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“Science fun”

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre
Ranked #22 of 183 things to do in Johannesburg
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 16 December 2012

Really entertaining for the kids and adults alike. True value for money. Inter-active exhibits just add to the fun. Make sure to take a bit of extra cash for the hands on demo classes that available.

Thank Razia K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 December 2012

Lot's of interactive experiments to play with and be entertained. Most times there is also an exhibition included in the ticket price.

Thank Sarah S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2012

Sometimes on a day off or during a trip, you just need a way to entertain children for a few hours. This seemed like a very constructive way to do so.

Sci-Bono is touted as South Africa's largest science center. Apparently, along with the tourism aspect of the attraction, it also serves an educational role in the community by offering a variety of workshops and classes related to sciene and technology. It seems like it may hold an even more important role in this respect which we did not witness as visitors.

The center takes an engaging approach to science similar to children's museums in the United States. There are 3 football/soccer activities which burn some energy the moment the kids step through the door. One looks clocks the velocity at which you kick the ball, with some related reading nearby. Another offers an activity involving peripheral vision. And a third is a series of puzzles assembling balls of different patterns.

An entertaining area for children in the early elementary school range was like a little construction site. It lends itself best to getting a group of children working together. First, they don hard hats and reflective vests. They dump foam blocks down a tipple, cart them by wheel barrow to storage bins, and them move them down conveyor belts to move them to the work site to construct walls within a metal framework.

Another display nearby the kids liked was an infrared scanner. It demonstrated differences in body heat and explained it a little. A few other first-floor activities included mostly hand-eye coordination, such as operating a crane and sitting in a flight simulator.

One of the best areas was the electricity exhibit. Some great hands-on activities demonstrate how power is generated, how batteries work and how they store energy. A visitor can sit on a cycle and generate power, and see how much it takes to power a light bulb compared to a fan and other appliances. The designers and the utility company sponsoring this clearly put a lot of thought and effort into this area. It includes some education about conservation as well.

On the top floor, medical science takes a look at the effects of smoking. It gives children a fairly graphic picture of the consequences.

There are also more hands-on puzzles here which are geared toward problem-solving skills and coordination. How to make certain shapes out of pieces, how to move objects from one place to another through obstacles. Rubic's Cube sorts of stations, though not as complex.

There were also a couple of displays involving video games which we just did not understand. It seems like maybe there were not working properly. Probably because they attracted a lot of use in the past. There was a Wii or an xBox encased in a plastic display which didn't do anything when you tried to operate it. We ran into a few items like this.

That brings up one down side we experienced. Some of the areas, such as the construction site, seemed like they could have used a moderator to help get a large group of children engaged in an activity. There were people around to answer questions, but not really coordinating or facilitating things. This is not exclusive to this center by any means. I've seen the same thing at similar places in Chicago and other parts of the U.S. Midwest.

There was an area about interpersonal communication which I think is more designed with an instructor in mind. It was winter, so we might have hit the museum during a time of year when they do not approach some exhibits the same way. I'm not sure.

There was still a lot which was self-explanitory and needed no assistance.

To offer a little advice to get the most out of the visit, my main recommendation would be ask a lot of questions. Learn when and where any special demonstrations are the minute you walk in the door. Get specifics. We wanted to have the kids take part in a class which was listed, but it was either in an inconspicuous area of the building or it did not take place as listed.

And if something doesn't seem to make sense, ask somebody what it is supposed to do. I think a few of the attendants were just teenagers there to just help keep an eye on things though. So if something doesn't work or doesn't make sense, you might just have to move on.

This doesn't describe each and every display and activity. It just provides some of the highlights to give you a general idea of what to expect.

We took three children on a Saturday. Probably spent four hours there, which was maybe a little too long or just about right.

The parking lot right in front included a gracious attendant guiding visitors and securing vehicles. There's no fee, so you might consider a gratuity.

Admission is very reasonable. Converts to less than $3US for adults and $2US for children. Kids under six and seniors are admitted free.

There's a little food court area which offers you an option for feeding the kids before seeing something else in the neighborhood. However, we did not eat there. So I cannot say anything about the food.

Check the web site for special events and workshops to plan ahead, I might make your visit even more rewarding. http://www.sci-bono.co.za/

In the event the children grow bored with this attraction, or if you want to plan this visit in conjunction with doing something else, there are a few other places to go in the immediate vicinity.

It puts you in the neighborhood of the Museum Africa and the Market Theatre and the Nelson Mandela Bridge. Sci-Bono lies just south of them. Since you are practically downtown, there are tons of other things within a short drive.

GPS note: Coming from the south, we took the Carr Street exit off the M1 highway. If you are exploring by rail, this is near Braamfontein station. However, I cannot vouch for traveling in this way. Only for the newer Gautrain system.


Thank RamblinIMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2017 via mobile
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Thank sandced
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2017
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Thank SkyKing92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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