On the second floor at Pavillion Mall on Senapati Bapat Road, just opposite the Hamley’s store, you find a children’s museum called Amazeum. Walking in as an adult, you’d think you won’t actually be amazed by this place because you obviously already know basic science. But as you experience the first exhibit, a box attached to transparent tubes that form a sort of a track on the wall in which you have to put in a scarf, your childlike sense of wonder comes rushing back. The scarf is pushed through the tubes with air and thrown back at you at the end of the tube-track. This is how this place teaches kids about air pressure. Nearby there are tables on which you can experiment with magnets, build a bridge, or make an assembly line of crown wheels to switch on a light, or race lego cars that you make to see how the heaviest one travels the fastest down the race track due to gravity.
Once you’re done fascinating yourself with the marvels of magnetism, you can take the stairs up to the next floor, while your kids can climb up the vertical jungle gym to get there. Here the kids can pretend-play in the garage, where there’s an almost life-sized ambassador waiting to be fixed, a doctor’s office with an x-ray machine that shows you the skeleton structures of various animals, a construction area where you can become a handyman, a grocery store where you can take charge of the sales and the cash register, and a cafe where you can play the chef.
CEO Praveena Mani points out how the place is nothing like Kidzania. “Here we have the role-playing sections for kids, but unlike other places, we don’t tell them what to do. Kids don’t have to follow a set of instructions to play. We encourage them to use their imagination and see where it leads them. Also, there’s a complimentary entry for one parent along with one child, so we encourage parents to spend time and play with their kids. We don’t allow kids below the age of 8 to be dropped off here without a guardian or parent,” she says, adding that the whole point is to make parents spend more quality time and connect with their kids, and in this process, maybe connect with their inner child too.
She shows us the water section, most popular with kids of all ages, and adults too. Here you have water flowing across a big section, and you need to build a damn to make the turbine turn. “Sometimes the kids have no interest in the turbine. They pick up the rubber ducks and have a race, or be acting out a story of their own devise on the water. And we encourage that too. The goal is to let imagination and creativity flow freely,” she adds.
There’s a fort where kids can play catch, or pretend to fight a battle, and an exhibit where you can pull down on a rope and lift a ring to make a bubble around you. “The big bubble is a picture perfect moment. In fact, we find parents more fascinated with this one,” says Mani.
Tucked into a quiet corner, you have an actual cafe run by Sassy Teaspoon where you can indulge in a range of confectioneries in case you need a dose of sugar to explore this educational play house of sorts.
The art area has many different mediums for the kids to express themselves. They can paint on various surfaces like tile, stone, glass and so on. And there’s the regular medium of paper too. You have magnetic blocks which you can use to make anything you like. And if your dreams are too big for these blocks, you can head on to the gigantic blocks and build something larger.
For toddlers, there’s the essential ball pool, and an entire section to introduce them to shapes, colours, sounds and textures. This section is divided into a music shop, a fruit market, and a toy shop, and behind this section, there is a sort of a maze area with interestingly shaped windows. “When the kids go behind and look through the windows, it makes for very cute peek-a-boo moments with their parents,” says Mani.
Visit the space for an hour or two, or spend the entire day here with your kids. It’s also a great idea to host birthday parties here, and the staff goes the extra mile to organise an activity like an experiment that the kids can participate in. “I want to start hosting activities like story-telling sessions and such as well. I’m open to ideas and collaborations to make things more interesting for the kids,” says Mani.
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Amazeum, children’s museum, at second floor, Pavillion Mall, Senapati Bapat Road, is open from 11 am - 9.30 pm on weekdays and from 11 am - 10 pm on weekends