If the weather this summer is anything like last year's, the Polar Extremes gallery in Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh should prove more popular than ever. Just reopened after a pound;260,000 make-over to coincide with International Polar Year, the new-look gallery brings the Arctic and the Antarctic to life as never before.
The ingenious "iceberg" that takes pride of place in its centre (approximately seven feet high by 15 feet long and formed from the frozen sweat and breath of visitors) has been retained. But new features include an "ice hole" in the floor, through which penguins, seals and other Polar creatures can be seen apparently swimming beneath your feet. A magnificent sealskin snow suit, as worn by the Inuit, is also on display, and there is a demonstration of igloo building in the new Polar Extremes film.
Long sleeves are advised in the gallery, particularly as blasts of cold air, to simulate blizzard conditions, have been added to the Polar experience, along with the sound of howling winds.
The Polar Extremes gallery is one of more than half-a-dozen "experiences"
that make up Our Dynamic Earth. Others include the Time Machine, the Tropical Rain Forest - where a simulated thunder and lighting rainstorm occurs every 12 minutes - and the outdoors Earthscape Scotland gallery with a geo-garden of primitive plants, hidden fossils and a close-up view of Arthur's Seat.
Prices for schools start at pound;2.95 per pupil or pound;5 with a workshop.
Teachers can book a free familiarisation visit beforehand. T 0131 523 1273 www.ourdynamicearth.co.uk