Five-year-old Nikita Menon felt like she was at the centre of the universe. Ten-year-old Chititosh probably smiled his widest behind an astronaut helmet. And even 30-year-old Ravi Gejage was amazed hearing the history of some of the constellations.
Each of them learnt about space and its history from Mumbai’s four-decade-old science museum — Nehru Planetarium.
Located off Annie Besant Road in Worli, the museum has been a realm of space and science for both Mumbaikars and tourists, regardless of age.
Visiting with his son and neighbours’ children, Luis Castelino claimed that he has never seen the boys so well behaved.
“This is a good weekend hangout. The officials there also entertain the kids with interesting facts. The ‘Stars & Wonders of the Universe’ show was amazing and very informative. Children were so engrossed,” Castelino said.
While a tour around the lobby took them about 40 minutes, the show took 30 minutes.
New to the city, Ravi Gejage last studied his passion, science, 15 years ago in school.
“Nehru Planetarium is my first tourist thing to do in the city. They made re-learning astronomy a pleasant experience. I came alone, but didn’t feel lonely,” said Gegaje, who is originally from Kolhapur and recently got transferred to Mumbai in October, 2016.
Gejage pointed out that the city’s filth has upset him, however, the Nehru Planetarium’s cleanliness is very rare and the energy from the excited children is very encouraging, making it “a happy place” to visit.
There are four 30-minute-long shows in a day, in a 500-seat auditorium. While, there are two shows in Hindi, the other two are in English and Marathi.
With the 3 pm English show sold out out half-an-hour before the screening, Rajesh Nayar, was glad to have booked his tickets online. “Someone told me that the shows have gained popularity, especially among the kids. It is a must-visit for all age groups, especially, schoolchildren. There is a guide, who gives basic information about planets. Then you move to the Sky Theatre, where they show a video. The view is superb. You feel as if you are sitting under an open sky,” he said.
The Moon’s surface and how the Earth looks from the Moon and Mars are popular points of display that attract a lot of footfalls.