The folks at the Sendai Science Museum truly succeeded in making a place that is both fun and educational. Furthermore it is accessible for all guests being close to a subway station, having elevators, and providing English pamphlets or signs at nearly every display. What makes this museum attractive to so many visitors is its philosophy on touch science.
Touch science is the belief that we can best learn about science by experiencing first hand, literally. Every single exhibit in the museum is interactive in some way. You control the exhibit with the push of a button to shoot a laser, ride in an earthquake simulator, or play a harp with invisible infra-red strings. You enter through the second floor of the museum where there is an admission desk, souvenir shop, lobby area, bathrooms, and a few small displays. The first floor of the museum is the car park area and rooms used by museum staff. That means it is time to go up to the third floor.
After a brief escalator or elevator ride then showing your ticket to a friendly staff member, you are welcomed into the Life Science Exhibition. Here you can experience science in our daily life, or more importantly understand the science that has been around us this whole time. A wetlands display is complete with an actual water-flowing model of Sendai’s Hirosegawa River. Other environmental activities are nearby. Wind exhibits from the environmental section create a natural transition to understanding how planes are able to fly thanks to their wing design. Many guests enjoyed watching a cyclone of white fog being created before it was quickly demolished by a curious child. A mechanic’s garage has a disassembled car where you can see how a car is able to steer or just bounce around on a tire. A “challenge area” has staff members challenging young guest to solve science problems through experiments or by using the nearby computer stations.
While the third floor is much more focused on children, the fourth floor is where some actual learning can take place for the adult visitor (it has less kids running around too!). The fourth floor is broken up into two areas. The first was my favorite part of the museum: the Natural History Exhibition. Here you can see an abundance of taxidermy or model animals. Fish, insects, and plants found in Miyagi are scattered everywhere. Then you see the colossal ancient elephants that parked themselves near the windows. There are many shelves to pull out and holes to look through to discover more. The latter part of the fourth floor is the Science and Engineering Exhibition. Many magnet, light, electricity, and sound experiments can be done here by visitors. The central structure in this room has a roller coaster like metal track balls roll across, making sounds and flashing lights as they pass by. Just follow the turning heads to find it.
I haven’t had this much fun at a museum in a while. All ages can learn and have fun in a location just a 15 minute subway ride from Sendai station. Better yet, the museum is located at the edge of the large and beautiful Dainohara Forest Park. Combine your museum trip with a stroll or hike in the park and you have an easy half to full day of activities. Happy experimenting!