In the original text of the previous article on SM Mall of Asia, we mentioned something about not going back to the SM Mall of Asia again, ever. It has something to do with being lost in a huge place, the chaotic parking area and the fact that the Mall of Asia, or oftentimes called MOA, had just opened. I came back to the MOA many times since then, I must confess, and each visit has its pleasant surprises.
Take the system of parking, for instance. I noticed some months back that a helpful innovation was introduced at the Mall of Asia. Look at the photos below. See the rows of red lights above the cars?
Red light means that parking slot is occupied. Green light means it’s up for grabs. The coding is really simple (although the system/sensors behind it is certainly far from simple). No need to go round and round the place to look for a vacant space. Just look at the lights above and you can see a green light, even at the farthest corner, as soon as you enter the parking area. Simply brilliant!
But we didn’t go to the MOA to see the parking area. We were there to bring our kid to the Science Discovery Center.
The Science Discovery Center is near the South Parking (if you’re facing the MOA from EDSA, it’s the left-most wing). This may be seem a useless trivia, but it’s something I wish I should have known. We parked at the North Parking — at the other end of the world, er, MOA — and we had to walk the entire length of the mall. We didn’t know where the Science Discovery Center is located, took our chances, and voila, instant exercise. Had I known, we could have parked at the South Parking building.
Anyway, at the heart of the Science Discovery Center is the planetarium, a big color-changing dome which seems to be without purpose at first glance (the green blob above; the blue sphere at the right photo). It’s like a movie house, except that you watch the show projected on the ceiling. It’s a bit disorienting but fun for the kids. There are a number of shows, in fixed schedules, to choose from.
Kids (and adults) could enjoy the interactive displays located around the dome. There’s the Gravitram (which most probably illustrates the effect of gravity, through the graceful twists of steel balls through a labyrinth of steel rails; photo below-right) and the Grossology center (which graphically illustrates the sights and sounds of bodily functions, including an interactive quiz show on “gross” things).
Robotics is clearly represented here. There’s a robotic arm, which neatly stacks a set of cube pieces, which are then “destroyed” through a simulation of earthquake (there’s another display which allows you to stand on the platform that simulates an earthquake). There are displays of robots that were popularized in cartoons and movies, although children may not be able to recognize many of them. They’re probably popular among the older generation (I was told, ahem, that the robots in the photo below are Astroboy and the Terminator).
Among the interactive games is the set of color-coded robo-cars, controlled separately by the players from the outside of the big glass case (see left photo, above). There are, of course, other areas to explore. We’ll leave them out for others to discover.
I forgot, and this is no rocket science, that this is a science center. I was expecting to see a Filipiniana section, just like in the Museong Pambata (note that Museong Pambata also has a science section). Kids would equally enjoy the Discovery Science Center and the Museong Pambata, although you’ll definitely spend more at the Science Discovery Center, both in terms of the entrance fee (P350, which includes a show at the planetarium) and the “incidental” expenses. It is, after all, found inside a mall (ok, you’re probably correct that kids will better enjoy it here). [For map and directions, go here]