We The Curious, Bristol’s science and arts centre, re-opened this May with a brand-new, multi-million-pound ground floor experience – Project What If.

Inspired by questions from the people of Bristol, the transformed ground floor is a space where art and science collide, with big ideas explored in new and surprising ways.  

Upstairs, there’s animations to be made, light, sound, giant bubbles, even a walk-through tornado, as well as the UK’s only 3D Planetarium.

Here’s why you need to add this Bristol favourite to your wish list this summer.

We The Curious exhibition with lit up text saying 'What controls our perception of time, and can we slow it down?'

Image credit - Julian Welsh

Something for everyone

New experience Project What If is based on questions from real people, so it’s about the things that really intrigue us as human beings. What is it that makes you unique? Why do rainbows make people happy? Could we ever travel through time?

If you’ve ever been curious about what it means to be human, then Project What If is for you!

There’s also plenty for all ages. Who doesn’t love a chance to turn invisible? Or see what they look like in slow motion?

Project What If exhibition at We The Curious

Image credit - Lisa Whiting

Expect the unexpected

This isn’t your traditional science centre experience. Seven questions (from the 10,000 submitted) are the inspiration for clusters of exhibits on the themes of Time, Invisibility, Universe, Soul, Rainbows, Sand and Illness.

The interactive exhibits look at the theme from different angles and many different voices have contributed, so you’ll find subjects you wouldn’t normally find in a science centre – like religion and mental health - as well as beautiful artworks and films.

Two kids playing with Time exhibit in Project What If at We The Curious

Image credit - Lisa Whiting

Time to play

It’s quirky and full of fun. You can mess about with illusions, have a chat with the resident robot, step inside the colour room and choose which one makes you happy. Or maybe you’d like to record a message to aliens and broadcast it into space?

Head upstairs and you can have fun creating your own characters and animations, play a giant game of chess or pretend to be astronaut. For younger ones, you’ll find craft activities and science-inspired storytelling.  

Child playing with exhibit on Level 1 at We The Curious

Image credit - Lisa Whiting

There are robots AND football

Does spending time with robots change how we feel about them? The Open City Lab is a new working laboratory space, where visitors to We The Curious can take part in real scientific research.

This summer, it’s all about robot design. Form a team and see if you can turn your hand-held robot into the top goal scorer in the penalty shoot-out. (Places for this one are limited, so sign up when you arrive.)

Boy playing with robot and football exhibit at We The Curious

Image credit - Lisa Whiting

Space adventures

We The Curious is home to the UK’s only 3D Planetarium and a team of knowledgeable presenters. For some true escapism, try 'Summer Stargazing 3D', a tour of the glittering summer night sky featuring mythical eagles, gigantic stars, meteor showers and a fascinating flight through Saturn’s icy rings. 

Alternatively, pick your mission in adventure show ‘Solar System Odyssey 3D’, or younger space enthusiasts and their grown-ups can join Ursa and Leo in 2D show ‘Space Explorers’.

You can add tickets to your booking for just £3.50 extra per person.

We The Curious planetarium

Image credit - Lee Pullen

A moment to reflect

We’re living through a difficult time. In between the play and discovery, the new ground floor also provides a chance to pause and reflect.

The Illness exhibits look at the nature of disease, health inequalities and how our experience of illness shapes our lives.

And in art gallery space The Box, the Covid-19 Diaries (from Bristol-based director and filmmaker Phoebe Holman) captures the personal stories behind the events of 2020 and explores how a global pandemic has changed us and the world as we know it.

We The Curious is located on Bristol’s Harbourside and is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm during term time and every day of the Bristol school holidays.

Tickets must be booked in advance and you’ll be asked to select an arrival slot. Popular slots are booking up fast so book early to avoid disappointment.

Find out more about Project What If here.

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We The Curious exhibitions

We The Curious is a state-of-the-art visitor attraction, offering an amazing world of hands-on discovery for you, your friends and family.