Last week Ruben and I decided to visit the CosmoCaixa also known as the Museo de la Ciencia de Barcelona. It is a science museum like the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Both museums are known for their hands-on exhibits. There are both permanent exhibits and daily activities focused on children of different ages.
One difference is the entrance fee. The Exploratorium costs $14, whereas CosmoCaixa is 3 €. Since this is a social project or obra social of my bank, "la Caixa", I got a 50% discount as a customer. So 1.50 € each was a cheap entrance price for me and Ruben. And that included a FREE audioguide in English that “will allow you to discover the fascinating history of evolution.” So it’s not your Creation museum in Kentucky.
All the placards were in català, castellano, and English (the audioguide was available in these languages and Française as well.) Much of the museum focused on bilogy and discussed various facets of evolution and the importance of bio-diversity. (Some US visitors might consider the tone of the placards to be “left-wing” since the subject matter has been politicized.) The physics section was good too, with a segment covering musical instruments.
One of the highlights for me was the bosque inundado or flooded forest. This 1000 m2 exhibit recreates an Amazon jungle and has an extensive aquarium built in. So you start by watching the fish, including piranhas, reptiles like turtles and caimans, aquatic birds and so forth. Then you go through the jungle to see the tree roots and an ant farm before ending up at ground level inside a hot and humid jungle. It was like a giant terrarium.
It extends several floors below since it is on a steep hill.
Typically Spanish, there is outdoor seating for the cafeteria that was in use,
even at the end of December!
Both the CosmoCaixa and the Exploratorium are housed in interesting buildings. The CosmoCaixa building was a Modernisme work of Josep Domènech i Estapà and at the end of its first “life” used as a shelter for blind people. The Exploratorium is located in the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. It was designed by Bernard Maybeck, who took his inspiration from Roman and Greek architecture.
The “mad scientist”
I am trying to sap energy from a plasma ball.
Photo by Ruben.