Technopolis Science Centre, Mechelen (Flanders - Belgium)

This article first appeared on My Travelogue by Bhushavali
 
I came to know about Technopolis Mechelen years ago when I first went to Mechelen to visit Het Anker Brewery and Winter Gardens of Ursuline Nuns. However, Atyudarini was then a very very small baby. I wanted to wait for a few years, so Atyudarini can understand and be fascinated by the science behind the various experiments & games & displays in Technopolis Mechelen. Now that Atyudarini already goes to school, finally, recently I took her there.

Technopolis Science Museum Mechelen

Technopolis Science Museum Mechelen

Technopolis Science Museum Mechelen

Technopolis Science Museum Mechelen

Technopolis Science Museum Mechelen

ONE DAY AT TECHNOPOLIS SCIENCE MUSEUM NEAR BRUSSELS

THINGS TO DO & ACTIVITIES AT TECHNOPOLIS
The timings and the number of the demonstrations, workshops & shows vary each day, so, as soon as you enter & validate your ticket, you're handed out a paper with that day's schedule. When we did, we have just missed a demo by 10 minutes and a show was due in 30 mins. So we went to the Main Exhibition close to the Show area to check out the games & experiments there.
Demonstrations happen in their designated area and the guests stand all around to watch and they're quick (10 mins-ish); Shows are similar to demos, but you're in a hall & seated (first come first serve) and they're longer (20-30 mins-ish); Workshops are hand-on, much longer (45 mins-ish) and have a much-limited capacity you need to register in whichever you'd like to participate in, as soon as you enter. 

MAIN EXHIBITION AREA AT TECHNOPOLIS
This was absolutely cool. I got so nostalgic and more excited than Atyudarini to see these scientific games & activities. It reminded me much of my own school days. Part of the main exhibition is on the underground floor and part on the ground floor. 
The first few experiments were to explain optical illusion (depth perspective), sounds created by vibrations, and centrifugal & centripetal force. While I use these terms now, for a 4yr old child these were really cool, fun experiments to see how a ladder when you see it from another point, isn't a ladder at all or how rolling a drum causes the stream of water to twist & not fall in a straight line or how vibrating water produces a whistling sound, or how the water surface becomes curved (hyperbolic) when you keep rolling the container, etc!!! 
There were several games like pin art, miniature laser shooting, walk-in maze carpet, indoor rock climbing, etc. There were several more physics displays like an electromagnet that keeps circling, parallel vs series switches, microscope, etc. 
It was all so interactive that kept Atyudarini on her toes! She kept running from one activity to another, coz there were so many that caught her attention! One of Atyudarini's favorites was to make an airplane toy move by directing solar energy to its panels!
The most fascinating 2 activities here, are the cycling on a cable tied 5m (16ft) above the ground and another is a flight simulator. The cycle isn't fixed to the cable, but its center of gravity is such that it will not topple over! For your own safety, you're harnessed though. The flight simulator, as the name suggests, is to try your hand at piloting! These 2, however, are suitable only for older kids (& adults)!

XPLORA AT TECHNOPOLIS
The Xplora section at Technopolis talks about various careers someone could have and small tasks to do to see if you're cut out for or to see what's expected out of each career. It was super interesting and the careers weren't the usual Doctor or Engineer etc. It begins with a Theme-Park Designer followed by a Wildlife Biologist followed by a Detective followed by a Fashion Designer followed by a Delivery Truck driver and quite a few more. You can do activities in each section to see your aptitude for the same like - identification of which poop belongs to which wild animal or solving a small criminal case, or to do photography and designing a poster! 
Most of these are suitable for younger kids while few aren't, like the Detective area went over the head for Atyudarini but the Theme-Park Designing and Weather News reading areas were super fun for her. 

Things to do in Mechelen with kids

Things to do in Mechelen with kids

Things to do in Mechelen with kids

Things to do in Mechelen with kids

Things to do in Mechelen with kids

DEMONSTRATIONS & WORKSHOPS AT TECHNOPOLIS
Demonstrations & Workshops are age-specific. There was a demo for 4 yr olds and a show for 5+ years which we attended. 
The demo happens in the Main Exhibition area. The one we attended was a Chain Reaction contraption demo to explain action & reaction. A demonstrator simply switched on a clapper that said 'action' which triggered an airplane toy that hit a tiny shopping cart which rolled away & pushed a ball & on & on & on, till a toy rocket took off displaying a flag that said 'reaction'!
The Show that we went to was called the Mandel-Chef meant for 6+ yr old kids. It is a cooking show, or... is it??? From instant fires, to smoke on the stove, to overflowing vessels, to unburnt kitchen towels, to cleansing dirty water - everything is made of various chemistry experiments using dry ice, baking soda, vinegar, etc. It was all so mind-blowing for all the kids; it all looked too risky and too scary for the kids and they just ooh-ed and aah-ed throughout!
Unfortunately, the shows & workshops happen only in Dutch! While demos are fine, the shows are slightly interactive and the workshops, very much. While it is mostly activity-based, not understanding the instructor is not very easy! I hope they organize at least 1 English show/workshop at least on weekends.

