Think, ex­plore and imag­ine

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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