A day in the CosmoCaixa -Amazonas, Universe and Neanderthal, Oh-Barcelona

Barcelona has over 80 museums. Without a doubt, there is a lot to see and discover in all of them, but I am sure that none is as much fun as the CosmoCaixa. Here everyone from young to old can learn a lot about natural sciences, try out many things for themselves and even experience a tropical rain shower. The CosmoCaixa impresses not only with its range of information and activities, but also with its size and reasonable prices. Try it out is definitely not only something for children, but an experience for the whole family.

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The CosmoCaixa spreads over an area of 30,000 m², so there is enough space for exhibitions, planetarium, rainforest, lecture halls, shop, cafeteria or picnic areas.

But now off to the museum:

When you enter the building, you notice the large tree that stretches up to all floors. It is called the “tree of life” and was brought from Brazil to Barcelona when it was already dead. A spiral ramp around it leads to the exhibitions of the museum. The passage around the tree is impressive and gives an idea of the curiosities still waiting for us inside. Especially if one stands below the roots and looks upwards, one notices how small one is.

Once at the bottom, you enter a huge floor. You don’t even know where to start looking. First we decide for the trip through the Amazonas. A dark corridor leads past ant houses, colorful poisonous frogs, snakes and piranhas, which fortunately all live on the other side of the glass panes. A few steps up and you suddenly find yourself between tropical plants. Besides, it’s raining right now, like every 15 minutes.

On 1.000 m² a small part of the Amazon rainforest is recreated here. The big trees are made of plastic, which is not noticeable at all because of the interaction with the smaller real plants. The animals that cross your path are of course all real. Also the humidity, which is at a perceived 100%, the slightly musty smell and the background noise with birdsong and splashing give you the feeling that you are in the middle of the Amazon. Here you will find 13 tree, 58 plant and 36 animal species.

As we come out we arrive at small aquariums with colourful or curiously shaped sea creatures and on our left the geological wall stretches over us. Seven pieces of real stone, weighing 100 tons, give insights into the geological history and small experiments at the edge, which can be triggered by pressing a button, show how the rocks got to their appearance. Some of the boulders look like painted. It’s amazing what a variety of colours nature produces.

Another corner of the museum impressively shows how we humans have made use of forms from nature, such as snails or honeycombs. Have you ever thought about the similarity between a roll of toilet paper and a snail? In addition, the origin of civilized mankind is depicted. Furthermore there are physical experiments which show the effects of light, attraction etc..

One can create sandstorms by pressing buttons or experience the colours in which the light refracts by means of one’s own shadow. It is also interesting to try how your voice would sound if you were of the opposite sex or planet.

Those who are hungry in the meantime should take a break in the cafeteria. There you can get snacks and cold and hot drinks. There is also a restaurant. Those who prefer it a little more rustic can use the picnic place and eat the delicacies that they brought themselves.

After the refreshment you can visit the upper floor. Here is the temporary exhibition “Parlem de drogues” (Let’s talk about drugs). Besides the permanent installations of CosmoCaixa there are also temporary exhibitions. The current one deals with drugs and illustrates how drugs affect the psyche, the ability to react and the body. Another deals with the meaning of numbers in everyday life, another with Charles Darwin and just started one that deals with illusions in science (as of December 2009).

On the way back to the lower floor you pass the planetarium and Toca toca! The planetarium shows on a virtual journey through space the origin of the planets and you are virtually in the middle of the Big Bang. At Toca toca! you can experience the environment with all your senses. There are animals from different habitats, such as water, desert and forest, which you can also touch. So if you always wanted to stroke hairy spiders, supposedly slippery snakes or turtles, you’ve come to the right place. Both attractions can only be visited on weekends and holidays, as they are only available to school classes during the week.

Full of new impressions and with new knowledge you leave CosmoCaixa. An exciting day awaits you, which you should definitely include in your Barcelona to-do list, especially if you are travelling with children. Sharpen your senses and immerse yourself in science!

Enjoy your trip to CosmoCaixa!

CosmoCaixa Isaac Newton, 26 08022 Barcelona

Website (in English, Spanish and Catalan) Tel.: 93 212 60 50 Fax: 93 253 74 73 E-mail: [email protected]

How to get there: – Buses 17, 22 and 58 and line L7 of Ferrocarril to Av. Tibidabo à walk up the mountain and follow the signs “Museo de la ciencia” -> or continue by bus 196 and drive to the door -> or take the tramvia blue and walk the rest – Bus 75 stops near Av. Tibidabo -> from there see above – Buses 60 and 73 stop at the door of CosmoCaixa.

Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays 10 am to 8 pm (except on 25.12. and 01.01.) Toca toca! and Planetarium only on weekends and public holidays

Prices: Admission to museum: €3.00 (including temporary exhibitions) Children from 7 years, students, young people up to 16 years, extended families, groups: €2.00 Children up to 7 years, pensioners: free

Free entry every first Sunday of the month.

Supervised activities: 2,00 € Reduced (conditions see above): 1,50 € Discounts for customers of “la Caixa”.

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Christina Cherry
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