I must have spent weeks of my life in the National Science Centre – Pusat Sains Negara – when my kids were little. It was cheap and cool, and there were enough buttons to press and space to run around to tire even the most energetic toddler.
Then the place was closed for renovation for years. After the reopening we have tried to visit on a few weekends but the crowds – judging by the cars parked far along the main road – have deterred us. We finally made it during the school holiday, and had the place to ourselves.
We have followed Pusat Sains Negara’s Facebook page fill with disappointed comments after reopening, so had an inkling of what to expect. Right from the entrance it was all very familiar, the same fish in the touch pool and the walk-through aquarium (is that a word?) greeted us.
What to expect at Pusat Sains Negara?
The entrance fees are still very reasonable: MYR6 for adults, MYR3 for kids and under sevens go free. The special exhibitions are charged separately, and with a MyKad you save a whopping MYR3.
The space rocket slide, ball shooting play structure and a fenced-off toddler play area are still there in the central area under the big dome.
There are three separate areas downstairs with exhibitions, the stations pretty much the same as before, but with a few new signboards and decoration. The kids were pleased to find their old favourites here!
This crane seems to be the favourite of most kids, with a queue quickly forming next to it.
Upstairs there are loads more permanent collection items, and the special exhibition, which at the moment is Survive the Bunker. It is meant to be about phobia, but to us it seemed more like a haunted house with dark corridors and zombies. Half of the kids backtracked at the sound of screaming coming from inside, and the other half ran through the rooms with their eyes closed. They did, however, want to go back for more so I guess are not suffering from these particular phobias. It is recommended for ages 7 and up. I for one take no pleasure in things horror, but imagine tweens would enjoy the detached arm moving on the floor and such.
The older boys enjoyed the flying simulation – naturally anything on a screen excites them – and the robot wars run by the staff.
The canteen at the back of the center still serves a simple buffet of Malaysian lunch, but we didn’t stop to try it.
The outside part looks also the same as before. The funky stairs lead to the bottom of the hill with a paddling pool/playground and some exercise equipment. The kids can get suitably wet in trying to cross the obstacle course over water – always fun. The water is a bit murky so wouldn’t probably recommend swimming here for the littlest ones.
On the way back we popped in the butterfly house, but most residents seemed to have fluttered away during the renovations. The subterranean adventure remains closed, as it has been as long as we remember.
During our visit to Pusat Sains Negara most – if not all – things worked but we found the explanations sometimes a bit difficult to follow. The kids had a blast but those who have been looking for a shiny, modern science park to be unveiled will be disappointed. Our kids are looking forward to the next visit, and for the price it is still a nice outing.