Dynamic Earth

(Our Dynamic Earth)

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

Located in central Edinburgh, opposite the Scottish Parliament and on the site where James Hutton, the father of modern geology, lived and worked, Sir Michael Hopkins' distinctive building (the William Younger Centre) houses the Dynamic Earth exhibition, together with the Atmosphere conference venue.

Supported by the Millennium Commission and opened in 1999, the building, with its translucent tented roof, is dramatically located on the edge of Edinburgh's Holyrood Park, on a site which was latterly a gas-works and part of the old Holyrood Brewery. The brewers Scottish & Newcastle donated the site for the benefit of the public in 1988.

The Dynamic Earth exhibition represents a combination of a tourist attraction with features of a museum and a science centre. Through a series of interactive galleries, visitors can experience the Earth's evolution, from the Big Bang into the future. These include some of the processes which formed Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags, such as volcanoes, glaciation and earthquakes, together with further experiences such as a torrential downpour in a tropical rain forest.

The exhibition, costing £34 million was the first major United Kingdom millennium attraction to open and was expected to attract 450,000 visitors a year. However, disruption caused by the building of the Parliament greatly reduced visitor numbers and brought the need for a rescue package from the Scottish Government. By 2006, visitor numbers had risen to just beyond 200,000 and further revenue was being generated from corporate hospitality and events.

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