kind in the UK!
All our shows are presenter-led and specially created for you by our expert team using the latest technology and scientific discoveries.
Price listed + Standard Admission
3D Planetarium show*
£3.50 per person
2D Planetarium show
£2.50 per person
£2.50 per person
*Please note Active 3D technology is unsuitable for under 6’s due to health restrictions.
These prices are correct as of March 2020 but may be subject to change.
When we reopen everyone will need to book in advance, including school groups, day visitors and members. This is to help us manage the capacity of the venue and ensure that We The Curious remains a safe and welcoming place to visit.
We're currently making some changes to our online ticketing experience in light of the change in circumstances. As soon as we're ready to put tickets on sale we will let you know.
We're working really hard to get tickets on sale as soon as possible ahead of reopening in November. To do we need to make big changes to both our online and in-venue ticketing experience in light of the change in circumstances.
Please bear with us on this. As soon as we're ready to put tickets on sale we will let you know.
We're planning on welcoming school groups to the venue again from late November onwards. Booking should open in September.
All of our existing members have been a payment holiday throughout the time that we've been closed. When we reopen, membership benefits will restart again too. For more information please email email@example.com
Only if the children are aged 12 or over. Children aged 11 or under need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 16 or over - you wouldn't want them to have all the fun would you?!
An average visit takes around 3 hours as there’s so much to see and do! If you're catching a Planetarium show as part of your visit, you should allow about 30 minutes for this.
Planetarium tickets can only be purchased in conjunction with venue admission tickets.
Yes we do! Please advise us that you are a dedicated support worker at the time of booking.
We welcome all guide and assistance dogs, but pets are sadly not allowed in the venue.
Yes we have an award-winning family-friendly café. Hot food is served until 3pm, and a wide selection of delicious drinks and snacks is available throughout the day. We also have vending machines dispensing hot and cold drinks and snacks located on both floors, and they do give change!
There is a cash point just outside the main entrance to We The Curious – just ask any one of the Visitor Services team for further details and directions. Plus we accept cash payments in Bristol Pounds – the closest access points are just around the corner at the Tourist Information Centre and No. 1 Harbourside.
Yes, we welcome all major credit and debit cards (apart from American Express and Diners cards) at the admissions desk and in the shop, café and car park. There is no minimum spend anywhere on-site.
We have plenty of lockers located on the ground floor, you’ll need to insert a £1 coin to operate them, which is then returned when the door is opened.
We have private spaces which can be made available on request, simply call 01179 15 1000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm excluding Bank Holidays) or ask a member of staff on arrival.
We are breastfeeding friendly throughout the venue, and a private space can be made available upon request – please just ask any member of staff. There are plenty of highchairs located in both the café and picnic area, and the café also has bottle and food warming facilities. Baby changing facilities are located on both floors of the venue, and there are buggy park areas available also.
Our city centre locations means there are a whole host of ways for you to visit us!
Bike - Get your heart pumping and get on your bike! There’s a pump available just outside We The Curious and lock ups around the city centre.
Walking - Wander down & explore your local area together.
Bus – We The Curious is just a short walk from many city centre bus stops. Visit firstgroup.com for timetable information or download their app.
Park & Ride – With secure parking from Brislington and Long Ashton, We The Curious is just a short bus ride away if you hop on a Park & Ride bus. Visit travelwest.info/park-ride for more information.
Train – Rediscover the joy of train travel. Visit gwr.com for timetable information.
The ferry – Take to the seas and get on a local ferry - oh arr! Check out Number Seven boats and Bristol Ferry Boats for more information.
By Car – Millennium Square car park is located at the back of Millennium Square and is open 24hrs seven days a week.
Using Sat Nav? Please use the following postcode as your destination BS1 5LL. Find out more about Millennium Square car park
Other city centre car parks close to We The Curious are:
We love it when you take photos of your friends or family in We The Curious. For anything on a larger scale we need to hear about in advance. That’s so that we can inform our staff who can then make our visitors aware that photography is happening and that they have the choice to opt out.
