What were they thinking of, over 100 complex scientific exhibits and school children were clambering on them, twiddling buttons, playing at astronauts and generally wreaking havoc. Was it the end of the universe as we know it? Well not quite, just another lively hands on, interactive introduction to science at the Museum of Science and the Cosmos in La Laguna.
Getting involved is a key part of the museum’s agenda, it starts outside on the roof terrace where Wi Fi desks encourage on line research. Museums can be a bit bland but there is no chance of missing this one as a whopping great satellite dish, the tip of a radio telescope, hugs the roof and lurking in the background a silver pod is in fact an optical telescope. One Friday a month the museum holds astronomical sleepovers for up to 50 children and accompanying adults, perched on the rise into La Laguna it’s certainly a great vantage point.
If I wasn’t already in a scientific frame of mind, a peek down at the Santa Cruz tram below and at a plane above heading for Los Rodeos airport, certainly did the trick. With a gale blasting across the roof it was time to head inside and join the school party. After using my bono bus ticket to get a half price 1.50 entry I headed down the ramp to the large video wall that backs the open café area. It’s just vending machines for food and drink, I suppose a Mars or Milky Way would be appropriate.
The exhibits are laid out in open plan spread roughly around the circular building and organised into sections concerning the universe, the human body and the wonders of science and technology. One alcove covers observatories around the Canary Islands with a model of the Grantecan in La Palma, it’s the biggest telescope of its type in the world but politicians are currently bidding against other countries to add a new Super Telescope. I found the Teide observatory model interesting, a quick push of a button and details of all its telescopes were displayed in Spanish and English, as most exhibits are.
There are two big stars in this museum, I just missed the allotted time for the planetarium but have seen it before, it’s small and intimate but top quality with reclining seats that make you feel cupped in the hands of the solar system. My favourite is the Cosmic Tour, a chance to travel to other planets as if by magic with the help of 3D glasses and earphones. It’s very cheesey but great fun, maybe aimed at younger people than me but I defy you not to enjoy it. When I emerged from my space flight, the school party had gone and the museum was back to half a dozen of us rattling around, maybe the kids got abducted by aliens?
You can’t fault the museum for effort, they take their remit seriously, they often have special themed exhibitions and film shows followed by discussions with experts about science related matters in the films. Then there are the astronomy nights, guided group visits, birthday parties, touring exhibitions and even a Cosmos Van that does road shows, and a free email or text service will make sure that visitors can keep in touch long after they return to the outside world. It’s not the biggest museum you will find but it has lots going for it and will soak up a good couple of hours of your time.
- Museo de la Ciencia y EL Cosmos, Avenida de los Menceyes, La Laguna
- Tram stop – Museo de la Ciencia Y El Cosmos
- Tel (0034) 922315265, www.museosdetenerife.org
- Open, Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 7pm
- Entry, Adults, 3 euros, Children 1.50, pay with Bono bus ticket for 50% discount
- Planetarium, One euro extra, book on arrival.
- Special events, book in advance