I would have never gone to the Science and Technology Museum on my own: the name doesn’t sound very appealing. It sounds very grown-up and dry and, well, boring. With a kid in tow, I just don’t have time for that. Fortunately, I have a friend who has been in Shanghai much longer than I have and, apparently is much wiser than I am because she had already discovered the awesomeness of SSTM (Shanghai Science and Technology Museum).
SSTM could easily be re-named, “Children’s Discovery and Wonder Museum.” It is a huge building (1,000,000m2 by last count) that is packed with fun things for kids and their families to do and see. There are many exhibits to see, including the Animal Kingdom, World of Robots, a ride through the digestive system, and many more.
There are parts in most of the exhibits that are interactive. For example, in the World of Robots you can have your picture drawn by a robot. In the Light of Wisdom area you can experiment with electricity and gravity. There are also parts in each exhibit that have an hourly show. In the earth exploration area, if you make it on time, you can see a volcano erupt or experience an earthquake in the earthquake room.
One of the great things about the museum is that it is so big that you will always be discovering new things. We had been going to the museum weekly for over six months before we discovered that there was a lower level to the earth exploration area. With a small toddler who still takes afternoon naps, there is no way to see everything in one day, which makes it easy to see something new – and exciting – every time.
One of our favorite places in the museum is the Children’s Discovery area. We usually end our visits by playing here for a good 45 minutes. I don’t want to say too much about this area at the moment because it is under renovation and I have no idea what it will look like when they are finished. Suffice it to say, we can’t wait!
If all of the above isn’t enough entertainment for you, the museum does have multiple IMAX screens and is always showing at least four different shows on any given date. However, the IMAX shows are not included in the price of the ticket.
What makes this such a great “frugal find” is the price of a year-long membership. For a mere RMB 450, a family of two adults and one child can visit the museum an unlimited number of times in one year. That translates into USD 65 for an entire year of membership! Our family averages a visit about once a week which means that we are paying an average entrance fee of USD 1.25 per visit!
SSTM is one of the things that makes the city of Shanghai livable when you have an active toddler, especially on days when it is too hot or too cold to play outside (and let’s face it, in Shanghai there are plenty such days). SSTM is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00am – 5:15pm. You can get there directly from Metro Line 2 (Shanghai Science and Technology Museum stop). For more information, they have a great new website – http://www.sstm.org.cn/kjg_Web/html/kjg_english/portal/index/index.htm