As an educational charity, we do charge for commercial photography in the venue. Photographers are also asked to make sure they have specific model-release forms and permission from anyone they’re photographing, especially for anyone under 16 years old. If you have any questions please send over an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers is of utmost importance to us, and we would like to reassure all of our visitors that security measures are in place for all events and activities here in We The Curious.
The following security procedures are in place:
- We reserve the right to conduct random bag searches.
- Bags any larger than a rucksack will not be permitted in the building, so please do not bring suitcases or other large bags.
- We The Curious has 24-hour security on site, which covers We The Curious, Millennium Square carpark, Millennium Square and Anchor Square.
- There is CCTV on site.
- We have increased security personnel on site for the duration of the summer period, which includes lots of busy outdoor festivals.
- We work closely with Avon & Somerset Police to constantly review developments and procedures.
As an educational charity, we don't receive any direct funding from the government. In order for us to continue to reach our charitable aims, we're usually unable to provide refunds.
We're happy to reschedule tickets under special circumstances, so if you think this applies to you please call our bookings line on 0117 915 1000 (9-5 Monday - Friday).
We relaxed both policies during the COVID pandemic and temporary closure, and will continue to do so in the future should we need to.
At-Bristol Science Centre has changed! After 17 years of “making science accessible to all”, At-Bristol relaunched as We The Curious in Sept 2017, with a new direction and focus to “create a culture of curiosity”.
Want to find out more? Curious about what we’re doing? Here’s some FAQs which might help with any questions that you may have:
In a nutshell:
At-Bristol relaunched in September 2017, with a brand new direction, name, visual identity and mission!
We The Curious is an idea and a place for everyone. Previously known as At-Bristol Science Centre, our venue on Bristol’s harbourside is a bit like an indoor festival, with all sorts of different experiences, where you can interact with exhibits, test stuff out and participate rather than just visit. As an educational charity, we’re all about empowering everyone to ask questions and get creative - with boundaries removed between science, art, people and ideas - a culture of curiosity.
We’re really proud of everything we’ve done as At-Bristol, and this new direction now builds on everything we’ve achieved and done in the last 17 years.
So what changed?
- Our name – We The Curious highlights our intention to create a culture of curiosity, with a collaborative inclusive mission where We is everybody, our city and beyond.
- Our visual identity – we now have a new logo, colour palette, new signage around the venue, and a new photography style.
- Our vision, mission and values all centred around our organising thought to create a culture of curiosity.
- Physically, our foyer, café & shop were revamped and opened out, to create a welcoming public space.
- You’ll see a brand new feature exhibit on the ground floor opening in summer 2020 – just the start of our new story on the exhibition floor.
Why did you change?
At-Bristol’s aim to ‘make science accessible to all’ was no longer unique. The advancing pace of technology has changed access to and understanding of science in a way that means that we need to innovate, progress and move forward with our audiences.
Curiosity is an innate trait everyone is born with, so it’s something everyone can identify, engage and connect with. People can often feel like “science isn’t for me”, and learning from visitor research, people want us to be more challenging for a range of ages.
Science will absolutely still be at the core of what we do, but with our new vision to create a culture of curiosity we are not just aiming for more people to access science but to completely shift how people see it. It is messy, creative, collaborative, living and for everyone – an integral part of culture.
Why did you choose this name? Was it tested?
Yes! The initial audience survey was consulted with staff, volunteers and visitors, as well as 3 online surveys working with our Members and also members of the general public (which ran through Bristol 247). We also conducted some offline surveys with some of our community partners (including Barton Hill settlement), and face-to-face interviews with key stakeholders both in the city and in the science/museum sector.
The name ‘We The Curious’ and a mixture of other potential names, was then tested in a number of locations (including At-Bristol, Park Street and Cabot Circus), and the results came back at 96% positive, with the other 4% either neutral or rating it as bad.
The name itself is just one part of our new vision to create a culture of curiosity; the initial results came back to 'be more challenging', 'take a stance' and 'be for everyone', and our new name is a reflection of our movement to remove boundaries between science, art, people and ideas. In short, it’s all of us – everyone.
Why didn’t you ask us?
