Shanghai has more than 150 so-called science education bases around the city including museums, parks and activity centers. Many of the venues are free although some charge an inexpensive entry fee. Here are 10 museums with unique features. They combine knowledge with fun activities to enhance the learning experience.
Reason for visit: As the biggest science and technology museum in Shanghai, the facility provides numerous interesting interactive exhibits. Visitors can learn about science and try some modern machines.
Tips for visitors: The museum is so big that it’s almost impossible to see everything in one day. The four floors include an IMAX cinema, a restaurant and 4D cinema. Visitors can take Metro Line 2 and get off at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum Station. There is also a parking lot at the intersection of Dingxiang Road and Century Avenue.
Address: 2000 Century Ave
Opening hours: 9am-5:15pm, Tuesday to Sunday
Admission: 60 yuan (US$9.66) per adult, 30 yuan per student
Reason for visit: The exhibition center uses technology to display the achievements of Shanghai in urban construction since the late 1970s. Its 1:500 scale model of the city is said to be the biggest professionally done city model in the world. It shows more than 110 square kilometers of the city in a 600-square-meter model with high-tech audio and lighting equipment.
Tips for visitors: Check out the “The Amazing Tour of Shanghai.” Take a trip in the “time tunnel” to witness the great changes and achievements of Shanghai’s development on a 360-degree big screen.
Reason for visit: This is the first museum in the country to specialize in displaying living insects although there also are other animals. It is divided into various zones including Butterfly Valley, Insect Corridor, Reptile Zone, Special Pet Zone, Rainforest, Animal Theater and a Model Making Area. Every display zone uses high-tech methods to provide information about the habits of various species.
Tips for visitors: Visitors can make models of insects and animals in the Model Making Area. The Scientific Entertainment Zone has games.
Address: 1 Fenghe Rd
Opening hours: 9am-5pm, Monday to Thursday; 9am-5:30pm, Friday to Sunday
Reason for visit: The museum is divided into Globe Hall, Mines and Rocks Hall, Geological Structure Hall, Paleontological Hall, Gemstone Hall, Geological and Topographical Hall, Territorial Resources Hall and Rare Rock Hall. It reveals many secrets of our planet. There are many samples of minerals, rocks and fossils so visitors can learn the planet’s history.
Tips for visitors: The museum is also called “Gem City” since its collection includes many gemstones.
Reason for visit: Minhang Museum was established in 2003 by the district government. It features two main exhibits — the Ancient Maqiao Culture Exhibition and the Chinese National Musical Instruments Exhibition. The Maqiao exhibition shows how people lived in this area around 4,000 years ago. More than 200 relics including stoneware, pottery and bone artifacts are on display. The other exhibition features more than 300 musical instruments.
Tips for visitors: It’s on the fifth floor of the Xinzhuang Station on Metro Line 1.
Reason for visit: This museum has a collection of more than 5,000 eyeglasses with some dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Learn about the history of glasses and eye health. Displays explain how people’s eyes and glasses work, how glasses are made and the history of famous brands.
Tips for visitors: Two fictional cartoon characters act as guides, making the tour more interesting with their humorous debates.
Address: 533 Baochang Rd
Opening hours: 9am-11am, 2pm-4pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
Reason for visit: The research institute was established in 1989. It’s the only center in China on polar research and logistics support, providing technical support to Chinese polar scientists. Its research focuses mainly on the influence of global climate change on polar ice, the ecological environment of polar regions, the ocean environment and mineral resources. It displays meteorites, ice samples and low-temperature organisms collected by Chinese scientists from the polar regions.
Tips for visitors: Visitors can learn about the geography of polar regions and China’s exploration via videos and pictures. You can also find detailed information of China’s Xuelong icebreaker, which was temporarily trapped in the ice near Antarctica last year after it rescued 52 passengers from a trapped Russian vessel.
Address: 451 Jinqiao Rd
Opening hours: 9am-4pm, Saturday for individual visit; Tuesday to Friday for group visit
Reason for visit: The center opened in 1989 and has been listed as a National Science Education Base since 1999. Visitors can gaze upon a DC-8 jetliner, helicopters, fighter jets, training aircraft, missiles and large models of the CZ-2 rocket and Shenzhou-5 spacecraft. The indoor exhibition hall details the history of the global aerospace industry, including information on artificial satellites, air weapons, aerial life-saving devices and lab facilities. The center also has a 3D video room and an aircraft model-making classroom.
Tips for visitors: Visitors can watch the 3D movies or learn how to make model airplanes.