Although in some of the less interactive areas, Shanghai’s mammoth Science and Technology Museum can feel a touch dated, in general it’s one of the best museums in the city and provides easily enough entertainment to fill an afternoon.
Immediately inside the second floor entrance, you’ll find the Animal World. The main exhibit in this section consists of a large, open room full of stuffed and model animals with a seeming emphasis on the predatory nature of the animal kingdom (growling, screeching attacks are found among each region’s display). Video screens, informative bi-lingual captions and binoculars are helpful touches and, aside from a pathetic attempt to portray Australasia’s animal world (which appears to be more of an animal hamlet here), the exhibition is generally well done.
Once through this first room, you’re offered a trek through the rainforests of Yunnan, complete with dozens of plastic trees, running waterfalls, rickety wooden bridges and some oversized insects. Dotted throughout is the occasional live specimen, but Animal World is very much dominated by models and taxidermy.
After this, things get much more interactive. Iin the east wing, the World of Robots offers the opportunity to compete against machines at Go and archery. On the next floor up, the Space Navigation area features a ‘tetraxon balancer’ where you’re strapped into a spherical machine and spun upside down at various angles. Around the corner is an opportunity to test the Coriolis effect by shooting balls at a target as you rotate in a giant, boat-like craft, while next door in the Human and Health area, you can take penalties against a computerised goalkeeper and ride through the human body in a piece of fruit car.
Skip the central Iwerks 4D cinema, which is a let down considering the extra 30RMB entry fee. Otherwise, this remains one of the best museums in the city.
Must-see The easily missed Light of Wisdom area, on the first floor, is like a big playground with all manner of fun games and ‘experiments’. Specially weighted bicycles that help you ‘dance on a rope’, games controlled by your concentration and exhibits for you to shoot at, hit and ride, make for an entertaining section.