Aug 7, 2012

Cheekiemonkies in Netherlands: Day 5

Finding NEMO

(Daddy recounts)

The first 4 days of our stay in Amsterdam has been relatively cold - cold enough to warrant our jackets. But Day 5 would see the official arrival of Summer. We awoke to gorgeous blue skies and radiant sunshine, which gave me a good enough excuse to head on out in my Bermudas!

It was a extremely comfortable 25 degrees, so I had no qualms in enjoying a 20-minute walk to our next destination. Well, the superb canal views along the way definitely made the walk much more bearable as well.

Today, we would be heading down to NEMO - the largest science centre in the whole of Netherlands.

See the ship-like structure behind us? That's NEMO and it houses 5 full levels of exciting stuff to do and discover, with everything connected to science and technology.

Basically, there is only one rule in the NEMO - touch EVERYTHING!

The interactive displays are there for only one sole purpose, which is to encourage visitors to use all their senses.

The first four floors of NEMO houses various exhibits ranging from genetic DNA, electricity, water, mind matter to even teen puberty. We spent to close to 2 hours just on the first level alone! The monkies were keeping themselves busy with all the gadgets and experiments on offer. 

Not to be missed though is this 15-minute show which features a large chain reaction circuit. We saw how a moving office chair, popping balloons, falling bricks and many other household stuff come together to launch a rocket in a series of hilarious chain reactions.

The boys moved on to other exhibits after the show, like this house where they had to plaster on the foam bricks.

While Ale couldn't resist being enclosed in a giant soap bubble!

The exhibit which I particularly liked was the Water World one. It is one giant water purification system, where the boys found out how to purify a bucket of water so that it is clean enough to drink.

The boys started out by filling up a bucket with rain water and proceeded to purify the water with various steps like filtration and chlorination. And along the way, they had to try to spill as little as possible... well, because water is a scarce resource.

And since it is the season of Summer Olympics currently, there is a special sporting exhibit from now until 2 September called Sportlab.

The boys were able to participate in sports activities like rowing, cycling and jumping at the interactive Sportlab exhibition. And in the process, they learnt how the body really works and how it moves.

The one sporting activity that the boys enjoyed the most was the one where they had to stop penalties in a football game. They were taught to analyse the body movement of the footballer so as to predict which corner of the net he will shoot at, so as to effectively save the penalty kick. FUN stuff!

And at the end of the day, who took home the Olympic honours?

The 5th level of NEMO is a open-air roof terrace and is open to everyone free of charge in the summer months of July and August.

And it was packed with people! But it wasn't any surprise as there were lots to do for families on the roof terrace. There were huge chess pieces for a game or two, or the popular activity of sitting in a deck chair and just soaking in the brilliant sunshine.

Well, the adults could afford to sunbathe because the kids had something else to keep them occupied.

That's right - a water playground which the kids can play, splash and paddle in!

It was a good thing I didn't bring a change of clothes for the monkies Pity the monkies couldn't join in the splashing fun... but they still had fun with this giant Connect-4 game!

As for meal options, the NEMO has 2 eating places - a small cafeteria on the roof terrace that sells sandwiches and finger food, and a restaurant which offers more food options like burgers, fish & chips and salads. But it wasn't these items that made the boys go all excited. Rather, it was something blue.

Blue mayonnaise! The menu had mentioned how our mind perceives blue food to be not-so-nice tasting because we are not conditioned to see food as being blue. So that was why it serves blue mayonnaise rather than the usual white colour one. And it was enough to fascinate the boys to give it a try.

And they loved it! Guess I can start adding blue colouring into their meals from now on then.

We still had almost half an afternoon to spare by the time we were done with NEMO, so we took the tram down to Bloemenmarkt.

This is Amsterdam's famous floating flower market, and the only one of its kind in the world. Actually, the stalls are on houseboats which are above the canal waters, but they are semi-permanent fixtures now.

I would say it caters mostly to tourists, who seem to like to flock here to view the thousands of blooms in every imaginable color.

But the wifey liked it, so I can't complain.

And the boys were kept intrigued by the presence of plants other than flowers which were being sold at the market.

Mini Venue Flytraps, and they were cheap!

Bearing in mind that we still had shopping on our agenda before retiring for the day, ice cream was once again offered as bribes to the monkies.

Once again, it worked like a charm. We finally got our shopping done, just a day before our final full day in Amsterdam. And it would turn out to be a super fun-filled one!

See MORE photos of our Day 5 Adventures in our Awesome Amsterdam album on our Cheekiemonkies' Facebook page here:

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