Chinese head to science museums for holiday
Updated: 2012-01-03 09:32
SHANGHAI - After years of visiting popular attractions crowded with people, Chinese families are beginning to show an increasing preference for the quiet calm of the country's museums.
The Shanghai Science and Technology Museum received a large number of visitors on Monday, the second day of the three-day New Year holiday. Many parents took their children to the museum, one of the largest in China, for a special one-day tour featuring interactive games and programs.
The "Journey of Food" portion of the tour has been particularly popular among visitors, allowing them to take fruit-shaped carts on an educational journey through a simulated human digestive tract. Visitors have to line up for about an hour to go on the ride, according to a museum employee.
Shanghai resident Zhang Hui took his four-year-old son to the museum's "Rainbow Kid Garden," where natural phenomena such as wind, light, sound and electricity are demonstrated through games.
"Although my son is too young to completely understand the principles behind these phenomena, he will still obtain some basic knowledge through the games," Zhang said.
"We try to educate children through the games, as this will help encourage their curiosity and interest," said Li Jun, head of the museum's press office.
Among the crowds of families are teachers and college students, working in the museums as volunteers. Fu Xiangdong, a teacher from the Shanghai Health Vocational College, has been volunteering at the museum at least once a month for about 10 years.
As one of the museum's most experienced volunteers, Fu is well-prepared to answer any questions visitors might have.
"I feel quite happy to spend my weekends and holidays here as a volunteer, and my family has been very supportive," Fu said.
The Beijing-based China Science and Technology Museum also saw an increased number of visitors on the first day of 2012.
Statistics from the Beijing Tourism Development Committee showed that about 9,000 people visited the China Science and Technology Museum on January 1, up 67.7 percent from a year ago.
In contrast, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, two of the city's most-visited tourist sites, only registered growth of 12.8 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively, on January 1.
Museum aficionados who are unable to visit the country's most popular museums in person have resorted to using social networking sites to satisfy their curiosity.
A microblog operated by Zhu Jin, curator of the Beijing Planetarium, has accumulated more than 75,000 followers, and his posts are widely circulated on the Internet.