Jul 2, 2012

Replace Your Passport: Blinded with science

Time for museuming

Sichuan Science covers the whole world
Chairman Mao overlooks Tianfu Square

☆ Side Quest: Sichuan Science and Technology Museum

Objective: Learn something, fools

The museum is set back from Tianfu Square, behind a giant statue of Chairman Mao. The day we visited, it was also behind a large construction site. But we’ve learned that construction sites are not necessarily off limits to civilians, and after traipsing right through, we found that the museum was open for business as usual.

The museum is mostly geared toward children, as most science museums are. But, I’ve never seen rides at a science museum before. Yes, that’s right, there were rides: In the Aviation and Spaceflight hall, there was a human gyroscope and a spaceflight simulator; In the Virtual World, you could play an arcade-style car racing game wherein your controller was an actual motorbike. Each of these extra special interactive experiences cost an extra 5-10 kuai.

Take a nap

A lot of the installations were closed for repairs, or just plain broken. On one floor, we caught a docent sleeping. Also, the rigor of each exhibition was wildly variable. The astronomy wing was just a bunch of old astronomical instruments, presented without much comment, while the mathematics wing actually engaged with the basics of calculus in a series of interactive installations. (Nerd alert: Maths was my favorite wing.)

But it was it was an amusing and somewhat educational way to spend the morning. And, our trip coincided with the day of China’s launch of Shenzhou-9, carrying Liu Yang — China’s first female astronaut. When we got home from the museum, we put on the English language CCTV channel to watch all the coverage. It’s a really exciting time to be in China!

The robot band at the Sichuan Science Museum

Click on the photo above for a slideshow from the Sichuan Science Museum.

Chengdu continues to provide good times …