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Science-based playground would be a first.

Byline: Campbell Docherty

Birmingham is set to become the home of Britain's first science-based adventure playground.

Plans are being worked up by the trustees of Thinktank, the science museum based at Millennium Point, to make part of the city council's Eastside City Park into the new outdoor attraction.

The project, which is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds at least, is being seen as a way to attract more people to the museum which has seen disappointing visitor numbers.

Thinktank chief executive Stewart Dobson said last night: 'Certainly it is an idea we are very keen on. It isn't really an idea that has been fully developed in the UK but there are some very successful examples of science playgrounds around the world.

'One that springs to mind is outside the New York Science Museum. The idea really is to have an adventure playground which is made up of exhibits which demonstrate science in such a way as to be fun and have educational value at the same time.'

The Thinktank plan has been boosted by the news that the first phase of the first urban park to be built in Birmingham in a century has been approved by Birmingham's Cabinet. It is hoped it will open by 2008.

Phase two of the Eastside City Park - which the council intends to make a unique '21st century park' - will follow in the next two to three years.

Mr Dobson added: 'The trustees are keen that a relatively small amount of land is set aside outside Thinktank for the playground, which we think will have the double benefit of adding visitors to the park and adding another attraction for Thinktank.

'We would expect to be able to attract sponsorship for exhibits. This has certainly proved a successful funding method for similar playgrounds elsewhere in the world.'

Coun Ken Hardeman (Con Brandwood), Cabinet member for regeneration, said: 'This will be a great addition to the park and an excellent way of connecting to the activities in Millennium Point.'


Thinktank chief executive Stewart Dobson
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 11, 2005
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