What? Barcelona’s natural sciences museum
For who? The whole family
Why? Educational, Affordable & Entertaining
Barcelona features more than 80 museums. Without doubt there is a lot to see in all of them, but it is hard to find one as entertaining as the CosmoCaixa. In this museum, everybody, young or old can enjoy themselves and learn a lot about Natural Sciences, trying out many things, and even experience tropical rain. CosmoCaixa surprises, not only due to the wealth of information and activities on offer, but also with its affordable prices. Experimenting is not just something for kids to do here, but rather an experience for all of the family. CosmoCaixa has a total area of 30,000m2, or in other words enough space for exhibitions, a planetarium, a tropical rainforest, conference rooms, a shop, cafe and picnic areas.
Upon arriving, your attention is immediately drawn to the enormous tree, extending upwards to all of the museum’s floors. This is the so-called “Tree of Life“ that was brought from Brazil to Barcelona when it was dead. A ramp in the shape of a spiral running around the tree leads to the museum’s expositions. The walk around the tree is impressive and allows you to wonder at the curiosities waiting inside the museum. Most of all, you notice, when standing underneath the tree’s roots and looking upwards just how small you are.
Inside the Amazon rainforest & the Aquarium
Once downstairs, you reach a large area, and it’s difficult to know where to begin looking. We finally decided to go for the trip through the Amazon. A dark passageway leads us past ant-hills, colourful poisonous frogs, snakes and piranhas, which fortunately live on the other side of the glass. A few steps up and suddenly we find ourselves surrounded by a tropical rainforest. It is also raining, and does so every 15 minutes.
Over an area of 1,000 m² a small part of the Amazonian rainforest is recreated here. The larger trees are made of plastic; however this detail goes unnoticed, being combined with small natural plants. All of the animals that you see along the way are authentic. Along with the humidity of the air, which gives an overall impression of 100%, a slightly musty smell and a background noise of birds and running water, it gives you the impression of being in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest. Here, you will find 13 different species of trees, as well as 58 plant and 36 animal species.
Upon leaving, we reach the small aquarium with its curious and multi-coloured inhabitants. To the left, the geological wall shoots upwards – seven pieces of authentic stone, with a combined weight of 100 tons, which give us an idea of geological history. To one side, you can carry out small experiments just by pressing a button, showing us how the stones have come to acquire their appearance. Some of the blocks of stone look as if they have been painted. The huge variety of colours that have been generated by nature is amazing.
On the other side of the museum, it is masterfully shown how we, as human beings, have taken advantage of forms of nature, such as snails and honeycombs. Have you ever noticed the similarity between a roll of toilet paper and a snail? There is also a representation of the origins of the human race. And many other things besides- physics experiments that show the effects of light, the force of gravity etc.
By pushing buttons, you can generate sandstorms, or experiment using your own shadow which colours refract light. It’s also interesting to see how your voice would sound if it were to belong to the other sex, or to another planet.
If you’re getting hungry by this point, you can have a rest in the Cafe. There are snacks and hot and cold drinks. There is also a restaurant, and for those looking for something a little more rustic, you can use the picnic area if you’ve brought food with you.
The Big Bang & Toca Toca
After a snack, you can then proceed to visit the upper level of the building. Here you will find the temporary exhibitions. Previous exhibitions have looked at drugs and illustrated their effects upon the psyche, reaction times and the body. Other temporary exhibitions have included the importance of numbers in daily life, illusions of science and an exhibition on Charles Darwin.
On the return walk to the ground floor, you pass by the Planetarium and Toca toca! (Touch touch). The planetarium gives you a virtual tour across the universe, via the creation of the planets, finding ourselves almost in the centre of the Big Bang. Toca toca! allows you to experiment with the environment using all of the senses. There are animals from different habitats, such as water, desert and the forest, and you are also able to touch them. This is the place for those who’ve always wanted to touch a hairy spider, supposedly slippery snakes or tortoises. Both of these attractions are only available at weekends, as during the week only school groups are able to enter.
Upon leaving CosmoCaixa, we felt full of new impressions and knowledge. An exciting day is waiting for you, which you should add to your list of must-sees in Barcelona, especially if you are travelling with children. We would recommend sharpening your senses and immersing yourself in science!
Enjoy your visit to the CosmoCaixa!
Location: Isaac Newton, 26, 08022 Barcelona
How to get here:
Buses 60 and 73 stop in front of CosmoCaixa’s doors.
From Tuesday to Sunday: open from 10:00 to 20:00 (except the 25/12, 01/01 and the 06/01)
Toca toca! and the Planetarium only at weekends and public holidays.
Entry to the museum: €4,00 (includes temporary exhibitions)
Children up to the age of 16, students and pensioners: Free entry
Free entry on the first Sunday of every month.
Guided activities: €4,00
Concessions (see above conditions): €2,00
Discounts for “La Caixa“ customers
Have you been to CosmoCaixa before? Which exhibitions did you like the best? Would you like to go? We would love to hear from you below!