Saturday, June 07, 2008

Disappointed with the SM Science Discovery Center

There’s much hype about the SM Science Discovery Center these days. For a while I was excited to bring my daughter there because its ad said it’s the only high tech interactive museum in the country. We both love to go to museums and I, for one, am one who loves to bring my daughter to those places because I know it will benefit her. So, since it is only a few days till her classes start, I decided we needed to see it.

When we finally visited, I got a little disappointed. The fee is 330 pesos. It is rather expensive so I had expected much from it. I mean I didn’t really want to compare it to the Singapore Science Center or the Hong Kong Science Museum but for the price, it must be at par with those. But no… it does not even come close.

For one, the SM Science Center is just 2 storeys high with a floor area that’s not even as big as a single floor of the Hong Kong Science Museum. The ground floor of the Philippine National Museum is probably even bigger than the whole center. Not that the size affects the exhibit itself but you can’t put much in a birdhouse, can you? There were only a few themes because there wasn’t space to put additional ones in the first place. A little space equals a few themes equals minimal exhibits.

Another thing is that the tour guide was not so enthusiastic about the place nor was he able to talk much about the exhibits. He gave us info that we can read about in the exhibit. In fact, we were just halfway through the tour before we went to see the planetarium and were told that we’d meet up with the guide right after the show. Did we bother to show up again? Nahhhh… we’d rather have our Kopi Roti.

One good thing about the center is the planetarium. Still, with it, the price was expensive. The show, despite the fact that it came from the Museum of Natural History of the US and was hosted by no other than Harrison Ford, is just as good as the one from the now-closed Manila Planetarium.

One thing I particularly liked which my daughter and her friend enjoyed was the virtual sport where we got to play volleyball and basketball with a computer. There were a few other items which were good enough like the grossology game where 4 players can play against each other to test their knowledge on things that are gross in the body. I won, of course... against 3 elementary kids.

My friend Ruby and her daughter were with us too. Shobe liked the echo dome (a dome that produces an echo... hello?) and the the marine center where the virtual fish, Mr. T, was. Mr. T. tries to entertain and interact with his visitors, giving special attention to kids. She also liked sending herself a message into the future - something like a deferred post.

I hope the management can go see the other museums in Asia. I’m sure they’ll be able to pick up some things here and there to improve it to make it prove worthy of its name.

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