For me, being a parent has come with its fair share of woes and frustrations. But, it has to be said, one of the truly brilliant things about parenthood is that it affords you the chance to play and be quite silly. Remember all those things you gave up doing as a teenager because they were decidedly uncool, like jumping on bouncy castles, riding on the carousel and watching Sesame Street? Well, you get to do them all again!
It’s not that they’ve magically become cool again, but somehow going through child birth, sleep deprivation and the other ‘joys of parenting’, has earned you the right to be as embarrassingly uncool and silly as you wish. Now, our son is only 2, so he is still a little young to be ashamed of his parents’ behaviour, but we like to think we’re in training for when he reaches 13 – and so it was in this spirit we set off on our family field trip to the new Move and Play! Exhibition at the Hong Kong Science Museum.
The idea behind the exhibition is to encourage you to think about how amazing your body is by trying out the 20 or so exhibits designed to challenge your balance, co-ordination, strength and reflexes. Not being one of life’s natural athletes, I didn’t partake in all the exhibits (my body isn’t that amazing and there was no way I was going to be hit in the face by that mechanical skipping rope!), but between me, my husband and my toddler, we did give most of a it a good go.
Although the science was beyond him, our son was delighted by the tight-rope walking and the opportunity to throw bean bags around and, with the help of a big kid, pilot a sailboat. I, on the other hand, was very happy playing the huge version of the classic 80s Atari tennis game, while my husband was having way too much fun seeing how fast he could kick a football (sadly, I expect he would still be there now had not a queue of forlorn children formed behind him… ). Perhaps the best bit of all was the watching all the dads, brows furrowed deep in concentration, trying a little bit too hard on the football goalkeeper game.
Ah yes – hurray for kids – and the fact that they give us a perfect excuse to make ourselves a little ridiculous from time to time!
A truly perfectly timed exhibition – as the humidity and rainfall rises, this is a great place to enjoy the air conditioning while letting your children burn some energy, and learn a thing or two about science! Although the exhibition isn’t colossal, it’s definitely big enough for you to spend an hour or so there, and if you’re in need of a little more entertainment, your $30 ticket gives you access to the Permanent Exhibition too. Serious bargain. Haven’t got your money’s worth? Well, you can also check out their programme of extension activities.
The exhibition is a massive winner, I would say, for primary school-aged kids, and I think even secondary students would get a kick (pardon the pun) from it; but my toddler found it a little overwhelming at times, and on balance, I would say that he had more fun upstairs in the children’s gallery in the Permanent Exhibition. Although, if you are stuck for something to do on a rainy day with your little one, I would say that it’s still worth a visit!
Oh, and if you’re looking to limit screen time, this might not be for you, as many of the games revolve around videogame graphics.
Need to know before you go
I would advise against wearing high heels or short skirts –comfortable and casual are the order of the day!
If you are hungry
As you are in the middle of TST, there are heaps of restaurants to choose from. We headed back over to Ocean Terminal along the harbour front to Pizza Express, knowing we’d be on safe ground with the kids menu, booster chairs and stickers (although somewhat strangely they don’t really do kids plates or cutlery, so you might want to bring your own). With our window seat giving our little boy the opportunity for a bit of boat watching too, we actually came close to having a fairly unhurried lunch before catching the Star Ferry home. Other child-friendly options in the area are Fat Angelo’s or you could stop by the Charlie Brown Café, which we’ve previously reviewed here. If you are after something a bit more grown-up, you might want to consider checking out Brick Lane (which also has high chairs) but it’s best to arrive not long after midday if you want to guarantee yourself a table.
Move and Play!
Where: Hong Kong Science Museum, 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon
When: 10am-7pm weekdays, 10am-9pm weekends and public holidays, closed Thursdays (except public holidays).
Exhibition period: 20 June – 29 October, 2014
How much: $30 admission price, free for kids under 4 years old
Click here for information on how to get there.