Families can make the world their classroom by venturing to places that combine learning and fun! Even during summer vacation, kids can continue to learn wherever they go; it all depends on YOU as their parent. Being a “smart parent” means taking advantage of opportunities as they arise, and what better way to discover more learning opportunities than by visiting these five educational places with your kids.
1. Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center in Pasay City
Want to get your kids interested in Science the fun way? Take them to the Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center (NFSDC) in the SM Mall of Asia Complex.
According to its official website, the NFSDC is the first technology-based premiere science center in the country. It provides a venue where kids and kids at heart can learn and appreciate science and technology the interactive way. No wonder then that it is usually included in the list of places for most school field trips!
NFSDC consists of nine walk-through galleries, as follows:
The DigiStar Planetarium where short films are shown on its 360-degree dome, the most advanced of its kind in the country. The Planetarium can seat up to 160 people inside its theater-like dome.
The Media City, which features the “Gesturetek” where players can interact in various 3D virtual environments using simple body movements.
The Grossology station, where visitors can learn about the different quirks of the human body. Kids can even have the hands-on experience of "operating" on a mock human body in the Patients Please section! A must-do if your little ones hope to be a doctor when they grow up!
The Transportation Nation lets kids build their very own virtual car, or try landing a plane in its flight simulators.
The Robots Inc Gallery has graphic panels and replicas of some of the most famous robots in history. Children can also play with the remote-controlled "slambots" at the Robo-test section.
The City Science Gallery has scale models of the world's tallest buildings. It also has an earthquake simulation room.
The Virtual Reef is an artificial coral reef that mimics the scenes of life underwater. Towards the end of the gallery, kids will surely enjoy meeting the talking virtual fish, Mr. T, who's raring to answer questions about ocean life.
The NIDO FORTIFIED Science Discovery Center is located at the south side of the SM Mall of Asia’s Entertainment Building, and is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Call 556-0331 or visit www.sciencediscovery.ph for inquiries. Contact details are as follows: NIDO FORTIFIED SCIENCE DISCOVERY CENTER Southside Entertainment Mall SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex Pasay City, 1300 Philippines
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2. La Meso Eco Park and Dam in Quezon City
Let your kids explore nature, participate in saving the environment, and pick up some lessons along the way! La Mesa Eco Park is a project of Bantay Kalikasan, MWSS and the Quezon City Government, and consists of a rehabilitated 33-hectare public park. Since all income generated by the Park is utilized for the preservation of the La Mesa Watershed, all visitors actually already help protect the environment just by being there!
The Park is a wonderful place to visit for families, and your little ones will surely enjoy the many park facilities which include the following:
Lopez Picnic Grounds – Five hectares of picnic spots with grilling facilities underneath a forest of varied trees.
Salt Water Swimming Pool – Probably the only salt water pool that is open to the public. Salt granules are used instead of chlorine making the water safer and less toxic.
Superferry Boating Lagoon – To experience and enjoy a paddle boat ride, one once had to trek all the way to Baguio’s Burnham Park. Now this popular activity is available right here in Quezon City.
Fishing Lagoon – Fishing is another very popular activity at the park.
Petron Fitness and Mountain Bike Trail – Here, one can enjoy a full-body workout under the shade of trees. The fitness trail has 17 exercise stations and connects to a forested 1.2 km mountain bike trail.
Shell Flower Terraces – The two-hectare flower terraces is actually the dam wall of the reservoir.
Ecomuseum – A museum dedicated to environmental education and biodiversity conservation.
Butterfly Trail and Hatchery – A walk through the wonderful, colorful world of butterflies.
Overnight camping facilities are also available, perfect for teaching your kids about “roughing it” in the Great Outdoors! Visit La Mesa Eco Park today to teach your kids the beauty of nature and how, as young as they are, they can make a difference in the world by the small things they do.
La Mesa Eco Park is located at La Mesa Dam Compound, Greater Lagro, Quezon City. For inquiries, call 430-4051 / 430-5207 or visit www.lamesaecopark.com.
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3. The Lost Eden Educational and Recreational Park in Parañaque City
Agribusinessweek.com describes the Lost Eden Educational and Recreational Park as a “paradisiacal place where one can find education, recreation and solace right in the heart of Metro Manila.” The 4-hectare educational and recreational facility which started its operations in February 2007 is the idea of Wilson Ang, the president of BioResearch, a pet and aquatic products company.
