Weather You Like It: A Science Lovers Museum

This telescope located on the third floor exhibition hall is one example of the hands on interactive displays.

This telescope located on the third floor exhibition hall is one example of the hands on interactive displays.

Nestled beside the Dongguan botanical garden in Nanchang is the Dongguan Meteorological Bureau from where daily weather updates for the city are observed, diagnosed and made known to the public. The bureau has recently opened a 3-story facility for the public, to educate visitors about weather and climate facts and to create an awareness of weather and environmental issues such as the ramifications of our carbon footprints.

The Dongguan Meteorology and Astronomy Museum is open to public access upon prior appointment via their Web portal. Opening days will usually be Saturdays for the public, and Monday to Friday for special group appointments.

All displays and explanations are in Chinese with a few English titles. So it would be advisable to take someone who can interpret, although the facility’s chief, Mr. Huang Feng, can give you a guided tour with reasonable English.

The basement has a mini-movie theater where English movies based on weather disasters are played. We were informed that the movies are changed frequently. A miniature aerial view model of the meteorology facility shows the various processes and equipment used to measure and forecast the weather. A visual presentation shows the inner workings of the Meteorology Bureau. A mini green screen functioning as a studio for visitors to act as weather presenter is among many other interactive features.

There are a few games centered towards carbon footprint and pollution that affect weather and climatic conditions. Information on alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind is also presented, along with information of weather warning signs for extreme weather. The varied exhibits serve as an eye opener to learn about weather and climate in Dongguan, and in general.

A simulation of an observatory control room and weather station with satellite images. On the screen above visitors can watch a video on weather forecasts and broadcasting.

A simulation of an observatory control room and weather station with satellite images. On the screen above visitors can watch a video on weather forecasts and broadcasting.

One of the most unique and interesting displays is on the ground floor. A dark room with a suspended glowing sphere which uses the Science of a Sphere (SOS) display system. The SOS system uses computers and video projectors to display data on a large animated sphere that acts as our planet. The display constantly changes showing various weather conditions, geographic landscapes and climatic changes.

The facility is an attempt by the bureau to give access to information on weather and climate to the public and what they can do to improve and be more aware of it. It is informative and well organized. It sure is a comprehensive one-stop locale opening up knowledge on the behind the scenes action and implication of the daily 5-minute weather report you see on the news or the weather update you get on your smart phone.

Information:

Address: No. 1 Tangongtang Road, Nancheng, inside Dongguan Botanical Garden.
南城区坦公塘路1号(东莞植物园内)

How to get there: Bus route 10 starting from Cultural Square in Guancheng passes by the area, get off at the Dongguan Zhiwuyuan (Dongguan Botanical Garden) stop. It takes about half an hour by car from Dongcheng.

Web site: http://www.dg121.com/default.asp

Contact: Mr. Huang Feng 136 0025 1759 (limited English)

Reservations: Register on their official Weibo account: http://weibo.com/dgweather. Available twice a month whenever they post the notice.

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