Tuesday, 14 October 2014

National Museum of Marine Science and Technology

If you build a museum large enough it will, through the natural force of gravity, attract visitors. This seems to be the rationale behind the building of the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology in Jilong (Keelung). 

We certainly found ourselves attracted to its massive structure several weekends ago, and in the sweltering heat that was Taiwan's most recent summer, it promised to be, at the very least, a cool, shady refuge. But in the end the NMMST was more than that, and worth the long trip out to see it.

There are several ways to get there. We caught the train to Jilong from Taipei Main Station, then caught a bus from the stop just across the road from the station. I can't remember now which bus it was, but the website lists the 1051 and 791. The bus journey took about half an hour, and we had to cross the busy highway from the bus stop, but there is an overpass. 

The museum houses exhibits on the marine ecology of Taiwanese waters, the coastal currents, shipping history and industry, and in fact just about anything you could consider linked to Taiwan and the sea. My son got stuck into the interactive exhibits right away.

There are two large buildings at the site, and we only had time to fully explore one of them. That didn't include watching an IMAX film, or spending much time in the children's play area, which is really only suitable for young children.

I'm a big fan of spooky deep sea exhibits, and the area reserved for this at NMMST was appropriately dark and creepy. The picture to the right shows a model of a dead whale being scavenged.

One thing we found confusing was that the map given to visitors shows another building away from the main site. We braved the heat to walk over and visit it, and if I recall correctly there were helpful signposts to show us the way, but when we arrived we found the building wasn't open to visitors.

Never mind. We did see some interesting squid fishing boats on our walk.
And I got to take my obligatory view shot.
There are no live animal exhibits at the NMMST, which might disappoint some visitors, but is really in the conservation spirit of the place.

The museum provides a PDF brochure free to download so that you can plan your visit before you arrive. But I think even if we'd known about that, we would still have struggled to see everything in one visit. Next time, we might make it into the second building.

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