The best learning destinations
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The best learning destinations

Looking for a weekend escape? These museums and centres offer engaging experiences perfect for all ages and interests

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The best learning destinations
Egat Learning Center's two new zones feature innovative immersive exhibitions.

As clouds of rain spread, Life explores interesting museums and learning centre experiences that can accommodate various lifestyles and those wanting a quick weekend trip.

Egat Learning Center

With the launch of brand-new immersive exhibitions at its two newly renovated zones, Egat Learning Center is becoming a popular playground for families to learn how to generate power from fossil fuels and renewable energy as people look for solutions for sustainable living.

Situated in Nonthaburi's Bang Kruai district, this learning centre opened seven years ago but recently underwent a makeover to integrate cutting-edge multimedia to illustrate the history of Thailand's electrical industry as well as tasks of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).

There are five interactive zones and a team of 10 guides on duty to ensure people of all ages enjoy an engaged educational experience. The 90-minute journey begins at the Spark zone, where visitors are required to register their names, take a photo and choose their avatar to receive a radio-frequency identification card.

Egat Learning Center's two new zones feature innovative immersive exhibitions.

Upon reaching the Elextrosphere zone, visitors can imagine travelling to the future of the planet. The room features mirror walls and is designed to resemble an immersive theatre where a lengthy 30m interactive touchscreen projector spans from ceiling to floor.

With real-time rendered digital art installations, visitors can collect blue balls and see them transform into colourful luminous wildlife and learn about their lives. Subsequently, the thrilling 15-minute 6D movie New World Right Carbon is announced by the emergence of red balls, allowing visitors to join forces with human-droid heroes to defend the Earth from the carbon devil.

Standing at the heart of the Right Carbon zone, the massive tree-like sculpture Power Of Life is a portrayal to the harmonious coexistence of humans, nature and technology. To generate and accumulate force, visitors can walk, jump or strike piezoelectric material sheets that convert various forms of mechanical energy such as pressure, stress and vibration into electricity to bring this lighting tree to life.

Focusing on self-generating energy, the Shibuya train station in Japan has installed piezoelectric power mats on the pathway to supply electricity for automatic opening and closing of doors. Additionally, there are entertaining interactive games that show visitors how to plan and construct smart grids, smart houses and smart urban planning for sustainable living.

To bring green into your home, guests can learn more about indoor vertical farming which is predicted to become popular in the future as skyscrapers replace agricultural land due to urbanisation and population growth.

Technology that can regulate temperature, light, nutrition and water will make farming easier in the future and increase crop yield while using resources effectively. A full spectrum of LED lights is used to simulate sunshine to regulate and monitor plant development. Red can accelerate plant growth and yield, blue allows leaves to bloom, and white can slow down plant growth.

The tour concludes in the One World zone, where visitors can travel back in time to 1788, the year Alexandro Volta invented the first electric battery, and 1889, the year King Chulalongkorn authorised Siam Electricity Light to operate as an energy business and provide power to the country.

Just a few steps away, young visitors can colour in a drawing of a smart house, a windmill, an LED light bulb, an electric motorbike, van and ferry as well as the tree-like sculpture to depict daily life in a smart city. The drawings are then projected onto a mapping wall that interacts with light and music.

There's also an interactive computer game in which visitors can design a smart city featuring skyscrapers, green spaces and renewable energy resources to track and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, visitors can also see worldwide electricity management and the power grid network of 10 Asean countries.

The PTT Metro Forest Learning Center.

PTT Metro Forest Learning Center

Tucked away in Bangkok's tranquil residential neighbourhood of Prawet, PTT Metro Forest Learning Center functions as a green lung offering a serene environment for families and younger generations to unwind and discover a verdant urban forest that is home to 250 different kinds of native and rarely seen plants.

Launched in 2015, this lush 12 rai park is run by the PTT Reforestation and Ecosystem Institute and was recognised by two awards in 2022 -- Thailand Green Design Awards and the Thailand Tourism Gold Awards.

Its long walls are made out of a dense stand of towering trees as poultry congregates around the entrance to welcome visitors. Looking around, visitors might be reminded of the wasteland that once stood here before the area was transformed into a jungle which currently houses over a 100 different species of animal.