TIKTOK (INSTA REELS) TOUR AT TECHNOPOLIS
There are certain displays in the main area that are 'TikTok' friendly! One was to dance with your colored shadows! Another one was to create a bubble all around you. Another one was to see if the lines are parallel or not! Quite helpfully, some of these exhibits also have a phone holder, so you don't have to ask a total stranger to record you!

SEAFORCE AT TECHNOPOLIS
Seaforce is a temporary exhibition located very close to the Technopolis Restaurant. It is not just about sea life, but more about how can we protect our oceans, how marine biology exists, and what can we do in terms of climate change, renewable energy, etc. With 360° projections, wall touch-screens & table-top touch-screens it is a very immersive experience. That said, it is meant for kids above 8yrs of age. It was interesting for Atyudarini but it did go over her head.

STEK & CHILDREN's SCIENCE CENTRE
Apart from all of these, there are 2 more areas in Technopolis that I should mention. One is Stek where workshops happen, time & again, for 14-18yr old children. Obviously, it is way too advanced for Atyudarini and we didn't get in here. 
Children's Science Area is meant for little ones like, or even younger than, Atyudarini. Like the Xplora area, here too, there are various sections that explain various aspects of life skills & careers like - fixing a roof of a house, helping a patient in an ambulance, making pizzas, refueling a car, building with giant blocks etc! 

SCIENCE GARDEN AT TECHNOPOLIS
There's a very nice little outdoor area inside Technopolis. The first thing that Atyudarini loved the most was the life-sized xylophone. Unlike the unusual 7 keys, this had many more, and together, it played, 'bits of paper...'! There was a humongous rock, fixed onto a pole and even a 4yr old could move it with her fingers! There were more optical illusions on display here. 

Insectopia Technopolis

Insectopia Technopolis

Insectopia Technopolis

Things to do in Technopolis

Things to do in Technopolis

DINOPOLIS - TEMPORARY EXHIBITION AT TECHNOPOLIS
Apart from the Science Garden, there's another huge outdoor area. I had visited Technopolis earlier, but didn't go inside Technopolis and just went to the Dinopolis event the outdoors. Quite a few, life-sized Dinosaurs complete with sounds & movements that made them so so realistic! Atyudarini was much younger and she actually thought those dinos were alive until I explained otherwise!!! Check out its video on Facebook.

INSECTOPIA - TEMPORARY EXHIBITION AT TECHNOPOLIS
Since Atyudarini loved the Dinopolis exhibition, I definitely didn't want to miss Insectopia this time. Like Dinopolis, Insectopia is an outdoor expo of larger-than-life-sized insects, complete with sounds & movements. Atyudarini was particularly in love with those Monarch Butterflies. There are 32 insects including Black widow Spiders, Pharoah Ants, Carpenter Ants, Bed bugs, Hummingbird hawk-moths, Praying Mantis, Lady Bugs, etc. There's an explanation about them in English as well. It is a very short, stroller-friendly hiking route through the wooded areas to spot the various mega-insects. 

Insectopia Timings: 9:30AM to 5:00PM on weekends & school holidays; 12:30PM to 5:00PM on Wednesdays
Insectopia (only) tickets: €8 (children under 4yrs of age go free)
Combo tickets for Technopolis & Insectopia: €28 (children under 4yrs of age go free; 4-11yrs tickets cost €23)

IS IT WORTH VISITING TECHNOPOLIS?
Absolutely yes, if your child is over 8yrs old.
Yes, if your child is over 4yrs old. 
Not really before that unless you live in Mechelen and have an annual pass! Though there are a few activities for <4 yrs old kids, it is not really worth it to go from Brussels or somewhere else, all the way there!

WHERE TO EAT AT TECHNOPOLIS?
There's an excellent restaurant inside Technopolis. The prices are surprisingly at par with Exki, Albert Heijn, etc. Sandwiches & pasta bowls cost just €4-5, cakes cost about €3-4, a meal with fries & drink cost about €8-10. So if you normally grab a sandwich on the go, you might as well buy it here. Vegan, Gluten-free, Halal sandwiches, or pasta can be made upon request, but they take about 30 mins to prepare. So it is a good idea to order food and head to the Seaforce exhibition and come back after 30 mins!
But if you normally pack a picnic, unfortunately, eating it isn't allowed here. Even in the outdoor Science Garden area, there were stickers everywhere to remind you that it is not a picnic spot! However, you can sit outside at the Parking lot / Busstop area and eat. There are places to sit (not benches but more like short walls beside pavement), but there's nothing that's covered or with shade. So if it rains, you'll get wet and if it's too sunny, you'll get roasted! 

Things to do in Technopolis

Is it worth it to visit Technopolis?

Is it worth it to visit Technopolis?

Is it worth it to visit Technopolis?

Is it worth it to visit Technopolis?

