A few months ago, it was the autumn school holidays and we did a couple of outings to places of interest in and around Switzerland. And seeing that there will be another school holiday in just 2 weeks, i thought it would be good to introduce people to one of the places we went to, which i found to be most interesting and would definitely be visiting again – the Technorama, Swiss Science Center.
Right from the word go, it was all hands-on, which is absolutely great for the kids & for me too (i am a tactile person, i love to be able to touch, do, experience it for myself.).
Here Tobias is having fun with the hands-on water fountain outside the centre as we waited for our friends to arrive:
Tobias is turning a hand wheel which then moves a gear which works a pump which brings the water up the pipe and then it pours down a water wheel. He learnt that a small action can do big things when the right gears and pumps are in place.
The center covers so much – almost every area of science is covered. There are rooms for sound, light/vision, magnetism/electricity, mathemagic, mechanics, perception, water/nature/chaos, toy trains, and even a Youth Laboratory.
We tried to cover as much as we could – we stayed the whole day, from about 11am till closing at 5pm (they open at 10am) and i think we only covered maybe half or a little over half of all the exhibits. It was also quite slow moving as the kids wanted to try their favourites again and again. But we had so much fun.
Here we are trying out the special light effects room:
We stood in front of some different coloured lights being projected from the ground and saw the effects on the wall opposite. i think they were not ordinary lights – not sure what they are – definitely need to go back and find out more.
Here we are at another light effects section:
This time it was ordinary light. This one showed how different coloured lights combined to form another colour. Sort of like the colour wheel.
There was also displays which allowed you to understand about static electricity, try out different mechanical setups, play with the pendulum effect, view the earth from space, learn about the effects of water.
Here we see the effects of water on dry ice:
We spent a whole lot of time here. Little bits of dry ice were transported on a little conveyor belt onto a slide which brings them gently in contact with the pool of water. Then they started to spin around wildly, like mini speed boats as the carbon dioxide inside them is released. Tobias kept wanting to watch this. He wasn’t the only one. There were a fair number of adults also mesmerised by this hypnotising experiment.
Of course there had to be a train room which house lovely toy trains. There were several large landscapes setup for the trains to run around in. The other fun thing was the bubble section where you could make, or at least try to make, giant bubbles 😉 We also got to make smoke signals and watch sand fall in lovely patterns.
My favourite section would be the puzzle section. They had set up tables with all sort of brain teaser puzzles. i was in puzzle heaven 😀
The Youth Laboratory was also a fascinating room. They had a couple of staff members who wondered around helping you understand what the experiment was about. There were experiments showing light refraction, comparing amount of light each material let in. We did not do all of them, some were just too hard for Tobias to understand or be interested in. The one which Tobias loved was the one which recorded an explosion and allowed you to play it back frame by frame and watch exactly what and how it happened.
As i said before, we only did a little over half the experiments, so we would definitely be going back. It is a most wonderful place to spend a rainy, gloomy day or any day for that matter. So if you live in Switzerland or come to visit and have curious kids, this is the place to go.
Oh i would advice going by public transport if you are going during school holidays, parking is fairly limited, unless you are the first ones there. It can be quite a walk.
PS: This is not advertising for Technorama. We have in no way benefited monetarily or otherwise in writing this. Simply want to share a place where kids can have great fun and learn at the same time.
EDIT: i forgot to mention that all explanations and instructions at each exhibit is nicely displayed on little wooded cards in 4 different languages – German, French, Italian and English. So there is no need to worry about not understand or not being able to explain anything to the kids.