FROM October, children aged five to seven will be able to taste a flavour of life at sea through the lives of a ship's boy, a petty officer and an officer at HMS Victory, Portsmouth. Visits will include a guided tour of the ship, sessions with crew members, meeting Lord Nelson and sorting through three discovery boxes full of the clothing and personal possessions that the crew would have had on board. Details from Lt Cdr Frank Nowosielski. Tel: 023 9272 3111.
Young sports fanatics can practise ball control and tennis, rock climbing and sprinting skills at the Chelsea World of Sport in Chelsea Village's Sports and Leisure Complex at Stamford Bridge, London. Visitors can also play virtual volleyball and explore an exhibition on the history of Chelsea Football Club. Tel: 020 7915 2222. Web: www.chelseaworldofsport.com
EAST ANGLIAN ROOTS
The people and events that shaped the Norfolk landscape will be the star attractions at Origins, the new interactive centre in the heart of Norwich that opens in October. There will be a 180-degree film show on a wrap-around screen featuring Romans, Vikings, Anglo Saxons and Normans.Origins is in the pound;63 million Forum complex which also houses the new USAAF 2nd Air Division Memorial Library. For opening details call 01603 610 524 or visit www.theforumnorfolk.com.
PEWTER has been used to make plates, jugs, tankards, ice cream moulds and even chess sets. All these and more are on display at the Museum of British Pewter in Stratford-upon-Avon. A discovery area allows children to become pewter detectives in a virtual attic, searching for ten hidden items. They can also create a virtual tankard. Admission is free. Tel: 01789 204016.
blackpool cacti There are 1,500 plants from 146 species under one roof at the new Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. Micro-climates created within the Winter Gardens allow cacti and succulents to grow in the warm south-facing areas, and ferns and club mosses can be found in the cool and shady north-facing Fern Gully. The museum has eight new galleries alongside three old favourites, including Textile Traditions, Secrets of the Past and Lost Worlds. Tel: 0191 553 2323.
The Royal Gunpowder Mills opened with a bang last April. Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Works became one of the most important suppliers to the army and navy during the Napoleonic wars and the Crimean War.
The Works later spearheaded technological developments of other propellants and high explosive charges. During World War I, the factory, 50 per cent 'manned' by women, supplied explosives to British forces. For details of the site's Explorer Programme for key stages 1 and 2, contact Gillian Norris. Tel: 01992 767 022. Web: www. royalgunpowdermills.com GUNNERS
Put yourself in the firing line at the Royal Arsenal on the Thames at Woolwich in London.
The Royal Artillery Experience tells the story of artillery with simulators, and of the 300-year-old Royal Regiment of Artillery - the Gunners. In the Field of Fire, visitors plunge into battle. Bombs and shells whiz overhead. Guns roar and smoke fills the room. In the Real Weapon gallery discover the functions of ammunition, the principles of hitting the target, and the science and teamwork involved. Tel: 020 8855 7755. Web:www.firepower.org.uk
EARTH AND FIRE
A tornado of fire, spiralling a five-metre jet of scarlet and orange flame, is one of the attractions in the new Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
Visitors explore the four elements - earth, air, fire and water. In the Earth Pavilion, they can operate a powerful JCB, racing a competitor to fill hoppers and buckets with rocks. Tel: 01709 720002. Web: www.magnatrust. org.co
WAR AND PEACE
The Caen Memorial is a museum dedicated to peace in Esplanade Eisenhower, Caen, France. It has sections devoted to the failure of peace (1918-39), France in the dark years (1940-44) and World War (1940-45). There are also audio-visual presentations.
Admission for British primary schools is 25 francs. Packages for secondary school groups from 50 to 120 francs.
Phone the education department on 0033 2 31 060644.