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In Tartu there’s a fresh, new attraction that might just blow your mind. At the very least it’ll put your view of reality – or what you thought was reality – to the test. Here you can take a gravity-defying bike trip along a cable suspended high in the air, ride an elevator down into the bowels of the Earth, examine the inside of a raincloud, peer down a tunnel to Australia, explore distant planets and still be back in time for a pancake lunch.
We’re talking of course about the new AHHAA Science Centre, a recent addition to the city’s tourism scene that’s a must-see destination for visitors, particularly (though by no means exclusively) for kids.
Back in 1997 a few dedicated folks from the University of Tartu decided to put together some clever, hands-on exhibits with the aim of getting the younger generation of Estonians excited about science. They named the project ‘AHHAA’ after that very universal expression of discovery.
Now, thanks to its years of popularity, the project has been given its very own high-tech building in downtown Tartu. The 7,000-square-metre facility not only has space for its dozens of interactive displays, it has its own shop, conference rooms and even a restaurant. Since opening its doors in May 2011, the centre has attracted more than 10,000 visitors each month.
It’s science, but not as you know it
Don’t think science ‘museum’ – the AHHAA centre isn’t a place where you look at a bunch of exhibits behind glass. Your first clue to just how different this experience is will come when you buy your ticket and they scan your fingerprint for biometric access.