Sunday, January 20, 2013

Space... the final frontier || Star Trek (The Exhibition) at Pusat Sains Negara

A last minute trip to KL became the catalyst for an impromptu excursion to Pusat Sains Negara. The radio had been heralding the great Star Trek Exhibition for weeks now, and I was sure that the kids would enjoy it especially given their fascination with anything space related. Of course, they had no idea what Star Trek was, I gave them the basic summary in the car on the way over. People. Spaceship. Lost. Cannot get home. Aliens. The End. 

Dinner conversation

My parents were also excited about the trip. Although, I would not classify them as Trekkies, suffice to say, they knew of the show. In fact, initially my dad passed on the trip because he had a mountain of student papers to mark but upon hearing that the exhibition was about Star Trek, he promptly decided to tag along.

We were quite relieved to see that there were not many people around, quite a different scene from the last time we were there for Dinosaurs Alive! and after catching the short but interesting Science Demonstration we finally managed to shepherd the kids up to the exhibition gallery (no easy task, given that PSN has so many interesting exhibits and games everywhere). I was prepared to journey where no man had gone before as continuously promised by Captain Kirk.

Cool morphing picture of us in the transporter "Beam us up Scotty"
Souvenir photos

The exhibit itself in a nutshell, was a bit of an anti climax. There were 3 stations where we could take souvenir photos (Captain Kirk's chair, the bridge and the transporter) but personal (read: iPhone) photos were strictly of limits. This is standard procedure, I guess, and necessary to generate the lucrative mementos photo market but it was a shame as it would have been nice to take pictures of some of the displays especially the big replica of the Starship Enterprise. Secondly, most of the exhibits were strictly  only for viewing, there was minimal interactive elements. Most were just replicas of costumes, movie posters, and a timeline of the entire Star Trek franchisee, including the not so famous reboots. There was far too much reading of fine print involved, not that much fun for young kids. Although, I have to say, the kids still enjoyed looking at all the strange props. The adults, however, were underwhelmed. 

I guess I expected stars, galaxies, planets, spaceships, aliens, anything that could make the experience feel like we were in deep space. I wanted to be blown away with spectacular visually stimulating displays of outer space in all its majesty. Of course, I should have remembered that the Exhibition was about Star Trek and not about the cosmos but in my head I had assumed that they were one and the same. There should have been giant screens playing the memorable scenes in a loop (instead of a just a 24 inch one), the control panel on the captain's bridge should have flickered or twinkled or done something, anything when we touched them, there should have been guides dressed as Trekkies taking us through the history of Star Trek instead of just a timeline poster, aliens, cyborgs and robots should have been life sized and moving about instead of merely plastic heads behind thick sheets of glass. Suffice to say my head was spinning with countless ideas on how they could have made the Exhibition a thousand times better, but at the same time I would have to concede that it was quite a decent one.

Cool science show
Flight exhibit

Although the kids had quite an enjoyable time browsing through an exhibition of a tv show they had never seen, the real fun did not start until we started exploring the rest of PSN. They loved the interactive exhibits and we managed to enjoy the Flight, Music and My Body exhibits as well as play in the huge ball cage and rocket playground. Thankfully, there was a surau there because the kids really did not want to leave. Tired and hungry but still eager to check out the rest of the exhibits, we finally decided to call it a day at 4 pm. Hopefully, we'll be able to come back next time and have more educational fun. All together now... I LOVE SCIENCE.

Awesome rocket playground
My Body exhibit
Big Piano (Like Tom Hanks)- Music exhibit
Crane- Yousof figured it out!


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