Enormous not only in size, but also in educational fun, the China Science and Technology Museum will satisfy the thinker in children and adults alike. You can easily spend up an afternoon walking through four themed floors and nine different galleries. Once you’ve had your fill of the museum itself, check out the massive children’s play center Science Paradise. Containing countless hands-on exhibits and displays, the museum provides children with a healthy mix of information and entertainment that will leave them wanting to know more. Mind-boggling exhibits and topics on the third and fourth floors can even kindle the Einstein in parents as well. Perfect on cold and dreary winter’s day, the museum is a fun indoor haven for the whole family.
After emerging from the Olympic Green subway exit (Line 8), make your way northeast through the Olympic Green park towards the museum, a rectangular white building. The west entrance of the China Science and Technology Museum lies just off Datun Beilu. Purchase your tickets at the outdoor ticket booth or opt for the automated ticket machines (in Chinese only) once you enter through the main door. If you have young children, make note of the neon sign reading "Science Paradise" to your left, as you may want to return to this immense play center later.
The busiest gallery in the museum is The Glory of China (1). Check out ancient Chinese technological innovations, taking in the technology of looms, plows, iron casting and more. Kids can turn a life-size waterwheel and watch the powerful effects. While en route, admire the sailing ship commandeered by legendary Chinese admiral Zheng He. Take the small wooden set of stairs adjacent to the ship up to the traditional Chinese medicine exhibit. There, inspect models of diseased tongues and acupuncture charts. Head back down the stairs and keep looping around the circular path to discover the astronomy exhibit, where kids can gaze upon the stars. After fulfilling their astronomical aspirations, head to the age of ancient scientific exploration. Experiment with Pascal’s Triangle, Tangram puzzles, and blocks. Don’t spend too much time puzzling these conundrums though, as you have three more floors to scale.
On the second floor is Exploration and Discovery (2), where visitors are immediatelygreeted by the fossils of a long-necked Chuanjiesaurus. Refuel at the snack bar beyond the dinosaur, where you can purchase hot dogs (RMB 10), popcorn (RMB 10) and slushies (RMB 12). After a quick bite to eat, head to Gallery B and weave your way through an array of rooms that focus on human biology, nature, and the physics of sound. Test your five senses and feel your way through a pitch black hallway. Or opt to walk into a human cell and meet enlarged versions of mitochondria and Golgi complexes. The green- and brown-walledrooms have themes of mathematics with a variety of hands-on displays and activities that can capture the attention of young minds. Exit Gallery B for Gallery A. Step into the arcade-likeexhibition and learn about friction, light, movement, and electricity. With coordinationand teamwork, two people can send a ball through a complex series of tubes and obstacles. Take the elevator to the third floor of Sci-Tech and Life.
Begin your tour at the furthest entrance of the spacious Gallery C entitled, "The Way to Live." Learn about how to lessen your carbon footprint by conserving water and electricity. Stroll into neighboring Gallery B and learn about how daily household items such as Velcro,glass and zippers function. Contemplate otherpossibilities of man-generated energy while riding energy-producing bikes. Then, move on to Gallery A of The Way to Live (3) to learn the importance of a strong immune system. In another room, find out where your food and clothing come from and explore a greenhouse. Just a few paces away at Gallery D, children will love exploring rooms full of gears, motors and robots. They can also see the mechanics of water and air transportation. A popular attraction is the air traffic control center (open 9.30-11.30am, 1-4.20pm), where children can "direct" planes to land safely.
If "Challenges and the Future" doesn’t capture your child’s interest, consider skipping the fourth floor. The still displays of futuristic technology that will boost China’s industry and economy may seem relatively boring to young children after the action packed thrills below. However, it’s worth seeing an archetypal Mars Rover and a couple of simulations that allow children over 1.4m to experience walking on the moon or floating in space. These are located in Gallery B of Challenges and the Future (4).
If your kids still have energy, check out Science Paradise (5), the massive play center on the first floor. Tickets can be purchased outside the west entrance. Designed for children 3 to 10 years old, the center includes a main jungle gym playground surrounded by different science themed obstacle courses. Presentations located by the entrance about topics ranging from health to science are periodically given by museum staff.
After hours of fun and learning, fill hungry stomachs at one of the two restaurants, locateddownstairs by the west entrance. Jin Feng Restaurant offers basic Chinese cuisine or indulge your junk food craving at Big Pizza (6).
China Science and Technology Museum 中国科学技术馆
RMB 30 adults, RMB 20 students, free for children under 1.2m. Tue-Sun 9am-4.30pm, extended hours for special events. Tickets sold from 8.30am- 3.30pm. 1 Beisanhuan Zhonglu, Xicheng District (6237 1177 ext 3216) www.cstm.org.cn西城区北三环中路1号
Science Paradise play center 科学乐园
RMB 10 adults, RMB 20 children. Inside the West Gate of the museum. 在西门的术馆
Jin Feng Restaurant 金丰美食
Tue-Sun 11am-3.30pm. Basement of the museum (5904 1322) 在地下楼的术馆
Big Pizza 比格比萨
Daily 10.30am-9.30 pm. Basement of the museum (6389 9988) 在地下楼的术馆