Weekend Getaway: Planetarium Negara

Salam everyone!

Just like everyone who is working, weekends are the time that I look forward to. Yes, yes, I may not be working this year but my other half is, so weekends are the only time that we can spend bonding as family. Now that we have two kids, an outing sometimes is a must because our elder daughter tends to get restless being cooped at home all day. Even the 3-month old will get 'tergedik-gedik' (over-excited) whenever we prepare her for an outing and practically drools at the sight of the stroller! 

So this weekend after doing a little bit of research online (keyword search - budget-friendly attractions, kids-friendly attractions, free admission. Okay you get it. Suami Terchenta said since this month we have to fork out A LOT of $$ to renew our car insurance and road tax, we can't go somewhere expensive so shopping mall is a no-no T_T), we finally settled on Planetarium Negara (National Planetarium). Not only it is nearby, the admission to the gallery is free and 3D theatre film is at nominal fee (RM6 per adult for Malaysians / RM12 per adult for foreigners, free for kids aged 2 years and below).

Of course in our family nothing ever happens without some drama. Before we began the journey, I checked with Suami Terchenta:

Me: Do you know where's the Planetarium?
Suami Terchenta (dengan nada yakin / with an air of confidence): Yes.

So off we went to the Planetarium supposedly, I was breastfeeding Khadeeja and watching Madagascar, therefore not paying attention to the route taken by Suami Terchenta. When Khadeeja finally fell asleep, I looked out the window and realised that we were on the way to Damansara. Soon we reached a place and...

Suami Terchenta: Here we are. Pusat Sains Negara!
Me: ????? We are going to Planetarium! Not Pusat Sains Negara!
Suami Terchenta: Isn't it the same thing?
Me (outrageous look at him): No, it's different!
Suami Terchenta: Well.. I figured because of the domed roof…

Thank God for GPS afterwards.

NOTE: Pusat Sains Negara is not the same as Planetarium Negara, people...

Anyway…

We reached the correct place half an hour later. Planetarium Negara is a blue-domed structure situated on top of a hill. Getting there requires a bit of walking from the car park which is located down hill. Since we have two small kids, the security personnel allowed us to drive in for drop-off at the entrance. The place has a funny design where the car drop-off is not exactly at the main entrance since visitors have to climb stairs to get to the main entrance. When we realised that there is no ramp for strollers, we were a bit put off - until another security personnel approached us and told us to drive further up to the authorised parking area, where there's an entrance to the building for people using wheelchair.

I seriously think the management should incorporate more wheelchair- and stroller-friendly amenities because most of the visitors are families with young kids. Otherwise, they should provide self-explanatory signage informing where to enter if visitors bring strollers because we saw a group of foreign tourists having to lug their strollers up the staircase because there was no one around to tell them the same thing when we arrived!

Activities at the Planetarium Negara are limited to browsing the gallery and watching 3D documentary in the dome theatre. According to the official website, there's also observatory with telescope and accessories, viewing galleries with binoculars and other stuffs but we could not find those areas. Plus, like I mentioned earlier, the place is not stroller-friendly as some areas are only accessible by stairs.

There was only a handful of staff around and most of them are working in the theatre only. Unlike the Petrosains, there was no guide to explain some of the exhibits and visitors are left to figure out / read the exhibits by themselves. This place is in bad need of marketing strategy to rejuvenate and entice more visitors to come! Wait a minute *check the organisation chart*, they don't have marketing director. No. Freaking. Wonder.

Khayla was not so thrilled at the gallery (probably because she's too young to appreciate the displays and information?) and was only interested in the anti-gravity room because there is a slide exit :) Our girl loves the slide and can play on it endlessly if we didn't stop her.

At the gallery. Khadeeja couldn't care less.
Nevertheless, it was not entirely a waste of time coming here. The key highlight of the trip is watching 3D film at the dome theatre. It was awesome! They have 5 films which they played at interval slots - the one we watched at 2pm was 'The Sun, Moon and Earth'. 

Camwhoring before the movie started - my face looks huge!

It was interesting to watch large format film played on the dome because it feels like we were on the outer space ourselves! Unfortunately, Khayla got dizzy after a while and started to cry while Khadeeja who was fascinated watching moving images played on the roof began to get startled every time there were loud sounds!

Eh. Looks like only the parents syok sendiri with the theatre :p

After the theatre, we spent some time going through the exhibits at the gallery and spent most of the time at the section where there is a "mock-up of the interior of the International Space Station showing the sleeping and toilet arrangements" (quoted from malaysia-traveller.com).

Entertaining Khayla with the buttons at the experiment side. Why does this blouse looks so loose? Ececey...
We spent an overall an hour and a half at Planetarium Negara. Overall, I would say it's a good place to go with older kids who would appreciate the scientific displays and everything space-related. Actually this was my second trip to Planetarium Negara. During my first trip more than 10 years ago, they even had this training rotating equipment where you sit strapped to it and a staff will spin you 360 degrees to give you a taste of how it feels to be in space. I almost puked after that!

We saw the same rotating equipment but it was only for display (too bad, I wanted to spin my husband hahahaha!). Furthermore, some of the touch screen displays were out of order, like the equipment to detect pulse rate. So it was really disappointing.

Before we left, we took a family photo at this booth:

The Junaidi clan :)
So that's how we spent our weekend. Hope you have a happy weekend too :)

2 comments:

  1. Hehehe..dulu aku pun ingat Planetarium dgn Pusat Sains Negara tu sama.

    Hang jumpa mak buyong tak? Bib turun KL last week kan

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    Replies
    1. Tak. Mak buyong?? Dia peknen lagi ke? Tak habaq pun :p

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