Think, explore and imagine
The Esplora Interactive Science Centre at Bighi was opened yesterday by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Esplora, partly funded by European Union funds, aims to foster a culture of scientific curiosity and imagination by igniting a passion for investigation, where visitors are encouraged to explore, think and imagine.
The renovation of a historic hospital into the Esplora Interactive Science Centre has taken almost two and a half years to complete and has cost around €26 million; €14.5 million of the funds coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under Operational Programme I, Cohesion Policy 2007-2013: Investing in Competitiveness for a Better Quality of Life, Priority Axis I Enhancing Knowledge and Innovation.
Esplora is housed in a number of wings of the former Bighi Royal Naval Hospital and has a footprint of 22,000 meters squared.
The renovated complex now consists of several buildings and outdoor spaces, all interconnected following an extensive restoration and development process. The main exhibition halls and the landscaped gardens contain 250 exhibits making this science cen- tre fun, thrilling and enjoyable. Moreover, there is an Activity Centre for visitors to experience hands-on workshops and entertaining science shows, making science relevant to our everyday lives.
At least 56 science shows and 256 hands-on science workshops will be held annually in the Activity Centre. A number of outreach activities will be held in Gozo to entice Gozitan students and the public to visit Esplora. Moreover, the new science centre will host the screening of 618 Planetarium shows.
In the past, the Royal Naval Hospital Bighi buildings, built in 1832, served the eastern Mediterranean in the 19th and 20th centuries. Furthermore, in conjunction with the RN Memorial Hospital at Mtarfa, they contributed to the nursing and medical care of casualties whenever hostilities occurred in the nearby regions.
The hospital was visited by Kings, Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers. Today this place will be instrumental in encouraging children to immerse themselves in a unique interactive and collaborative science experience, while offering a wide variety of learning opportunities to everyone.
Esplora is a Malta Council for Science and Technology project.
Science was the order of the day yesterday at the newlyinaugurated and stunning Esplora Interactive Science Centre at the former Bighi Royal Naval Hospital in Kalkara
Photo: Jonathan Borg
Photo: Jonathan Borg