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Vagabond Kids: Kids in KL: Petrosains Science Center

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kids in KL: Petrosains Science Center

One of the greatest kids activities in Kuala Lumpur has to be the Petrosains Discovery Centre. Now one thing to keep in mind, as if it is not obviously noticeable by the first few exhibits, the center is run by the Malaysian oil company Petronas and is largely “oil” friendly. Many of the exhibits feature sciences that are petrochemical in nature, but ignoring the elephant in the room there are lots of fun activities for kids. Compare this with the Singapore Science Center.

Some of the highlights are the Dark Ride, when you first enter the center it is by way of a chair ride through a dark introduction. I am not quite sure why the kids thought it was so cool, but they did. Similar to the Singapore Science Center there are multiple exhibits and galleries with different themes. Again ignoring the bias towards the oil industry, there were exhibits on Geology, Space (a huge cool factor was the Mission Control and Space Center microphones and cameras where the kids could stand on opposite ends of the room and talk to each other) and of course the "speed" Gallery.

Another fun little exhibit was the Earthquake chair. The chair lets you experience what a low, medium and large earthquake would feel like. Frankly, the difference between level two and three was not as great as expected, but it could be they don’t want kids flying off the chair too!

Another fun exhibit was the "Ride the Hurricane". You step into a phone-booth type structure and when you close the doors the wind starts to increase and eventually simulated winds of over 100 Kilometers Per Hour. (see the Beaufort scale here). Okay, so I have a confession here. I can ride the craziest rides. Rollercoasters are nothing, but I didn't like the feeling of being in the winds, I felt I could not catch my breath. The kids (as you can see) loved it and we had to drag them out so others could take their turn!

But, the high point for the kids has to be the helicopter ride to the oil rig. There are two helicopter simulators set up that “fly” people over to an offshore oil rig (a great chance to tell kids about the devastation of the Gulf Oil spill). The oil platform is a miniature version of the real thing, pumps and levers, drills and pilings, even a crew quarters to see what life on a platform is like. Frankly, in some ways the pumps, gears, and tools are far more interesting to kids than the process of extracting oil so much of the pro-oil rhetoric was lost, at least on my kids.

The rest of the center is filled with standard science center stuff, but frankly it is pretty good. Overall the exhibits seem to be in good repair and the staff is friendly. The kids love it and they learn a bit each time they are there, so it is a win on all counts!

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At August 20, 2010 at 11:08 PM , Blogger Suzy Guese said...

Sounds like fun and I'm not a kid anymore ha


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