Unconventional Interactions: Moscow’s Kid-Friendly Experimentanium
John Seckel, Director of MIR’s affiliated Moscow office, is an American expat who has lived and worked in Moscow for quite a few years. Recently he and his staff visited an unusual place – he doesn’t want to use the word “museum.”
In case you thought that Moscow only offers churches, galleries, and other places of interest to adults, I have proof that this is really not the case. You can be a kid again at one of Moscow’s newest and most fun museums. It’s called the ExperimentaNium. Yes, that’s correct – “n” instead of “r”. (That name with an “r” is already taken by another cool place in Copenhagen. Copyright laws in action.)
So, just what is this Experimentanium? Their site says that it is a museum with interactive exhibits covering the main fields of science. I would put the stress here on the word interactive. Travelers might say, “Oh no – not another museum.” I don’t think I would use the word museum at all. This building – and you can’t miss it because of its unique outer design – is better described as a “creativity center for learning about the world around you.”
OK, why did I have such a great time at this place? In every hall there are exhibits that you can and should interact with. Meaning – touch, pull, yell, listen, push, keep your balance, float and let yourself be tricked by optical illusions. At every single exhibit there is something that can be done, something to be thought about, something to be learned. If you don’t catch on right away to your task, there are hints to tell you what to do and what you should see – and more importantly, why. Careful in the maze of mirrors – you might find yourself walking into your reflection…as I did.
For those of you wishing to let off a little steam, try yelling to see how many light bulbs you can turn on with your voice. Usually my interaction with magnets is limited to the ones of cities plastered all over my refrigerator at home. Here I found a new appreciation for the strength of a magnet and had some fun with a few that just kept sticking together.
Whether your thing is solving a puzzle in the hall of brain-twisters, or bringing a boat through canals in the water hall, or pulling some strings to see how a huge floor clock ticks in the hall of mechanics, or tapping different objects to see if they carry a current in the electricity hall, or listening to the tubes of an organ in the acoustics hall, or trying to find your own hand in a box in the hall of optics, or battling with magnets in the hall of electromagnetism – there is really something here for everyone.
I agree that there are some sites you must see when you come to Moscow, such as the Kremlin, Novodevichy Monastery and the Tretyakov Gallery. But if your schedule permits (about an hour and half should be enough), and you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, the Experimentanium will get your blood pumping. Let’s not forget about your kids, by the way. They might want to visit as well.
Whatever your age, have fun – and be careful in the bubble room!
MIR has over 25 years of Russian travel planning, providing locals-only access to one-of-a-kind experiences. You can include a visit to the Experimentanium on a custom private journey or add a custom pre- or post-trip to your Russia small group tour.
(Top photo: Moscow staffers visiting the Experimentanium try their hands at one of the interactive exhibits. Photo credit: John Seckel)
PUBLISHED: February 24, 2015