Speed Dating Neanderthals – At Bristol After Hours

“Oh, I love Mammoth. I killed one just earlier today,” said my sister-in-law to the Neanderthal pair.
“This one – she will make a good wife for you,” said the female Neanderthal to the male.

I sat on the floor with them, without a witty prehistoric comment to make. Full of cold, admittedly low on facts and theories and a bit heady from the glass of wine I’d just had, I was more than a little taken off guard by my SIL’s enthusiasm for this game.


We were “Speed Dating Neanderthals” at the After Hours event at At Bristol Science Centre. The kids and I have membership so I take them there a fair bit, during the day. Lights low, food and drinks on sale and no small person to rush me on, saying, “I want to do something else” – or, worse yet, disappear without telling me anything – this was a proper night out.

Laurence and I took my brother and my sister-in-law since they hadn’t yet been to At Bristol and we knew they’d love it. They moved to Bristol last year and it’s been amazing having them in the same city as us (honestly not just because of all the babysitting, you guys – though that is pretty great). We just love seeing them a whole lot more.

Because they are young and free, they had a romantic dinner beforehand. Because we are not, we just about settled the kids with Laurence’s cousin before dashing out. She then spent a lot of the evening rocking Ophelia in a pushchair while watching a documentary about penguins. So, science all round.


The theme was “Love and Luck” since it was the night before Valentine’s Day. Hence activities like the speed dating. Actually, the most popular attraction seemed to be the heart dissection. Groups of friends looked like they were having a blast getting right in there, school lab style.

We didn’t fancy waiting so we wandered around looking at all the stuff I don’t normally get to properly take in. I watched a documentary short about a man who’d committed to donating his body to science and got to milk the cow model myself instead of watching Talitha do it. Laurence and I also spent ages playing in the bubble section and making silly (slightly violent) stop motion animations.


I should’ve booked ahead for the planetarium as I hardly ever get to go since they only do shows suitable for preschoolers during Toddler Takeovers. That’s my only regret. Next time.

Laurence and I were both unwell so we didn’t want to stay massively long but we could easily have done hours there. My brother and his wife say they had a blast and that they envy me being able to go, oh, any time I like. We enjoyed it so much I’m seriously going to the next After Hours. At £7 entry, it’s value for money.

At Bristol sent me complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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