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT TECHNOPOLIS?
Weekends during school days or weekdays during school days!
Why? During school vacations, they are indeed quite crowded and get super crowded on school-vacation weekends. The best is to avoid that time!
During school days, they usually have school groups visiting them almost every day! It is possible for the general public to visit them on those days as well - everything is open for the general public as well, except shows which are conducted one per school ground and not for others!
So during school days, if you go on weekends it is a bit crowded and if you go on weekdays, you miss the shows! Choose. 

TIPS FOR VISITING TECHNOPOLIS
1. It is easily a day trip! You'll easily need an entire day (or more) to try all the games & experiments, participate in a couple of workshops, etc. 
2. If your 8+ yr old child is interested in Science, it is totally worth it to get an annual pass!

HOW TO REACH TECHNOPOLIS MECHELEN
Where is Technopolis Mechelen (on Google Maps)? Technopolis
How to reach Technopolis by public transport? There is a bus stop just at the entrance of Technopolis served by DeLijn bus routes 282, 283 and 682, that connect Mechelen and Vilvoorde. 
How to go to Technopolis Mechlen from Brussels by train? The best way to reach Technopolis from Brussels is to take a train till Mechelen and then take DeLijn Bus route 282, 283 or 682 till Technopolis. The journey time is just 5 mins and the frequency of the bus is twice every hour. 
Quite amusingly, Google Maps shows the route as Brussels to Vilvoorde and then take the same bus in opposite direction. The bus journey is this case is about 20 mins. It is an option, but taking the short bus ride from Mechelen is more comfortable!

TECHNOPOLIS MECHELEN TICKETS
Technopolis tickets: €23 (children under 4yrs of age go free; 4-11yrs tickets cost €18)
Buy your tickets online on the official website of Technopolis Mechelen.
Combo tickets for Technopolis & Insectopia: €28 (children under 4yrs of age go free; 4-11yrs tickets cost €23)

TECHNOPOLIS ANNUAL PASS
Technopolis Annual Pass for adults - €69
Technopolis Annual Pass for kids below 12yrs of age - €54
Technopolis Annual Pass for families (Friends subscription) - You + any 3 others - €276

HOW TO VISIT TECHNOPOLIS FOR FREE?
Technopolis has an awesome offer that you can visit Technopolis for free on your birthday!!! Of course, you need to pre-book a free ticket for the day and carry your ID card that mentions your birthdate.  

TECHNOPOLIS MECHELEN OPENING HOURS
Technopolis Timings: 9:30AM to 5:00PM
Technopolis annual closure: September 1st to 15th

Visit Technopolis Mechelen Pinterest Visit Technopolis Mechelen Pinterest

Insectopia at Technopolis Mechelen Insectopia at Technopolis Mechelen

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

10 comments:

  1. I used to go to science museums like the technopolis all the time when my children were young. This one looks like a great learning experience! I'd forgotten how fascinating these types of exhibits can be, especially with the interactive element. I think I need get science museums back on my bucket list when I'm traveling! I will add this one for sure.

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  2. Wow I did not know there could be something like a Tiktok Tour as well. Technopolis Science Museum surely looks so fun for kids. The Mandel Chef tour is something that I would recommend my cousin so she can take her 6-yr old son to, because they are living in Belgium.

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  3. Wow I did not know there could be something like a Tiktok Tour as well. Technopolis Science Museum surely looks so fun for kids. The Mandel Chef tour is something that I would recommend my cousin so she can take her 6-yr old son to, because they are living in Belgium.

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  4. This science museum looks so cool, no wonder you get more excited than you son to some of the experiments. I love that there are so many things to do and see there, and that they are all interactive. The cycling on a wire would definitely trigger my fear of heights, but I see a brave little girl in your photo having the time of her life doing it. The flight simulator sounds pretty cool as well.

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  5. This is nice and cool! My kids would certainly have a blast when they visit. Happy to know that they have demos for kids. It's nice of them to come up with Tiktok friendly displays too.

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  6. Wow this is so nice a place to visit with kids. Science is always fascinating and even good learning for parents as well. The cycling on a wire should be good fun. Overall Technopolis looks such an interesting day out.

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  7. The Technologist science centre in Mechelen, Belgium is such an amazing an inspiring place to visit for both kids and adults. The various exhibits like the Dinopolis with simulating life size dinosaurs, the Insectopia featuring giant size insects, the workshop themes like chain reaction demo and the Xplora section revealing unconventional professions like wild life biologist or theme park designer allows kids to outgrow the cliches of conventional choice like va doctor or engineer.Great post!

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  8. This is a perfect place for learn while you play - especially for kids as old as your little one. I would have loved to do that simulator pilot bit. Though your little one was too young for it, I am sure she found plenty to do around the Xplorer region - why I feel like trying it out myself by just reading through it . Tiktok tour is quite unique too.

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  9. How fun to re-visit the Technolpolous Science Centre with your daughter. How fun to see the wonder in their eyes with the hands on exhibits. Our kids would have wanted to spend all their time in Dinopolis. And I probably would have wanted to miss Insectopia. Good to know this is a great family outing as a day trip.

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  10. This looks so much fun and I know my kids would love this place. We have been to several kids' science museums that remind this a little bit and we have always had a blast. And they are fun for older ones too. The more active they can be the better.

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