It is hard to miss the Hong Kong Space Museum if you happen to find yourself at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Kowloon Island and walking along Salisbury Road. Its interesting and unique egg-shaped dome would surely catch your eye and this is the main reason why this 8,000 square meter museum remains to be one of the popular landmarks in Hong Kong. It is also the first ever planetarium in the country when it was completed in 1980.
While exploring the museum, you have to remember that there are two parts â€“ east and west. The east wing houses the Hall of Space Science, the Space Theatre and other offices. The west wing, on the other hand, houses the Hall of Astronomy, Lecture Hall, astronomy book store, offices and gift shops.
Entering the Stanley Ho Space Theatre excited me. It was pretty huge having a total of 23 meters in diameter of domed screen plus a seating capacity for around 300 people. The magnificent Space Theater, which is believed to be one of the largest planetariums in the world, features several shows like the Sky Shows and Omnimax Screenings. The Hong Kong Space Museum is proud to have an Omnimax Film Projector. To further explain, the OMNIMAX (or IMAX DOME) is a variation of the IMAX but its distinct characteristic is that it is specifically designed to project on tilted dome screens. You can catch these shows daily at different schedules too. Of course, I wouldnâ€™t miss an opportunity to watch a show. I bought tickets for the next one and settled comfortable in my seat to watch the presentation that is shown on the dome itself. If you prefer a different language other than English, then all you have to do is wear the ear phones provided so that you can listen to Cantonese, Mandarin and even Japanese versions.
As for admission fees for the Stanley Ho Space Theater shows, the front stall seats cost HK$ 24 while the rest cost HK$ 32. Discounted tickets are offered to students, people with disabilities and senior citizens. If discounted, the front stall seats cost HK$12 while the other stalls cost HK$ 16. Each show can last from 40 minutes to one hour.
After catching that show, I headed to the other halls namely the Hall of Space Science and the Hall of Astronomy to check out the different interactive exhibits. The Hall of Space Science is divided further into a couple of sections. One section is called the Ancient Astronomical Area and another one is the Science Fiction area, a section where visitors can choose videos that discuss various science-related topics. If you would like to know about rockets like how these were invented and what makes them â€œflyâ€ then you must visit the Early Rockets Area. There is another section called the Satellite and Space Probes Area wherein visitors can learn about space probes and satellites. At the Launch Vehicles Area, visitors can try out the â€œgyrochairâ€ and learn more about gyroscopic stabilization. This one, I got to try myself! There are also other sections called the Space Station Area, the Future Space Programmes Area and the Space Shuttle Area. But my favourite among all the sections of the Hall of Space Science is the Manned Spaceflight Area. In here, I was strapped to a gravity device that allowed me to experience a simulated moon walk. That was exciting!
The Hall of Astronomy was equally fascinating. There was an Observational Astronomy Area, Solar Science Area, Stars Area, Universe Area and a Solar System Area where you will find a giant model of the Solar System. In the Stars Area, you can learn more about the various celestial formations like the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and Orion.
Aside from these exhibits and shows, the Hong Kong Space Museum also puts together a lot of activities yearly in order to arouse the interest of people, specifically students, in astronomy. These activities include stargazing, astronomy-related competitions, lectures or workshops, astronomy film showing, etc. The website of the museum is constantly updated for the regular visitors who would like to be in the loop when it comes to the latest updates on astronomy, new Omnimax shows, news bits, etc.
All those exhibits and watching that 40-minute show at the Space Theater really entertained me. I was glad that I stopped by to look around because even for a short while outer space was within my reach even if in reality it was so far.
Address: Hong Kong Space Museum, No. 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Telephone Number: (852) 2721 0226
Fax Number: (852) 2311 5804
Operating Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday â€“ 1:00pm to 9:00pm; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays â€“ 10:00am to 9:00pm