The top three things we loved about Future Park

By Dalena Theron
20 October 2017
PHOTO: Supplied

PHOTO: Supplied

This YOU reader recently took her toddler to Future Park – this is why they loved it

I don’t usually do exhibitions and big excursions with my son because I like to focus on simple home play and things that don’t take a lot of effort to entertain, like going for walks and riding his motorbike. But for Future Park I made an exception, and there’s no doubt in my mind it was more than worth it.  

I was a little worried he might not “get it” as the exhibition is for primary school kids and he’s only three years old but if only I’d known . . . He loved it so much he was angry with me for making him leave – after two and a half hours inside!  

No 1 favourite thing: The Story of Time

This is the wall you see first when you walk into the exhibition and it’s easy to overlook it as the first glance of the exhibition is overwhelming. In fact it frightened my son slightly. We took a while for our eyes to adjust to the new environment, took a stroll around and then came back to this wall. It’s, simply put, magical.

What you see when it’s quiet in the exhibition (which we were lucky to experience) is a purple-blue midnight-type coloured wall with strange symbols “falling” down. At first glance it could seem like just a promotional wall.

But the moment you start touching the symbols objects appear: a fox jumps out of one and runs along the wall, a tree grows from another, the sun rises from the next. At one point an elephant appears, feeling larger than life.

To properly experience and understand it you have to actually stand a few metres away and watch people’s interactions with the wall. In the end my son, Daniël, spent most of his time here and afterwards he kept asking to see the videos I made of him touching the symbols.

No 2: “Riding” the whale

This is another “activity” that’s easy to miss (even though the moment you see it you can’t believe you overlooked it when you walked in). It’s a beautiful, bright, moving image on the floor right next to The Story of Time. At first glance it just looks like a light projection to further enhance the hall. But stand closer; in fact, stand on top of the image and feel your head start spinning as if you’re really riding a whale in the deep blue ocean. My son kept running back to the whale to “ride” it and truth be told I was equally fascinated by it.

No 3: It’s a tie between the dragon in Sketch Town and feeding the fish in Sketch Aquarium.

Daniël loved seeing his (my) fish swim around in the tank, and he loved feeding the fish even more. But every time the dragon appeared on the wall where the cars are projected he’d become completely obsessed and want to touch it and watch it until it flew away again. Boys!

My tips for parents of toddlers

1.       Try to go during times when it’s quiet. I noticed Daniël tended to hold back when there were older kids or too many other children also interacting with the artwork, as toddlers often do. It’s usually during the late afternoons and on sunny days during the week that there are fewer visitors. The exhibition is open till 6pm each day but I wouldn’t go later than 4pm – you need time to take it all in!

2.       Warn your children about what they’re going to see and try to hold your child when you enter as the experience is overwhelming at first sight. It’s a completely immersive experience to be inside.

3.       Take time to understand each activity so you can get the most out of it for your child. There are promotors stationed at each activity to explain it and go through it with you as not all the activities are straightforward. The promotors also know all kinds of tricks, like how to make the clouds rain on The Table Where Little People Live or what to do with the virtual strawberries and eggs that appear on those little tables.   

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