Beyond what could be deemed a park, nine kilometres of the former riverbed of the River Turia in Valencia has been turned in to an architectural masterpiece featuring science, culture and recreation facilities.
The Príncipe Felipe Science Museum operates under the philosophy of "Not touching is prohibited." It is full of interactive exhibitions about science and technology. Which, while These fun activities and problem-solving challenges, while targeted to children, were a gas for grown ups too.
The Oceanogràfic is Europe's biggest aquarium and features seven marine environments. Though not fans of keeping animals in captivity we were pleased to see our old pals the Gentoo penguins again, and enjoyed the exhibits overall. Our favourited were the shark tunnel, medusas (jellyfish), baby beluga and the dolphin show. The dolphin trainers clearly have a special one-to-one bond with their “pets”. Most exhibits had good info panels focused on conservation of habitat and endangered species. The real marine science, however, goes on behind the public areas.
A really cool experience at the Oceanographic was attending a 4D movie related to Hurricane Lucy. We learned about the weather event’s start as a windstorm evolving into heavy tropical rains across Senegal to its appetite for picking up water travelling west over the Atlantic and its growth into the category four monster that devastating Puerto Rico, Cuba and other areas around the Gulf of Mexico.
The first 4D effect had the sandstorm whipping at our calves which caught us by surprise. Throughout the film we felt winds at various speeds, light rain, heavy rain, wave spray, oceanic bubbles from the churning undersea environment, and debris striking our calves. It was great!
With only three days in Valencia and having been saturated with the art galleries and history of Seville, Cordoba, Malaga and Granada we skipped those kind of venues in Valencia.
However, we did have a fun encounter in the context of the literary arts.
Writer Jonathan Swift’s hero Gulliver is scaled up and sculpted to the size a 70 meter tall man. Gulliver is positioned as if he has just washed ashore and not yet awakened to find himself lashed down and immobilized by the Lilliputians.
Gulliver’s prone body forms ramps, slides and stairs for children to play on. I think it’s brilliant, and certainly beats out the giant Easter eggs, pirogies and sausages in Alberta.