Science attraction reopens zone following refurbishment by exhibition firm

Magna Science Adventure Centre has re-opened  ‘air’ zone following a refurbishment by Sheffield-based interactive exhibition specialists Aivaf Ltd

The Air Pavilion, featuring airships, rockets and hot air balloons, is one of Magna’s four hands-on exhibition areas where young people can explore the power of the elements – earth, air, fire and water.

After 22 years in action, Aivaf have refreshed existing exhibits, installed new ones and added digital fun-fact information points.

Aivaf managing director Bruce Davies said: “ We are incredibly pleased, after initially working with Magna back in 2000 when it opened, to be working with them again and developing and creating something really special for local people to be as proud of as we are.”

The Air Pavilion now features pump-powered rockets and pedal-powered airships. Visitors of all ages can turn wind turbines to raise air balloons and try to catch fabric flyers as they zoom through a maze of colourful pipes and shoot out above their heads in a jet of air.

The make-over is the first of many at Magna as several exhibits, public areas and facilities are due to be upgraded over the next 18 months to improve the visitor experience and the venue’s sustainability. A rolling programme of improvements will see other exhibition spaces and outdoor play areas refurbished, with a focus on STEM learning and accessibility. It will include improvements to the reception area, café, signage, lifts and LED lighting.

This work has been funded as part of a £20 million pound investment secured by Rotherham Council to help improve the leisure economy and skills in Rotherham.

Magna chief executive Kevin Tomlinson said: “We are proud to be part of Rotherham Council’s vision for a strong and sustainable visitor economy across the borough… This support enables us to work with Aivaf, invest in our unique building and develop our exhibits, which provide energetic and enquiring minds with a place to have fun, explore the wonders of science and develop a love of STEM learning.”

Other attractions also benefiting from the Levelling Up funding include Wentworth Woodhouse, Thrybergh Country Park, Rother Valley Country Park, Maltby Learning Trust and Skills Street at Gulliver’s Valley. The Air Pavilion is the first project completed in this programme and it was officially re-opened by Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor Tajamal Khan.

Rotherham’s cabinet member for jobs and local economy, councillor Denise Lelliott said: “The council aims to grow Rotherham’s leisure economy by making the most of our unique assets and green spaces and investing in training to support jobs in this sector. Magna Science Adventure Centre is a landmark visitor attraction and events venue for Rotherham, and it’s great to see these first improvements going live and being enjoyed by schools, families and groups from across the borough and all over the UK.”

Magna attracts more than 30,000 schoolchildren a year on educational visits and thousands more families and groups from all over the UK and abroad. It also hosts  more than 100 corporate, community, music and special interest events a year.