In the UK, it’s February half term for the kids, so as we’re back here in Kuala Lumpur we thought we’d take the kids somewhere really fun. Rosie wasn’t sure if the Petrosains Discovery Centre sounded like her idea of ‘fun’ but grudgingly came along anyway…
The discovery centre is a science museum based on the fourth floor of the KLCC shopping centre – a large mall based in the Petronas twin towers. It’s easy to find and we arrived via the LRT underground rail system.
A ticket for our family of four cost 50RM (£10) and was worth every penny – we stayed for 5-hours!
On entering the discovery centre, you first board a ‘dark ride’, which is a little train-like pod that travels in darkness through a virtual rainforest, with audio-visual explanations about the natural environment and what Malaysia has to offer the world. It was an interesting and atmospheric way to start the journey and the kids were very excited.
We then entered the first section of the discovery centre which explored different forms of energy. The kids had great fun here- the first thing they experienced were the forces of a cyclone, by standing in a cubicle and feeling the power of 120km/ph gusting winds! This was to demonstrate the forces involved in the cyclones present on the surface of planet Jupiter.
Next we moved on to the theme of ‘Space’. We enjoyed watching some educational videos from the International Space Station, where astronauts demonstrated how they do basic daily living tasks, such as tooth brushing, making a sandwich and going to bed – all in an environment with no gravity! I was dying to know how they go to the toilet, but they didn’t demonstrate this information on this occasion….
Rosie enjoyed learning space facts, whilst riding an exercise bike! Astronauts regularly perform exercises whilst carrying out administrative tasks, to keep their bones strong.
Aaron liked programming the moon buggy to travel across the surface of Mars and we all had fun taking selfies and projecting our image into the floating spacesuit above us…
Every few months, there is a ‘theme’ of special interest at the Discovery Centre, around which they base lots of additional talks, experiments and explorations. The current theme is ‘Discovery Detectives: Unravelling Mysteries through Science’. Throughout the centre, there are discovery stations where you get to do additional experiments with a member of staff explaining a process.
The first we encountered looked at bones and body parts. We had to try and identify some ‘mystery’ human organs by placing our hands into sealed boxes and guessing what they were by touch alone. This was fun because we encountered lots of unexpected slime! Yuck!
We also examined evidence of a murder scene, looking at blood splatter patterns to guess what implements may have been used to cause injury to the victim.
At another discovery station, we looked in detail at Malaysian bank-notes, to look at how counterfeit money can be identified.
Ruben then volunteered to take part in helping with a science show, which was based around how the digestive system works. He had to mash up some food, adding different ingredients to represent the digestive enzymes, showing how the food is broken down as it passes through the digestive process.
The presenter then discussed how some people smuggle illegal substances in their bodies and how the authorities deal with this situation (!). This was a bit of a bizarre turn of events (although educational!) and I don’t think the kids will forget this lesson in hurry! I’m also hoping they don’t feel too nervous next time we travel through an airport and are ‘patted down’ or sniffed by the drug dogs…!
To see what happened next, you have to watch the video below: (Check out Ruben’s slightly bemused, not-so-thrilled facial expressions coupled with the enthusiasm of the presenter…)
Once Ruben had recovered from his drugs ordeal, we moved on to his favourite section of the centre: looking at forces and reactions. This was based around racing drivers and how they need to have quick reactions and be fit and strong enough to drive when faced with the incredible forces of driving at such fast speeds. Rosie and I enjoyed doing the reaction test, the boys loved the racing car driving simulator and we ALL had fun competing to see who had the power to control a magnetised ball in a race, using just brain-waves…!
In the final section of the centre, looking at how arts and music can be linked by scientific processes, we watched a 3-D movie and made a really cool tune using electronic synthesisers!
We had such a great time at the Discovery Centre. In fact, the kids enjoyed it so much, they want to go back again before we leave KL next week!
If after reading this, you’re planning a visit, the only additional tip we’d give is to suggest you wear warm clothes: the air-con in the centre is very welcome, but a bit on the arctic side! If you’re dressed to enjoy the warm weather outside, you will end up freezing after a few hours inside! 🙂