ICT Engineering – Gediminas

Practical placement in Kolkata, India

Science City

Science City in Kolkata

“Welcome to my LABORATORY!”

If you would ask me, which is the best place in Kolkata, then this would be the answer. I spent 3 days, 3 weekends in a row, walking around this park, trying to experience and learn about everything as much as possible. This place made me envious of the childhood that the children of Kolkata have.

The amount of things to see and do in the park is incredible. I tried to read most of the printed material, tried some of the food and now I’m going to tell you what each section is about so that you could plan your visit in advance.

First and most important advice – get there early. The park is open 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM everyday, and around noon it’s already crowded. If you want to go to see any of the paid shows, this is the best time to get tickets, because everyone buys them in advance and they get sold out very fast.

So you’re approaching the park early and now you have to make a decision: should you enter the park by foot or by cable car. This is one of those rare places where foreigners are NOT charged extra, so if the lines for the cable car are short, I recommend you try it out, because the you’ll get pictures like these and the ones I used in the sections that follow:

Science City

“What entrance?”

Bird Cages

“Thunderdome.”

Space Odyssey and Dynamotion

“You must be new here…”

But if you decided to enter the park by foot, when you get past the ticket plaza, go to an Information booth and ask for a map:

Map of Science City

Map of Science City

For no particular reason let’s start moving along the map counter-clockwise, covering the buildings on the right side and then moving through the top and the going down the left side.

Evolution Park

Evolution Park building at Science City in Kolkata

Evolution Park

Here you’re sent to prehistoric times when over-sized lizards roamed the land. The whole environment is dark and sometimes you can hear a recording of a lady talking about the period of the room in which you’re in (unfortunately, not in English).

The dinosaurs are huge animatronic figures and you can hear the sounds of hydraulic pumps moving their heads and mouths, but I think for children it might sound like these creatures are breathing and it only adds up to their experience:

Giant Squid

Giant Squid

Dimetrodons

Dimetrodons

Scelidosorauses

Scelidosorauses

Spinosaurus

Spinosaurus

Velociraptor

Velociraptor

Tyrannosaurus

Tyrannosaurus

Glyptodons

Glyptodons

Desperate times

“Desperate times.”

Chuck Norris

“Chuck Norris.”

I can’t tell you anything about the Musical Fountain, because all the times I went there it wasn’t working, so next along the way we have:

Science Park

Science Park at Science City in Kolkata

Science Park

This has to be the best playground for children ever. Not only is a a maze, but it also has some engaging exhibits teaching children about the laws of of physics. Here I saw people having picnics when it was warm/sunny or cold/foggy and both times it seemed like everyone enjoyed being here:

Picnic at Science Park

“Told you the weather will be fine today.”

Science Park

As seen for Dynamotion

Inquisitive childlen

“Where are you from?”

Wireless communication

“Wireless communication.”

We move up to a place which is a part of Science City, but is not shown on the map:

Earth Exploration Hall in Science City

“Couldn’t have been marked better…”

Earth Exploration Hall

Earth Exploration Hall

Earth Exploration Hall

This is all about geography. It’s a great place to come when you’re studying this in school, because of the interactive presentations of each region.

In the center of the hall there is a globe and as you go along the walls of the room they describe the different regions of the globe – the first floor is for the southern hemisphere and the second floor is for the northern one.

If you want to read everything that is written on the walls and the computer screens, then you’ll have to sacrifice at least a couple of hours, but it is worth it, because the information is displayed in such innovative ways that it will make you wish you were back in school studying this:

India on the globe

India on the globe

Interactive presentation

Interactive presentation

Maori-Warrior

Maori-Warrior

Foucault Pendulum

Foucault Pendulum

Earth-quake

Earth-quake

Volcanoes

Volcanoes

Interactive presentation

Interactive presentation

Sundarbans

Sundarbans

Lithuania

Lithuania

Now if you’re back the same way and continue to move counter-clockwise, you will pass two rides. The first one is the Caterpillar, which was for children much much younger than me and, actually, at night, it looked quite creepy:

Caterpillar

“Just creepy.”

I did try the Gravity Coaster, which is also not marked on the map:

Gravity Coaster at Science City

“What is the gender of the person who made this map?”

