I wanted Bambi to do something constructive (parent mode on) with his free time so we went to NEMO, which is a short walk from Centraal Station. On this trip we managed to finally get Bambi his museumkaart.
The museumkaart is such a wonderful way to enjoy the museums in The Netherlands. If you have a local (Dutch) address please do consider it as an option, even if you need to borrow your friend’s address. You get free entry to almost all museums here, and it such a great way to support these institutions. Additionally, you cut the queues, no standing in long lines to buy tickets, for those of you who have witnessed the rows outside Van Gogh Museum — you do realize the value of this. The serpentine queues don’t just cross blocks but wind around them and return with no end in sight.
The NEMO was crowded with the year-end school trips happening but nevertheless was great fun. The children amazed me with their ability to fairly take turns and generously offer help. Though the noise levels were incredibly high.
Spread over five floors the NEMO offers interactive, easy, fun experiments that let you try out first-hand the wonders of science. The exhibits are efficiently organized from gravity balls, to mirror walks, a chemical lab, cycling to cross light years (with information) while fuelling some paper windmills, an interactive game on planets and space shuttles, DNA mapping, and an incredible supply chain organization that displays how your package arrives at your doorstep with overnight delivery.
They have a special section for teens and what is happening in the body, which might be very useful for the coming years. I liked the manner in which the exhibits were interactive, you really need to get your hands into it, even build your own water system to set up a city, albeit messy but absolutely enjoyable. As there are water games it might be handy to carry a change of clothes. The NEMO is bilingual: Dutch and English; the gift shop has several games, which have instructions in English.
While heading back we stopped by the iconic Sea Palace restaurant for lunch. On their website you can see that the NEMO is right next door. We had dim sums, pork and chicken dumplings, chicken pancakes, and rice balls, along with apple juice and an English Breakfast tea. There were two of us and our bill was 25 euros. The drinks cost almost as much as the dim sum, which is pretty much the same deal with Saravana Bhavan in Stadhouderskade.
The Sea Palace offers a serene view of the area around Centraal Station. It was an overcast day with patchy drizzling, so the warm food added a nice cosy touch. A nice way to detox from the noise of NEMO. I think the NEMO post-lunch might be quieter (schools tend to visit in the morning). The service at Sea Palace was indulgent with the waiter chatting with Bambi about his experiences of watching Despicable Me 3.
Sea Palace is kitschy in its decor – tacky even, what it offers is a dim sum experience in all its cliched splendour. It is all about the location and about dominating the landscape with your mega-different appearance; I remember Hong Kong restaurant in Cuttack, where drinking Gold Spot with chicken egg noodles was such exquisite perfection, or the China Town in Lower Manhattan, where the egg rolls were crispy satisfaction.
These pockets of anomaly give so much character to a city. One of my fondest memories is of Apoorva and me eating sushi in Rome, after binging on pizza and pasta every single day, we gobbled up the oriental fare, just so, because we could, and also because we were sick to death eating dough over and over again.
In other news, I have just booked Bambi’s blog. He wants to write more during the holidays and share his experiences. But, he is 10 so we can’t expect him to be regular (maybe he will surprise us) so we will see how this turns out. If not a useful source it might make for a cool memory book for me of all these lazy summer days.
Guest Post by Bambi:
This is what I ate at Sea Palace:
- Chinese pancake
- Riceball, a bit yuck almost made me sick
All of this is called dim sum.
I went to NEMO. At the gift shop I bought:
- Rainbow spinner
- Temple connection
- Space torch
My favorite thing at NEMO was the shrinking rainbow ball and you could also make it bigger.