Facilities inside the Park include the following:
• The longest aquarium strip in the Philippines, where kids can learn about different freshwater ornamental fishes from all over the world.
• The honey bee gallery, where visitors can learn about the basics of bee-keeping (apiculture) and its many benefits.
• The Butterfly Farm
• The Koi Pavilion
• The Dog and Cat Mansion
• The Central Park with Italian fountains
• The Rainbow Tree House built around a 200 year-old tamarind tree
• The Bird Mansion
• The Turtle World
• Vegi-Map of the Philippines, containing a wide collection of organically grown vegetables from all over the country.
• Replicas of Taal Volcano, Mayon Volcano, dinosaur fossils
• The “Mechanical Park” which has a decommissioned forklift vehicle and painted engine blocks.
Because of Mr. Ang’s desire for visitors to not only enjoy themselves but also to learn how to take care of and even make a living from Nature, schoolchildren who visit are even given an ornamental fish to take home for free! What a great bonus for your little ones! Taking care of fish as pets will also help them learn about responsibility.
The Lost Eden Park is located at 8362 Dr. A. Santos Ave. Sucat Parañaque City (near Manila Memorial). The Park is open from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Saturday. Call 826-3535 to 38 for inquiries.
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4. Museo Pambata in Manila
On top of the must-visit list of every family with young kids is the Museo Pambata, the Philippines’ premier children museum. “A place of hands-on discovery” and “a child’s window to the world,” this museum designed especially for kids and kids at heart was born out of an educator-mother’s desire to have a venue where Filipino children could learn and have fun at the same time. The museum boasts of hosting an average of 180, 000 children and adults each year since it opened on December 21, 1994. It is also a resource center promoting Filipino culture, children’s advocacies and creative educational programs. Museo Pambata provides hands-on exhibits which encourage children to explore and discover different concepts while they play. It has eight theme rooms, namely:
• Kalikasan / Environment
• Maynila Noon / Old Manila
• Bata Sa Mundo / Children in the Global Village
• Tuklas! / Science Through Discovery
• Paglaki Ko / Career Options
• Craft Room
• Pamilihang Bayan / Marketplace
• Katawan Ko / Body Works It also has the “Karapatan Hall” which is dedicated to the Rights of the Child.
Museo Pambata is located at the former Elks Club Building on Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive, Manila. Museum hours are from 8 am to 5 pm from August to March, and from 9 am to 5 pm from April to July. It is open on Sundays from 1 to 5 pm. But closed on Mondays and official holidays. General admission is at P100 per person. For details call 523-1797 or check their website at www.museopambata.org.
How to get to Museo Pambata:
From EDSA, turn right on Roxas Boulevard then take a U-turn on T.M. Kalaw Street. From Quiapo, take Quezon Bridge going to Padre Burgos Street then turn left on Roxas Boulevard. Or you may take the LRT or a jeepney (A. Mabini route), get off on United Nations Avenue, and walk to Roxas Boulevard. Museo Pambata is right beside the U.S. Embassy.
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5. Baluarte Zoo in Vigan
Baluarte Zoo claims to be more than just a zoo; it is said to be an “interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility, with the breathtaking view of its dominating scenic boulders amidst trees and greens.”
The Zoo hopes to help children and adults alike in rediscovering life amongst the animals, and is committed to facilitating education, and the conservation of endangered species.
Little kids would surely enjoy interacting with animals like camels, deer, ostriches, orangutans, and parrots at the petting zoo. Children can feed the animals through the Zoo’s Animal Snax campaign. You could also opt to take a ride together on the “tiburin” or small horse-drawn carriage while teaching your kids about the wonders of nature.
At the Butterfly Garden, you can introduce simple Science lessons on metamorphosis and talk about the life cycle of butterflies (caterpillar to pupa or chrysalis to butterfly). A preschooler like ours can already understand these concepts.
Baluarte Zoo also offers a live animal show four times day, seven days a week. Visitors get to “meet” about eight to ten exotic creatures up close and personal.
Most parents would also probably be pleased to know that admission to the Zoo is FREE! So if you’re planning a trip to Northern Luzon anytime soon, make sure to include Baluarte Zoo in your itinerary!
Baluarte Zoo is a ten-minute drive away from Vigan City. Zoo patrons are given free admission and free use of its facilities in the picnic areas. It is open daily from 7am to 6pm. Patrons are free to bring their own food. Baluarte staff can also accommodate educational tours. Call +6377-722-7186 or visit www.chavitsingson.net/baluarte/ for details.