Monday, May 13, 2013

Hamagin Space Science Museum

I had heard of the Hamagin Space Science Museum in Yokohama a couple of times, and recently decided to invite our homeschooling group along for a field trip. To my surprise, quite a few families took me up on the offer! We had a BLAST and it was a great day trip.

Here's the specific info:

Hamagin Space Science Center
5-2-1, Yokodai, Isogo-ku, Yokohama, 235-0045
Open:  09:30 - 17:00 (during summer vacation -18:00) admission until 1 hour before closing
Closed: 1st, 3rd Mondays each month (open if holiday), Dec.29 to Jan.3, and occasional maintenance
Admission: Adult: 400 yen; Elementary student / Junior high students: 200 yen
Space Theater Admission: Adult: 600 yen; Age 4 / Junior high student: 300 yen

We took the train and it was a very easy and quick ride. It was maybe 30 minutes of travel and when we arrived at our final stop, the museum was only a 5-10 minute walk and very easy to find. There IS some parking, and one reason I took the train was because I had heard that parking is scarce and can be expensive outside the museum. Plus, my kids just really enjoy the train. If you go by train, the nearest stop is Yokodai Station. It cost me only 400 yen for myself and my kids to enter, because they were free (age 6 is considered "elementary school"), and because we went on a weekday, the place was virtually empty.

The museum was a total of 5 floors, plus two basement floors down below. We started at the top and worked our way down. As soon as we stepped off the elevator, the kids loved the place. They loved the dim lights, the decor, and of course, all the buttons to push. Although everything was in Japanese, many of the exhibits/stations also had English translations written to the side.

On this floor (5th), there was also a presentation about rockets from one of the staff. We had no idea there would be a presentation, if they're scheduled at certain times, or if they just decided to do it because there were a lot of kids there at that time. But, be warned - the entire presentation was in Japanese (not surprisingly!) and some of the younger kids lost interest. It was a fun demonstration, however, about how to build rockets out of everyday household materials. 

Our kids were having a blast with all the buttons and exhibits, but they went wild on the 3rd floor. We walked into a huge play area! It had a soft play area for the little ones and huuuuuge climbing area for the big kids. The climbing area had ladders, tunnels, walkways, and slides. We spent a LOT of time here. There were also some "rides" for the bigger kids, showing what it's like to maneuver in space.

Preschool kids had to have an adult go with them into the climbing area.... so, of course, I had to get in on the action!

One of our girls is up there in that cube!

Having a ball!

Nothing in this room moves, but the second you step inside, you feel like it's flipping over. It was pretty cool.

Everyone in our group packed lunches and I'm glad we did. The museum has a cafe on one of the basement floors, but it was closed that day and my kids would have been cranky little monsters if I hadn't brought our lunch with us. People from our group went down to eat in the cafe's seating area when kids started getting hungry and then headed right back up to finish going through the museum once they were done.

My little scientist.

As if one play area wasn't enough, the lowest basement floor has more play areas for the kids. Though this space was smaller, it had learning stations and a giant robot playground that my kids swear was the best part of the whole museum. 

We stayed much longer than we originally thought, but it was because our kids were having such a great time. This was honestly one of the best science museums I had been to - even in the States - for younger kids because of all the play area. And for roughly $4-5 dollars for the three of us, you can't beat it. There was also a large playground in a park right outside the museum, but we skipped it because our kids were bordering on exhaustion when we left. It was a hit, however, because Thing1 keeps telling everyone they need to go back with us. Definitely check it out!

1 comment:

  1. I'm doing a little research as I write a little story about a trip we took to the Hamagin Space Center when my daughter was a toddler. She's 18 now!. My main memory is of the Robot play area - thanks for fleshing out the details!