Having fun with science in Bandung

Having fun with science in Bandung
Galaxy corridor (L) and the Iron Man impression robot (R)

The Bandung Science Center at Jl. Sirnagalih No. 15 has a rather subtle entrance that is easy to miss unless you pay close attention or are intentionally looking for it.

I have passed the street many times, but it was the first time I noticed the cylinder-shaped building after searching for its location on Google Maps.

After purchasing entry tickets, which cost Rp 45,000 per person (S$4.50), a staffer handed us red bands to be used upon entry and returned when we left.

It was around 3 p.m. when I explored the place with my son and nephew and it was rather deserted.

As we descended the stairs into a corridor, we were greeted by planets hung on the ceiling and dark walls dotted with varied colors to imitate the sight of an outer space galaxy, immediately setting our mood for fun and adventure.

After crossing a hall named Earth Room, the walls of which have information panels on Earth and its flora and fauna, we entered a hall where three dimensional puzzles made of wood quickly grabbed my son's attention. He soon got busy assembling a wooden rocket and ancient Egypt hieroglyphs mounted on the wall.

Apparently the ancient Egypt writing means "Welcome to Bandung Science Center", as explained by an attendant, Eko Widiantoro, who showed up later and accompanied us.

In a darkened audio-visual room, we watched an interesting movie about the universe and learned how our galaxy is just a small dot in the Milky Way.

We later entered the Basic Physic Room, where the boys tried to sit and pull up a chair using chains designed to teach visitors about pulley and leverage. They also rode an aired-railway train miniature and proved whether the Van De Graff machine could really pull their hair up.

As we moved from one display to another, there was always something interesting and fun things to see, try and play.

According to Eko who graduated from a teaching school, the Bandung Science Center, although not widely popular, has been opened for almost a year.

"We target students from kindergarten to university as well as members of the public who are interested in science," said Eko.

He added that the place usually attracted more of a crowd on weekends and during holidays.

"School visits usually happen on weekdays. We have created attractive programs and regularly do roadshows to schools where we introduce our services and present exciting science experiments," said Eko.

The Bandung Science Center occupies a two-story building and is divided into 17 different display themes, including the Robotic Room, the Basic Physic Room, the Optical Illusion Room and, my son's favourite, a fun Laser Show Room that features dance music blaring from the sound system. The centre opens from Tuesday through Sunday until 5 p.m. and is closed every Monday.

 

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