There's a lofty hidden doorway nestled among the lush greenery and bordered by high walls of rammed earth from Rayong, Chon Buri, Ratchaburi and Chachoengsao which can double as insulation to lower the temperature within the building. While strolling down the path, you'll discover a seed wall exhibition with over 60 different plant species from the Metro Forest, including yang na, takien thong, krabak, rang and yang hiang trees.

Inside, the exhibition hall is designed to resemble a cave in a deep forest allowing visitors to learn more about Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki's afforestation technique that involves planting fast-growing groves of native plants to simulate a natural woodland ecosystem as well as the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's "three types of wood, four benefits" principle.

Moving on, a touchscreen interactive display takes visitors through Bangkok's phytosociology, which takes place in a lowland dipterocarp forest and brackish water plant community that runs along river and estuary banks before meeting the ocean. Then, visitors can ascend a green roof, which is designed to be a botanical garden to help reduce heat in the building. There, visitors can come to relax and admire a variety of flora and fauna during the day.

Adjacent to the exhibition building, squirrels leap from branch to branch as a 200m wood skywalk stretches deeper into woodlands to allow visitors to pretend to be adventurers following the sound of a waterfall and explore the biodiversity of brackish water and mixed forests with leafy canopies.

The waterfall and canal are surrounded by a variety of perennial plants, including jambolana, Siamese rough bushes, freshwater mangrove, weeping fig and ebony, to replicate natural settings on the low plain. Visitors can also feel as if they are walking in the sky while learning about the many shapes of rounded, cylindric, conical or irregular tree crowns, as the heights range from 1.1m to 7.64m.

Not far away, the 23m-high observation tower rises in the heart of the forest and visitors can take in breathtaking views of Bangkok's skyscrapers and skyline from the top. Alternatively, birdwatchers can camouflage themselves to observe the habits of native birds such as greater coucal, Eastern spotted doves, Chinese pond heron, Asian openbill, streak-eared bulbul, black-naped oriole and Asian golden weaver.

Back on Earth, visitors can wrap up their adventure in a plant nursery where they can learn how to choose seeds, raise and care for seedlings, and utilise a biodegradation bin to create compost fertiliser.

The Golden Boy attracts visitors to the National Museum Bangkok.

National Museum Bangkok

At the National Museum Bangkok, a huge stream of foreign and local tourists congregate in the Lop Buri Art room throughout the day in hope of catching a glimpse of a 900-year-old statue of the Golden Boy, which returned home last month after being illegally smuggled out of Thailand in 1975 by art dealer Douglas Latchford.

Standing on the 2nd floor of the Mahasurasinghanat building, this ancient 129cm gilded bronze statue is believed to represent the Hindu god Shiva. From 1988 until 2023, it was in the hands of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York after it was first discovered in Ban Yang Pongsadao village in Buri Ram's Lahan Sai district, according to Latchford's books Khmer Bronze and Khmer Gold.

Beside the Golden Boy is a smaller, gilded bronze sculpture of a kneeling woman, found in the Ban Kruad district and believed to have been cast in the 11th century. At the same time, visitors can also see a collection of artefacts from Si Thep Historical Park, which was added to the list of the Unesco World Heritage Sites last year.

The bronze statue of a kneeling woman.

Highlights include an ancient stone statue of Surya (the Hindu solar deity), which wears a high headdress with a nimbus motif, a four-armed Vishnu sculpture, which blends Indian and pre-Angkorian style art, and a timeworn statue of Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan to protect people from Indra's devastating rains and floods. They were all crafted between the 7th and 8th centuries.

Si Thep Historical Park artefacts at the National Museum Bangkok.

Travel info

 

  • Egat Learning Center is at 53 Charan Sanitwong Road, Bang Kruai district, Nonthaburi. It's open from 9am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is free. A 90-minute museum tour can be scheduled in advance at facebook.com/egatlearningcenter or by calling 02-436-8953.
  • The PTT Metro Forest Learning Center is on Sukhaphiban 2 Road, Prawet district, Bangkok. It's open daily from 9am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Admission free. Call 061-385-4414 or visit pttreforestation.com and facebook.com/pttmetroforest.
  • The National Museum Bangkok is at 4 Na Phra That Road, Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. It's open daily from 9am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. Admission is 30 baht for Thais and 200 baht for foreigners. Call 02-224-1333 or visit facebook.com/nationalmuseumbangkok.
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