“From the stars in the galaxies above to the dinosaurs beneath our feet and more right here at Science Centre, we want more people to come to the wild, wild west of Singapore,” said A/Prof Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of Science Centre Singapore, as he summed up the series of upcoming developments as well as his aspirations and hopes for Science Centre Singapore at a media luncheon on 10 February 2014.
With a new children’s science centre envisioned to be as famous as Sesame Street, a digital planetarium where you can get personal with the stars on a cellular level, a virtual aquarium therapeutic for special needs children, an enhanced Waterworks, interactive exhibits and much more, Science Centre Singapore will give the young plenty of new reasons to visit the 36-year-old Centre. Little Day Out shares the highlights to look out for in 2014 and beyond at Science Centre Singapore.
New Developments at Science Centre Singapore
First up is Kids STOPTM, Singapore’s first-of-its-kind edutainment science centre for children from 18 months to eight years old. Said A/Prof Lim, “We want the Kids STOPTM to be equivalent to Sesame Street and we expect it to go places, outside of Singapore.”
Construction of the 3,000 square metres facility is already underway at the Omni-theatre building and when officially opened on 5 June 2014, kids can basically tell parents to “STOP”, to let them be kids and imagine, experience, discover and dream through purposeful and interactive play. As Science Centre recognises that adults are also children at heart, Kids STOPTM will also be opened to all adults on some occasions and structures within are designed to carry the weight of adults.
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Scheduled to open by the first quarter of 2015 is a new Digital Planetarium at the revamped Omni-theatre. Visitors will be bathed in lights from outer space in an immersive environment where a navigation system will bring them closer to the planets. By going digital, documentaries as well as NASA’s latest images can be projected onto the dome as cellular, floating molecules. With special effects, the whole experience will be choreographed to enhance the beauty and wonder of science.
In the second half of 2014, a Virtual Aquarium will be opened at Science Centre Singapore. Creatures of the deep sea or an entire dinosaur land can be digitally created and you can literally get ‘fishes’ to swim up close to you. According to A/Prof Lim, studies have shown that such interaction has educational and therapeutic powers, and autistic children have opened up to learn better.
A 290 square-metre, first-of-its-kind vertigo climbing wall will appear on the outside of Snow City facing Jurong Town Hall Road by the end of March 2014. The wall, with 12 to 15 lanes of various difficulty levels, can accommodate up to 30 climbers. Built with systems used by Singapore Mountaineering Federation and the International Federation of Sport Climbing, this new development by Snow City is ideal for hosting local and regional competitions and is slated to be one of the venues for the 2014 National Schools Climbing Championships. A smaller section of the wall is also being set aside for younger preschoolers for enrichment purposes.
Upcoming Key Exhibitions
Human Body Experience
How about an inner body exhibition where you get to enter a person’s body through his mouth and exit the other way out? In the works is the Human Body Experience, a new two-year blockbuster exhibition complete with special effects, optical illusions and tactile sculptures. Experience getting ingested by a giant person, see blood cells floating around you, feel the grinding of the stomach and the squeezing of the intestines and much more. This joint effort with an Australian company previously featured the Australian Prime Minister. One wonders who will be the representative ‘body’ at Science Centre Singapore. Find out in June 2014.
The fiver-year-old Climate Change gallery is due for a makeover and will re-open in November 2014, in partnership with Meteorological Services Singapore and Climate Change Secretariat. With new content, it will help to create awareness of the real issues surrounding climate change.
When Waterworks first opened in Singapore 15 years ago, it was the first-of-its-kind. Now with water play areas a dime a dozen all over Singapore, Waterworks will be upgraded to include six new exhibits including Stepper Tunes and Water See-Saw. It is scheduled to open by June 2014, and made accessible to those visiting the new children’s science centre.
My First Lab & STaRKits
Launched in 2013, My First Lab learning kits on Magnetism and Electricity are now available at selected Popular bookstores and Kinokuniya. Scaled-down versions have been created for young learners, and STaR Kits (Science Teaching Resource Kits) include Holey Moley – a board game designed to help students learn the Mole Concept, Atomic Structure and Stoichiometry, and Friction – to teach students the effect of frictional force on the motion of objects.
New Initiatives and Events
I Love Science Centre and STEM INC
Other initiatives that have recently been launched include “I Love Science Centre”, a campaign to share funding needs, and STEM INC. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) where Science Centre steps into secondary schools through an informal and sustainable learning platform and share real-world applications.
Sex @ the Cellular Level
Science Centre Singapore will be stepping into the arts world with its first musical to be held in conjunction with the Science Festival in late July and August 2014. It will be engaging professional help with the songs and dances, and will be calling for auditions.
A/Prof Lim himself, who is a developmental biologist, is writing the script to reinforce the message that “everyone is born a champion, as we have all withstood several hazards to become you and I.” The musical will outline the amazing journey of how we overcame all odds to become who we are and demystify how babies came about. Of the three shows slated, one will be especially for families and children.
Alpine Microbrewery & Restaurant
The media luncheon was held at the newly opened Alpine Microbrewery & Restaurant located on the second level of Snow City and the media were given a special tour of the microbrewery situated on the third level. Snow City workshops are conducted at this friendly and cosy restaurant designed for great minds to meet. Get a great view of the lake around Japanese Garden from the open-air deck while you are there and have a great little day out!