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A New Science Museum for Kids Opens in Portugal’s Algarve

by Barbara Rogers

Apr 29, 2024

© Alvaro German Vilela | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

Lagos is a lively town in Portugal’s western Algarve, and a new attraction there makes it especially appealing to family travelers. Lagos Ciência Viva Science Centre is filled with innovative hands-on activities centering around the science of navigation, and as kids (and parents) move through interactive exhibits, they also learn about an important part of the history of Lagos and the world.


Lagos was the departure port for many caravels that set out from Portugal to explore the world during the Age of Discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries. The museum explores the science of navigation using 21st-century technology. Robots, 3-D printers, drones and an arena for chain reactions form a bridge for understanding the principles of physics, weather, ocean currents and the tools early navigators used to explore the world.


In the On-board Communication Room, kids can play a Morse Code game, assemble a radio and decode messages. The Life On-board exhibits explains the parts of a ship and what life was like for long-ago sailors. The whole family will enjoy learning to tie knots that were (and still are) used by sailors.


science museum

© Barbara Rogers

It’s not all about sailing ships and caravels; kids can go inside the control room of the Yellow Submarine to explore under the sea with its periscope. More exhibits are outside on the terrace overlooking the harbor. Here you’ll find a lighthouse and the Boat Garden. Model sailboats float in a wide pool with fans around its perimeter. Use the fans to create wind to send the boats in different directions.


Kids can’t resist climbing onto the replica caravel and trying to figure out how to open the treasure chest. Meanwhile, parents can sit on benches in the garden and enjoy the view over the harbor and Lagos Bay.


Tip: The museum is on a steep hill above the harbor, but you can avoid the long climb by entering the public market and taking the elevator to the top floor. At the top you’ll find an exit to the left that leads right to the museum’s door.


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