Remembering the bizarre Millennium Dome Experience, London 2000

Way back in the year 2000, when I was 8, our school took us on a trip to the Millennium Dome in London to have a day out at the Millennium Experience.

I’ve got some very odd memories of the place, so thought I’d share them on here as I think they’re quite amusing!

The Millennium Dome was a very odd thing wasn’t it?
Weirdly I have some fairly vivid memories of it.

Here’s what I remember about some of the different exhibits in the dome!

The Body Zone

Now what can I say about this thing.

To this day I think going in to the Body Zone has got to be one of the most traumatising experiences of my life 😂

The Body Zone was basically a large human body walkthrough exhibit, which you shuffled through on a series of escalators and walkways, passing various aspects of the inside of the human body. The trouble was, it was all really unpleasant.

One of the overarching memories I have about the body zone is that it smelled absolutely awful. A heady mix of sweaty, farty, stale air, enclosed in a horrifying plastic shell.

I remember walking past the first display in the body zone, which as far as I remember was a giant display of pubic hair, complete with animatronic lice, before moving on to see a series of small animatronic brains which we’re talking to the crowd.
Okay.. So far so good, if a little weird and extremely smelly.

But then came the real nightmare fuel. The giant heart. Oh boy.

I remember ascending up the escalator in to the next section of the plastic sweat-box, then coming to a stop in a massive crowd of other terrified screaming children underneath the devil itself – the giant beating heart, where we remained stood for what felt like an eternity.

This thing was huge. It was hung from the top of the giant chest we were all stood in, with huge veins feeding in to it, and the entire thing was moving and beating very loudly.

I remember standing there, utterly terrified with my eyes closed, thinking “what have I got myself in to here”. Is this how it all ends, trapped in an airtight, plastic fart-box, about to either suffocate to death or somehow be consumed by that horrifying giant beating heart?

During all the hysteria I remember asking myself, had I actually seen any evidence that people ever left this damn exhibit?
Did this body even have an ‘arse’ / exit? Or is this really how it all ends?

Looking back, I’m really not sure why I (and seemingly everyone else) found it so scary. But at the time I felt like I’d been through the 9th circle of hell, and I was ready to get out.

Eventually, down the excruciatingly slow escalator we went, towards daylight and some much needed fresh air.

As any group of 8 year old lads would – we never spoke of this ever again.

On to the next wonder..

The Rest Zone

The teacher looking after our group decided that the next stop would be the Rest Zone – I think it was obvious that we’d all been though quite the ordeal in the horrifying Body Zone and everyone needed a bit of time to reflect on what had happened.

The Rest Zone was basically an empty kidney bean shaped building (all smooth edges with no definition between the walls / floors / ceilings). The entire room cycled through different colours, while zen music played, and was a place to relax.

It was all a bit bizarre to be honest, I remember seeing hundreds of people all draped over the various undulations on the floor, led in silence listening to the music, and wondering to myself what the point of it all was? Little did I know at the time that most of the country was wondering the same thing about the entire Millennium Experience as a whole!

Not much happened in the Rest Zone, but the peace was interrupted briefly when I dropped my (very 90s) disposable camera which slid down the sloped surfaces in to the middle of another group of people lower down in the room. I awkwardly slid down the room after it and retrieved the camera, which didn’t go down well at all with my teacher. (weird what you remember isn’t it!) I think I had broken the very strict “THE REST ZONE IS NOT TO BE USED AS A SLIDE” rule 🙄

The Acrobatics show

The Millennium Experience’s main attraction was the acrobatics show in the centre of the Dome.

I seem to remember this was kind of like a circus without the clowns.

After sitting through the standard “Isn’t the Dome incredible” type spiel that seemed to be what the whole experience was about, the show itself was quite impressive!

I do remember though that the audience was almost entirely made up of school kids on trips, and all of us were weirdly sat together in a very small space on the cold bare concrete floor, while the surrounding seats were mostly empty. I wonder if that was a running theme all year?

Timekeepers – Foam ball fight!

This. Was. BLOODY. FANTASTIC.

I have no idea if this was an exhibit in its own right, or if it was simply a kids play area, but whatever it was, it was great.

“The timekeepers of the Millennium” was essentially a series of soft-play towers, with several air-cannons which kids and adults could feed foam balls in to, to fire at others down below or in the opposing towers.

For me and my mates at the time – this totally made the trip.

I remember spending what must have been over an hour in here, fetching as many foam balls as we could carry up the towers to fire at our ‘enemies’ who were themselves collecting their ammo below, before going around time and time again.

Looking back now, I think this area was such a hit because it was one of the few “exhibits” (if that’s what it was) which was built purely for fun, which let’s face it, is what most kids want from a day out isn’t it!

I’ve done a bit of Googling while I was reminiscing about it, and found out that Chessington World of Adventures bought the exhibit after the Dome’s closure in 2001, and installed it in their park as “Dennis’ Madhouse”. It actually still operates today as “Temple of Mayhem”!
The exhibit was such a hit at the Dome, that Alton Towers also copied the concept and installed Berry Bish Bash in the park 2 years later.

The rest of the exhibitions in the Dome were, to be honest, crap. At least that’s what I seem to remember my 8-year-old self thinking at the time!

I remember an “educational zone” of some sort, sponsored by Tesco, but didn’t really understand it. As well as several museum / art gallery style exhibits. These really were lost on me as a kid, perhaps I would think differently about it now (although doubtful, as Timekeepers still appeals to me today!)

Looking back, it seems that the government spent the money building the dome its self, but not a lot of thought went in to the exhibitions inside. They seemed a bit low-budget and cobbled together, even to me at 8 years old!

Either way, I’m glad I got to experience the Dome. The Body Zone certainly left its mark on me!


Thank you for reading!

Did you go to the London Millennium Dome Experience? let me know in the comments what you though of it!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrew Greenhalgh says:

    I was a 36 year old in 2000, but my impressions very much mirror your own. I went during the final month of the exhibition, and the place was relatively empty.
    I strolled around the body zone first and came out at the other end thinking I must have missed something, and so immediately went through it again. No there was nothing worth seeing. The final part was a serious of plastic brains, one wearing a fez and telling Tommy Cooper jokes, while the other brains laughed inanely. That summed up the entire exhibition for me. There were no crowds and no queues, but the smell you remembered was definitely still present.
    I don’t remember the Rest Zone as having music, more an atmospheric humming, or whale type noises. I spent 30 seconds in there, it was completely empty.
    Wasn’t the Education Zone built around a movie by David Putnam? Once the movie ended you could walk into the screen, where you were greeted by some type of amusement arcade.

    Luckily there was a Guinness and oyster bar. I needed the Guinness to help me negotiate through the endless array of immature exhibits. From an adult’s perspective, the whole thing was just very artificial and surprisingly boring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Matt says:

      😂 So weird.. That’s hilarious you had a similar experience, especially with the smell in the Body Zone!

      Like

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