Days out: Scientific Glasgow

If your head doesn't spin, the tower will
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The Independent Travel

The new Glasgow Science Centre looks like a spacecraft that has lost its way and landed on a piece of reclaimed land on the bank of the River Clyde.

This landmark millennium project has already attracted much praise – its state-of-the-art architecture and interactive exhibits attracted 150,000 visitors in its first three months, and they are still arriving by the busload.

The centre is divided into three parts – the science mall (the ultra-modern playground of the centre), the Glasgow tower, and the Imax theatre. The science mall is filled with more than 300 interactive exhibits aimed at all ages, covering a dizzying array of scientific and technological areas.

Visitors whose appreciation of science was permanently marred by a bad experience with exploding test tubes and a detention should prepare to have a change of heart. GSC takes an irreverent attitude to the mysteries of life, using humour to knock science down a peg or two and make it accessible to everyone. It has even put science "in the dock" with a puppetry installation which, through a series of Monty Python-style sketches, highlights the moral quandaries posed by such issues as animal testing and cloning.

You can extract your own DNA, rediscover how your senses work (and how they can be confused), try your hand at laser surgery, and operate a moon buggy by remote control. A virtual reality cinema and planetarium open soon.

The "Glasgow Tower Experience" takes you on a guided tour of the past and future of Glasgow. The ride up into the 127m tower itself is not for the faint-hearted. The tower – the only one is the world to rotate 360 degrees from the ground up – is designed to adjust itself to face into the prevailing wind. The views of the city are great, but when the wind gusts the tower sways.

The enormous Imax theatre screen is currently running five shows, including The Human Body, a day in the life of our body, seen from the inside, and Grand Canyon: the Hidden Secrets, a breathtaking journey through this natural wonder of the world.

Virgin Trains operate daily services to Glasgow (08457 222 333; www.virgintrains.co.uk). Buses run frequently between the city centre and the GSC. "Discovery" underground tickets offer unlimited travel after 9.30am for £1.60. GSC zones are priced individually; combined tickets are available (0141-420 5010; www.gsc.org.uk).

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