When I research, it shows that the Nehru Science Centre (NSC) has been open to the public from 1985. Which means that my school must have been one of the first schools in Mumbai to take their students there. In 1986 when we went there, the Nehru Science Centre seemed sleek, immense and equipped with gadgets that showed how truly magical science is.
After three attempts to head to the NSC, I am finally here with my kids. The space is immense and we all gasp simultaneously when we see a massive steam engine and a locomotive, parked in a shed. It is cordoned off but unmanned. There are many such exhibits here. As we walk into the area where the interactive centre is, we are met with massive installations of pre-historic animals. Life-like and in their real sizes, they enthrall the kids, who want to touch. They do.
India’s largest interactive science centre seems abandoned, perhaps because we’ve visited it on a week day and closer to closing time. First conceived as a Science and Technology Museum in the late 1960s, the NSC slowly evolved into being an interactive science centre. It still houses more than 50 hands-on and interactive science exhibits on energy, sound, kinematics, mechanics and transport in a sprawling area of eight acres, in the heart of Mumbai. The space within the centre too, has been thoughtfully designed, with a variety of plants and trees all carefully labelled.
The exhibits are in good shape and keep most kids engaged though upgrades might help liven things up
We start with the light and sight area and interact with equipment that shows how the eye works, how optic fibres perform and how illusions are created.
When you enter the cubicle of mirrors and it seems, as if your head has been lopped off, you finally understand what some magicians have been doing. In the touch and feel space it is amazing to touch nails that shape your hands, feel a jolt of electricity or sit on a bed of nails and be surprised that it does not hurt. The kids loved the sound area where they play the harp, bang virtual drums and run over giant piano keys.
All the equipment is operational, the instructions are clear and the theory behind these exhibits is explained in detail. Inside is a library as well as a science-based toy store. Yet, we notice an air of neglect. Has the equipment been upgraded, ever?
Despite all of this, the Nehru Science Centre is a huge experience. We will return.
Where Nehru Science Centre, E Moses Road, Worli.
Getting there You can reach via road or rail. It lies between Mahalaxmi Railway Station and Worli Naka. Jijamata Nagar is the nearest bus stop. Mahalaxmi (Western) and Byculla (Central) are the nearest railway stations.
Timings 10 am to 6 pm. The ticket counter shuts at 5.30 pm. The centre is open on all days, including Sundays, except on Holi and Diwali.
Charges Rs 40 per head, Rs 20 for parking of four-wheelers
Food We did not explore enough to find a cafeteria. Carry food.
Water Carry water
Restroom Facilities Yes
What is good The space, the museum exhibits, and that even an uninterested child will want to learn about science. What’s not good: Dated equipment, less interested staff.