Friday, 15 July 2016

A First Visit to The Planetarium and Fun at Sci Bono

I gave my little ones the choice to pick a place for one last school break day trip and they both enthusiastically chose Sci Bono. We have been here before in November last year (read about our previous visit here) but they liked this visit as much as the last one, if not more. 

There were a couple of new things since our last visit. We got to watch an interactive show on how various parts of the body work. There was also a large new play area for 1 to 9 year old's which my little ones loved. Besides Lego etc to play with, this area has a lot of interactive science displays which are specifically pitched at a younger audience. A lot of the displays for older children are simplified and then there are some different ones too- like feeling different animal hides and identifying different smells blindfolded. (P.S. The Body Worlds Vital Exhibition is also on at Sci Bono at the moment. I went to this about five years ago and it is absolutely fascinating but I was not sure if it is age appropriate for my little ones.)

The other major highlight for my little ones was the Planetarium. Now, I had pictured a large auditorium like the big one at Wits University (which, while admittedly I have not been to in almost twenty years, I have very fond memories of). This one was much more simple and much more compact- in fact it was just a big dome tent with a projector. The R10 ticket price should have given this away but I guess I just thought it was really great value for money. Instead of cinema style seats like the Wits one, it is just an empty tent and you lie down on the foam floors and look up at the stars. The show is also quite short, less than half an hour, but with younger children I think that is ideal as their attention span does not last beyond that anyway.

My little ones enjoyed hearing about the solar system and space travel and I think Squish was almost lulled to sleep while gazing at breathtaking auroras, which the reclined floor position encouraged. Noodle seemed to absorb a lot of what she had heard and had many questions afterwards. This seems to be the start of a new fascination with astronomy. 

If you do decide on a trip to Sci-Bono, especially if you want to attend any of the shows, be sure to allocate a whole day to it. We arrived at 9h30 and by 15h45 I had to literally drag my little ones out of there as I knew we would get stuck in horrific CBD traffic if we left any later.