On Friday, the 15 of February I went to Action Stations at the Portsmouth Dockyard. I was let in through the accessible entrance straight away, which was good. First of all, I lined up to get my tickets swiped so I was able to get in. I had great customer service at the main desk, the woman who was working on the desk was fantastic because she spoke to me directly in a welcoming manner. She gave me lots of useful information.
I went to Action Stations, which is kind of like an activity centre; there is a huge amount of activities to do in there. I initially went in to check about the access of the cinema that is there, but I decided to stay because I’ve heard that it is good. The staff who work in Action Stations were fantastic, and they did their best to give me the most up-to-date information about the cinema.
Action Stations has lots of interactive activities to do… Although I think a lot of the activities were geared more towards able-bodied visitors, such as climbing walls, there were still plenty of things for me to look at, do and take part in. I was going to play Jenga, but I then decided to play Connect 4 because that’s easier than trying to play Jenga (imagine me playing Jenga… I would knock it down on the first hurdle!). I’m pleased to say that I won one of the Connect 4 games that we had. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but I am really good at Connect 4!
There was a section in Action Stations where you can shoot things like enemy ships and planes on a screen. I could do it a bit, but it was difficult to hold and move the guns because they were heavy, and it was awkward to pull the trigger as it was just a small, metal leaver.
In another part to Action Stations there were places where you could watch video clips, I could see all of them because the screens were at decent heights.
Another attribute to Action Stations was this area where you can feel how heavy a rifle is. You can pick the rifle up and hold it or rest it on someone’s lap. When I had it on my lap, it felt extremely heavy and its weight surprised me because I never thought it would be that heavy as people have to carry those. I’m not sure what the tube it was resting on was though…
Further in was a plane simulator. At the time that I visited, this was out of order. To get into the simulator, you have to go up at least three steps. These steps are not that bad because they are quite big, in depth and width, but it would still be difficult to get up. It would be good if it had a ramp – I didn’t see anything that indicated it had one. I don’t know what it’s like inside the simulator itself though since it was out of order. From the outside, it looked quite dark in there. It may be a good idea to put some lights in here. Although, as I don’t know what’s in there, lights may not be appropriate.
Another section in Action Stations has a puzzle. I haven’t really got much to say about this, but I think that it is at a good height, plus there is space to get wheelchairs right under depending on the height of the wheelchair. This could help people reach the puzzle and read the information that is displayed.
There was a large rectangular shaped bath with platforms that were shaped like small boats. These platforms had small cups on the top. I don’t really know what this is for, maybe it was to test how far you can push them… I just had to guess what it was because there wasn’t any information or introductions.
I was very impressed with the sign for the ‘Spey Gas Turbine Model’ because it was fairly easy to read, and it stood out. One thing that may improve it is if the text had a bold black outline, it could be easier to read because parts of the sign’s colours can make it difficult. I like the colours though - they’re bright and attractive.
On my way around Action Stations, I saw a feeling game where you have to put your hands inside two boots and guess what’s inside by feeling around. This is a good idea, but there was no way I was getting my hands in those boots… (It would be difficult for me to get my hands in due to the angle.) There was a little bit of string attached to a flap which you can lift to see what’s inside the boots. There was one for each boot. I found it difficult to get hold of the string because it was so small. I think that if the string had a bigger loop at the end, it might make it easier for some people to get hold of. Maybe it would be even better if there were big buttons to open each of the flaps. It might also be better if the boots were at an angle, so it’s easier for people to get their hands in.
Last, but by no means least, I am pleased to say that the Dockyard have thought about access outside in the courtyard area. I noticed that there was a portable ramp on one of the paths. I was impressed by this because this shows that they have thought about making it accessible.
That’s about it for this blog post, I hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed visiting and writing about my visit. Come back next time, bye for now.