We did! We did heaps of research over the past 2 years, including online surveys with members, visitors and non-visitors (run via Bristol 247), staff and volunteer workshops and face-to-face interviews with key partners in the city.
The results came back that people wanted us to be ‘more challenging’, ‘take a stance’ be ‘for everyone’ and ‘change the name’.
Is it still for me? Is it still interactive?
Absolutely – we’re still an educational charity, and we’re still a brilliant venue where you can access all sorts of amazing science experiences and activities. And, we’re still super hands-on and interactive.
We will absolutely still be making science accessible to all in part of what we do, but our new vision will aim to make it even more accessible, by attempting to remove barriers and be more inclusive to wider audiences.
Is it completely different?
Yes and no! You’ll see that the café, foyer, and shop space look different, and it's a more open and welcoming space for all, and you’ll see a brand new feature exhibit as you come to the ground floor. You’ll also see a new logo, uniform and signage around the venue, so, it’ll look and feel a bit different.
But, the rest of the exhibition floor and activities will remain unchanged – for now. Over the next 2 years, the ground floor will be completely transformed, as we reshape it as part of a big funding bid we’ve just secured from the BEIS and Wellcome – we’ll be asking the city of Bristol what they want to see in our venue, so we won’t know exactly what the changes will look until we’ve worked with a range of people to develop new experiences.
Why have you spent loads of money changing your name when you are a charity?
Internally, we’ve been working on this for the past 2 years; there has been a lot of planning, research with visitor (and non-visitor), staff and key partners, development and board input to bring us to where are now. Any concerns raised (have we done enough research, have we spoken to the right people, are we spending too much money) were challenged and resolved during this process. All costs are audited by our board of trustees and the audit committee, so we’ve been sure to make every penny count – it’s a relaunch on a budget!
We recognise that it’s a bold move, but as a charity, we have to move with our audience to remain relevant, and achieve our aims.
I don’t know anything about We The Curious, what is this place?
We The Curious was previously known as At-Bristol Science Centre; an educational charity with an aim to “make science accessible to all”, it opened in 2000, and welcomed over 5 million visitors in the past 17 years. At-Bristol will be relaunching as We The Curious in September 2017, with a new vision that is committed to creating a culture of curiosity.
We The Curious is an idea and a place for everyone. Our venue on Bristol’s harbourside is a bit like an indoor festival, with all sorts of different experiences, where you can interact with exhibits, test stuff out and participate rather than just visit. We’re all about empowering everyone to ask questions and get creative - with boundaries removed between science, art, people and ideas - a culture of curiosity.
How much is going to change on the ground floor? What about the interactive water exhibition/womb/greenhouse/parachutes? My children love that! I don’t want it to go!
The relaunch on 14 September was by no means the finished article for We The Curious – we’ve been awarded some funding from the Inspiring Science fund (funded by BEIS and Wellcome) [JF3] for our Inspiring Science project, so the ground floor will change a lot over the next two years.
Our new project will help us manifest our vision - connecting science and culture, citizens and research in the first major science centre exhibition generated entirely by the curious questions of its city.
This new 1000m2 exhibition experience will replace our current ground floor exhibitions. We will support current visitors and underrepresented local communities to voice their questions, choose those they want to feature in the exhibition and work with us on designing exhibits, drawing on many disciplines to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Our aim is to create a powerhouse of scientific enquiry, through large scale AV installations, intimate debating spaces, a public lab with live research and interactive experiences.
We’ll make sure that we let people know when the changes will be taking place.
Will this impact on the Millennium square and Big Screen?
No, Millennium Square and Big Screen Bristol will still continue as part of our spaces – we’ll still be running free film screenings, and using the outdoor spaces for events and activities.
Are you still going to do your Hello community weekends? And school visits?
Yes, we’ll still be running our Community Engagement programme, and we’ll still be welcoming schools visitors exactly as we were when were At-Bristol.
What's happening to the Planetarium?
It’s still there, and it’s still the UK’s first 3D digital Planetarium! We’ll still be creating and running our amazing presenter-led shows for all our audiences, as well as Planetarium Nights shows just for adults.
What's happening to the animation centre?
It’s still be there!