Ahmedabad’s Science City: Science City premises in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad is set to get an aquatic gallery, a nature park and a robotic gallery, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be inaugurating these attractions on Friday. The inauguration would be held virtually. According to a report in IE, the Science City in Ahmedabad came into being after the state government in 1999 set up the Gujarat Council of Science City or GCSC as an autonomous body under the Department of Science & Technology (DST) to realise the Gujarat Science City mandate. It had been set up to merge science with entertainment to encourage scientific temperament in young minds.
The Science City got the first IMAX 3D Theatre in India back during its first phase of development in 2002. During the same phase, a hall of space and a hall of science had been established in the Science City’s main building which has been shaped like a dome. An amphitheatre, a life science park, energy education park, simulated thrill rides, a planet earth pavilion, an activity centre for children, and a musical fountain were also set up in the City during the phase.
The three new additions are a part of the second developmental phase of the Science City, which sees an annual footfall of more than eight lakh.
Ahmedabad Science City’s Aquatic Gallery: Attractions and maintenance
The aquatic gallery has been built across an area of more than 15,000 square metre, and has been equipped with 68 tanks having fresh water, brackish water and marine water, the report said. A whopping 188 marine species have been added to the gallery, including amphibians and penguins, with the total number of animals to be housed in the gallery expected to be 11,690. The gallery would also have a 28-metre shark tunnel, which is expected to be the key attraction due to housing bonnethead sharks, zebra sharks and grey reef sharks.
The gallery is being given exhibit and technical support by New Zealand’s Marinescape, while it would be maintained by Shapoorji Pallonji-Marinescape JV for a minimum of five years. As per the report, the gallery is being constructed and will be maintained at a total cost of Rs 260 crore, and it is poised to be the largest public aquarium in the country.
The species are being procured from different parts of the world. For instance, the penguins have been brought in from South Africa for the exhibit. This means that the species are coming from different eco-regions and are therefore being acclimatised in stages, with each stage lasting for one to two weeks.
Multiple ecosystems like Indian Zone, African Zone, American Zone, Asian Zone among others are being emulated in the various tanks, and that means that precise maintenance of several parameters have to be ensured for the water, including the salinity level, the pH level, the chemical oxygen, etc, to be suitable for the species.
Apart from this, the gallery also has on-site touch pad displays which would allow visitors to select a species and learn more about it. A 5D theatre and an interactive exhibit have also been added in the gallery.
The entry fee of the aquatic gallery is Rs 200 as per the website of the Science City, and for a minimum group of 10 children, school groups would be allowed entry at a subsidised fee of Rs 50.
Robotics gallery and Nature Park: What we know so far
As per the report, the robotics gallery has been developed by Cube Construction Engineering Limited in Vadodara, which will also be maintaining it for the next five years. The construction, operation and maintenance of the gallery collectively cost Rs 127 crore. The gallery is a three-storey unit and it has a self-driving car track on the perimeter. A cafeteria has also been added on the ground floor, but there is a twist – it is manned by robots who act as servers as well as chefs. Interactive exhibits are also present on the ground floor, which also has a courtyard where pop culture robots of Wall-E and Transformer are presented.
At the gallery, the visitors can learn about the journey of the evolution of robots, and how these machines have been able to change the landscape of human lives by serving in many fields including medical surgeries and rescue operations. Apart from this, the gallery also allows visitors to play games like air hockey against robot opponents, or even see robots competing against each other in soccer or badminton. DRDO and ISRO have also added their exhibits to the gallery, and so have engineering institutes. A workshop to encourage youth in the field of robotics has also been incorporated. VR and AR space has also been added, and a performing troupe of robots including five dancing robots, one pianist, a trumpetist and a drummer have also been added for the entertainment factor.
Meanwhile, the nature park spanning across eight hectares has been developed along with the forest department, the report added.