National Science and Technology Museum
National Science and Technology Museum (No. 720, Jiouru 1st Rd., Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City) – located nearly four hours (354 km) south of Taipei (in Kaohsiung City), this museum, opened in 1997, aims to enrich citizens’ knowledge of science and technology, inspire them to push back the frontiers in these fields, and record and present Taiwan’s related achievements. The NSTM (as it’s locally known) is not merely a city museum, but an institution with a national role. As such, it’s a source of pride for Kaohsiung’s citizens, some 800 of whom serve as volunteers, working alongside the 150 salaried staff.
There’s plenty in this museum’s 14 exhibition halls that will educate and entertain both children and adults. Among the permanent exhibitions, visitors with an interest in East Asian history will enjoy the Hall of Chinese Achievements; before entering the museum, they should spend some time examining the replica armillary sphere (an instrument used to make astronomical measurements) that stands in front of the main building.
More conventional displays focus on aeronautics, computers, the living environment, biotechnology, renewable energy, and medicine. The Air Navigation and Aerospace Hall on the sixth floor features a fighter-jet simulator; for NT$30 per person, you can pretend to be a “Top Gun” engaging in dogfights with enemy aircraft. Alternatively, strap on a special harness and feel what it’s like to walk on the surface of the moon, where gravity is only one-sixth of the Earth’s.
Admission: NT$100 (adult), NT$70 (students), free for children under 121 cm in height, and seniors. Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Tuesday-Sunday) (closed on Mondays and Chinese New year’s Eve/Day).