For the price it was quite nice, but if your stomach is weak you probably should stay on the ground:

Gravity Coaster

“My forces control your journey.”

Before we move to the two most important buildings in the park, you should go and get something to eat in the nearby food court. Remember that after you decided what you want you have to go and get a receipt for from the cashiers booth and only then you can go directly to the cook. From personal experience, the veg. fried rice and veg. chow are quite tasty, but the chutney that goes with the South Indian foods here, is not very good:

Science City food court

Science City food court

While you’re eating, you can check out the nearby bird cages, although, they’re not very appetizing:

Bird cage in Science City

“Well, at least the cage looks nice.”

I hope your hunger is satisfied, because there’s lots to do and see in the next two buildings.

Dynamotion

Dynamotion building at Science City in Kolkata

Dynamotion

Physics, biology, illusions are the key words here. The first floor has many fascinating attractions letting you interactively explore certain laws of physics. The only thing that might bother you there is that a lot of the exhibits are broken or under maintenance, but for me it just adds to the communistic spirit of the place.

A kid trying trying out an exhibit in Dynamiton hall

“C’mon, you can do it!”

Tornado simulator in Dynamotion hall

“Whoosh!”

An aerodynamics exhibit in Dynamotion hall

“Aerodynamics.”

Walk-on piano at Dynamotion Hall

“If not for the children…”

Sound visualization in Dynamotion hall

“Yo, pick up the phone!”

The Butterfly Corner in Dynamotion hall

Only children allowed 😦

Also on the first floor is the Nano Laboratory where you can get a 30 minute lecture on the recent advancements in the field of nano and the only catch is that you be by the entrance of the lab at certain time. One good thing though, is that there are no lines for this room, so if you’ll be there on time, you’ll get in for sure:

Nano Show timing

“Just so you know when to come.”

Nano Show in Dynamotion hall

“Let the Nano begin.”

Your height in nanometers at Nano Lab

“A million nanometers, give or take.”

There is also a Science Show room, but that one is also intended for children and I don’t think it’s in English:

Science Show

“And that’s how you do Science.”

You can give it a try and tell me how it went, but for now let’s get to the top floor with an elevator.

When you reach the top and start to descend in the halls of Dynamotion, you’ll go through the Optical Illusions section. Some of these can be found on the Internet, but there are quite a few that I’ve never seen before. The size of each attraction and the variety are the things that make this section entertaining:

Hall of Illusions

“Oh boy…”

Which side is it spinning to?

“There is no spoon.”

The direction of arrows

“Which side is it?”

Floating circles

“Relax, they’re not really floating.”

Count the dots

“Zoom in and count the dots.”

The difference in color dissapears

“If you stare long enough…”

Now we reach the Powers of 10 section, which is almost like an old video on YouTube and the “Zoom Table” at the INFOCOM fair in Kolkata.

Here, each section is described more broadly then on the table and you can take your time an each. If you’ve never seen this before, then this might be very thought-provoking to you as it gives you the idea of how small we really are, but if you, like me, have seen this before, you will not be amazed:

Zooming out

Zooming out

100 meters away

100 meters away

1 kilometer away

1 kilometer away

The last section in these halls of knowledge is the Aquarium. I’m not a big fan of fish, but they had some that I really wanted to see in real life and under safe conditions, so I was happy to take my time with this:

Aquarium hall entrance

“I bet they have fish.”

A flock of Mono Angels

Mono Angels

Veil Tail Goldfish

Veil Tail Goldfish

A school of Featherbacks

Featherback

Oscars

“Lookin’ for trouble?”

Piranhha

“Give us a kiss.”

BOOM! We’re done with the Dynamotion building. Wipe of your sweat, unfold your sleeves and let’s get into the next one.

Space Odyssey

Space Odyssey building at Science City in Kolkata

Space Odyssey

Just when you enter you might notice a big sphere like screen which let’s you check out different planets and information about them:

Information about Mercury

“It’s like you’re in front of Mercury.”

On the walls there’s information about India’s space program and some factual information about attempts to reach space. Here, most people like to take a picture with this:

Rocket

“1 ticket to Space, please.”

