This summer take a family trip to the first interactive museum
CAIRO: If your child is between the ages of 5 and 13 and you are looking for a place where he can learn something new and at the same time have fun, one good place to visit would be the Suzanne Mubarak Children s Museum in Heliopolis.
Along with the Suzanne Mubarak Science Exploration Center (SMSEC), the museum is the only other interactive facility tailored for children in Egypt.
Divided into four sections, Ancient Egypt, The Nile Valley, The Desert, and The Red Sea, the museum aims at teaching children as much as possible about their history and their environment in a fun way.
So, for instance, in the Red Sea section they are told all about the different creatures living in different depths of the sea through a virtual reality adventure in a submarine; while in the Ancient Egypt section a two feet high pyramid model opens up to show what it is like from the inside only when the child presses the button on the right answer to some questions.
Every tour through the museum is conceived of as a journey. On entering, visitors are given passports that get stamped when their visit to each of the four sections of the museum is completed.
Built in 1996 in the middle of a 13-feddan garden the museum offers more than just a tour. Right next to it there is the Activities Village where children are given summer courses in painting, pottery, textile, planting and even cooking and baking in the traditional manner.
There is also a library and an atelier that exhibits the works of the children. And in the science and computer center courses in perfume making are taught, alongside the usual computer and biology courses.
Attached to the center is the Cinema building where shows and programs that help raise children’s environmental awareness are screened, usually sponsored by the ministries of agriculture or environment.
If this sounds too educational and do not worry that your child might feel like he is being dragged off to classes during summer vacation. As Manal Moustafa, a guide at the museum, puts it, “We know that children come here in the summer mainly for entertainment and so we don’t force them to sit and learn. We try to make things amusing for them, to make them interact with the objects in front of them, and if any of them wants to leave and do something else we don’t stop them.
How to get there: 34 Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq St., Heliopolis. Coming from Mida Nadi Al-Zubbat, it s located at the next major crossroad on Harun Al-Rashid St. Look out for the large red sign which is obscured by trees.
When to go: The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. except for Mondays and national holidays.
Entrance fees: LE 5 per child, children under the age of 2 are admitted for free.
Guides: If you call ahead, you can request an English-speaking guide