Monday, July 08, 2013

Summer in Sharjah: Science Museum

Now that school is out and the semester is over and the girls are both over the weird fever-illness that's been going around, I've made a point of taking them to different indoor activities in Sharjah. These are hard to get to during the school/work year because of odd opening hours or traffic concerns, but with our schedules wide open these days, it's the perfect time to get reacquainted with what Sharjah has to offer.

Our first stop was the Sharjah Science Museum. Whether it's OMSI (Oregon) or the Children's Museum (Amman, Tucson, Portland) or the Sciencenter (Ithaca), everywhere does their science museums a little differently. The Sharjah Science Museum charges children (ages 4+) 5 dhs (about $1.30) and adults 10 dhs ($2.60) for admission. For that price, they could have two exhibits consisting of wooden blocks and an Etch-a-Sketch and it would pretty much already be worth the money.

But no! There is so much to see in the Science Museum, and they change it up every once in a while. There is a good spread of hands-on, interactive activities and they are varied enough in complexity that both my kids enjoy their time there. They have a real human brain preserved in fluid, and put-together-take-apart models of the human digestive system (including a hint of bum crack on the back which amused my children to no end), lots of neat x-rays to look at, optical illusions, a planetarium, fun exercises to test your audio/visual reaction speeds, a voice pitch-changer, a mini hot air balloon on a track, and a pendulum that leaves a sand trail. There is also a dedicated play area for children under the age of 4 stocked with play kitchens, books, and scoot-along toys.

On this most recent visit, they held a science demonstration in the auditorium. The topic was: liquid nitrogen. A scientist (? - I suppose he could have just been a random employee. But he WAS wearing a white jacket) talked about the properties of liquid nitrogen and then showed us what happened when he dipped different objects into a vat of it (rubber ball, rubber band, metal, a flower, a balloon, etc.). It was pretty cool. I think my public safety calibration is out of whack, though, because at one point during the demonstration, the scientist guy walked around the auditorium holding a beaker of liquid nitrogen for us all to feel the outside of (it was very cold). Part of me thought that was so cool to get to see/touch...and the other part of me was terrified that he would trip and spill the open beaker of liquid nitrogen all over some unfortunate kid.

Fortunately, we had a fantastic visit with no untoward incidents involving liquid nitrogen. Sharjah really does have great museums and it's nice to have a chance to visit them during these hot summer days.


Kathy Haynie said...

Kids love science museums. That is a great price! When we were visiting my daughter Katie in Ohio, her almost-4-year-old daughter kept asking to go to CMS (Columbus Museum of Science). Alas, it was not in the itinerary. They went after we left town, and our granddaughter is grinning ear to ear in the astronaut photo my daughter posted.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

If the dude wanted to show everyone the liquid nitro it would have been safer to invite everyone up to inspect while it sat safely in the work area.
Glad y'all are having summer (educational) fun! And double glad that I am recovered from my 5 month ordeal just in time for us to yuck it up when you come.


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