Along the way to the Space Theater (not much to do with cosmos) you will see information about each planet in the solar system. Again this is a cool place to go to when you’re studying the subject, because the information is written in a way that makes it easy to read:

A child in the Space Odyssey hall

“Children love clicking random buttons on the monitors.”

If you go back a bit you’ll see the entrance to the room of Mirror Magic. This is something you might see in your town if a moving theme park decides to visit your city. Probably the best part in this one is the mirror labyrinth, but I have pictures of that, because I would be in them.

Mirror Magic entrance

“If you don’t get Magic, ask for a refund.”

A head on plate

“Relax, it’s just an illusion. India is not THAT creepy.”

People in the Mirror Magic room

“Some people really like to look at themselves.”

If you go all the way through this room, you’ll be able to go up to the second floor where you can find some inspiring quotes and a couple of exhibits:

Time

“The most intelligent species on the planet…”

Now with that out the way, we can go over all of the shows that this building has to offer. Keep in mind that it’s best to buy tickets for these as early as possible in the morning, because the number of seats and shows is limited.

Time machine
The man behind the Time-machine

“The man behind the Time-machine.”

It’s a big ride with seats and huge screen in the front to make you feel like you’re moving somewhere. It did have a Sci-Fi aspect to it, but I didn’t notice the time-travel part. It’s cheap, and lasts for about 10 minutes. I would recommend going only if you’ve never been on a ride like this before.

3D Show
Entrance to the 3D Show

“That feeling when the door is finally open for you…”

For this one, even if you buy a ticket early, you’ll have to wait in a line like this:

Entrance to the 3D Show

“A patience challenge.”

The show lasts around 20 minutes and is about exploring the rivers of Africa. I expected a space travel video, but still the parts where the elephants extend their trunk towards you were fun to see in 3D.

Space Theater
Inside the Space Theater

“Unfortunately, no snacks allowed.”

Don’t let the word “space” confuse you. The screen was colossal, the movie was around 30 minutes and was about cave exploration in the mountains, under water and in ice caps. If that didn’t caught your attention than this last bit of info will – it’s narrated by non-other, but Liam (freakin’) Neeson. I didn’t notice this part on the poster, but when I heard the voice and saw the name on the screen, I observed and listened with with my mouth open.

Now, if you’ll walk though the hall connecting the two buildings, you’ll be able to see we walk a big boat-like building:

Maritime Center

Maritime Center building at Science City in Kolkata

Maritime Center

This place is about ships, and trade history between Europe and India, It has a lot of information about ships used in different periods of human history. The most spectacular parts were the huge model ships and some of the texts were very amusing:

First floor of Maritime Center

“Not the most popular exhibit.”

Voyage of Columbus

“I’m Giving Her All She’s Got Captain!”

About Columbus and Vasco-de-Gama

“Vasco’ sounds like a very fun guy.”

Viking ships

“A section about medieval Scandinavians.”

A Spanish Armada ship

“No wonder they lost the battle.”

Second floor of Maritime Center

“I don’t think people know about the 2nd floor.”

Now you might think that after this building there’s nothing left to see, but there is actually one more place and a couple of rides.

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden

Maybe it’s empty because of the season, but it still looks a bit depressing. You’ll see people coming closer to see what’s inside and leaving somewhat disappointed (I think some of them go to pee behind this building). But did you notice the red rail thing going around it? Yup, that’s ride.

Going further down the road along the Butterfly Garden you’ll see the Mono Rail ride. It is best to go on it with a friend, because it’s rather awkward to cycle alone in a dual-cycle ride:

Mono Rail ride in Science City

“Awkward, but manageable.”

And now, if you continue even further down, nearing the entrance, you’ll see long lines of people waiting to get aboard the Toy Train. I thought it will be nice to have a recap of all the places I’ve been in, but I wouldn’t recommend going on this ride and I’ll give you some reasons. First of all, the lines are always long and the ride last around 15 minutes, with some time spent in the parking lots behind the park. Furthermore, the seats are not designed for adults as you need to have very small feet to sit comfortably:

Toy Train ride at Science City

“Look at all those people still standing in line.”

But this ride didn’t ruin the Science City experience as I have mostly good memories of all the halls and the exhibits in this wonderful park in Kolkata:

Science City

*nostalgic sigh*

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