By: Jou Pabalate
Growing up in Riyadh, my idea of learning about science outside the classroom was limited to a visit to the Malaz zoo, a dairy farm and watching an environmental episode of Salamatak on Saudi Channel 1 (the song is still stuck in my head, I’m a 90s kid). We didn’t have discovery museums neither did we know who Bill Nye the Science Guy was.
Flash forward to 2015; the city has taken great leaps in creating learning hubs that aim to foster a more knowledgeable and scientifically engaged generation of youth. Leading this change is the King Abdullah Center for Renewable and Atomic Energy (KA CARE) that together with the National TalentS Company, created the Mishkat Interactive Center.
When I entered the 4,200sqm science center, I was dazzled and awed. It made me want to be a kid again. The facility houses everything from interactive exhibitions, programs and the latest technologies in energy generation.
The main goal of Mishkat, a name derived from the Quran to describe the light and guidance of Allah, is to inspire the youth to be energy innovators. It instills at an early age, the important role we play in creating a greener and sustainable future for Saudi Arabia. And the best part? Mishkat and its science communicators make it fun, engaging and memorable for all ages—including adults. Here are the top 5 things to do when visiting Mishkat:
Be An Energy Explorer
The energy exhibition lets children learn about the different ways energy can be created, harnessed and used. Miniature wind farms, solar panels and robot arms and thingamabobs, the kids will have the chance to experience it all first-hand.
Walk through the Energy Hall
The fancy lights and interactive panels will capture a child’s as well as your attention. After that, you’ll find yourself startled but equally fascinated by the different energy facts, big ideas and global environmental issues the installation tackles. The aim here is to let children think of the energy problems we have today and spark an interest in discovering their role in creating a greener future.
Invent and Innovate Your Future
Now is the time to inspire the kids to be the difference they want to see. In the Energy Futures exhibit, Mishkat introduces children to various prototypes and latest technologies to make sustainable energy. In the words of the Lorax, “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become,” and in this case, making them curious is a key step in molding little innovators and inventors of tomorrow.
Watch and Learn
Mishkat offers a variety of educational programs and presentations that are shown regularly. The large screen film areas allows kids to be submerged under the sea, get transported inside a nuclear turbine or be immersed a thrilling quick trip to space. There are also events conducted all year round including a high energy science show that makes you feel like your in the middle of a National Geographic.
Drop By the Energy Store and Recharge Café
While it’s mainly a souvenir shop, the energy store offers recycled items, school supplies, energy saving gadgets and green clothing. It’s the first of what we hope would be a trend of green eco-shops in the city. On the other hand, the Recharge Café is a good venue to sit back and relax while you wait for the kids. The place is sometimes booked for themed events. Most of which are informal and intriguing talks on sustainability and eco-living talks for adults.
- Book your class or group visit through the website: www.mishkat.org.sa
- There’s no entrance fee for students
- Mishkat is one of the friendliest environments for people with disability. It’s fully wheelchair accessible and caters to students with special needs. Make sure to call +11 8086060 so assist you better.