The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart – Mencius
With the proliferation of tablets and computer games today, seeing children play tirelessly in backyards and alleys is rarer than it used to be, let alone witness them revel in museums. But unlike most museums where items on display are shelved behind glass only to be admired but not touched, a certain museum at the heart of Manila features hands-on exhibits for children to enjoy. Museo Pambata (children’s museum) encourages children to “explore and discover various concepts while they play” with its eight theme rooms:
1. Old Manila
This section of the museum takes children into a playful dimension of turn-of-the-century Manila. Here, they can put on traditional attire, know some of our courageous heroes, ride the Tranvia (Spanish for tram car), board a Spanish galleon, or step into a miniature cathedral and a “Bahay na Bato” (stone house) replica. For a kid, learning history has never been this fun!
2. My Body Works
Here, kids can do a semi-Jules Verne and take on a journey to the center of the human body, hehe! This room encourages kids to learn about the functions of our organs and how they work in harmony to keep our bodies healthy.
3. Career Options
Another theme room worth visiting is Career Options where kids are given the opportunity to somewhat explore their future ambitions at a relatively young age. Currently, it features authors and illustrators of various children’s books.
4. I Love My Planet Earth
Discovering more about Mother Earth is the central theme of this room. Here, children can view exhibits on climate change and other environmental issues, and how we can do our part in saving the planet.
5. Pamilihang Bayan
This area is one of the most enjoyable rooms to play at. With rows of neighborhood shops, kids can role-play and practice their “entrepreneurial and budgeting skills.”
Dolls in national costumes, displays and items from different countries will spark the interest of kiddos about nationalities and cultures across the globe.
Karapatan Hall (Hall of Rights) is dedicated to the rights of the child. This is also where various arts and cultural activities for children are held.
Outside the building is this compact herbal garden where one can learn more about plants and their various uses (Unfortunately, the raved spot of simulated rainforest and coastal setting was closed at the time of our visit.)
Staying true to its tagline: “Where learning starts and fun never ends”, Museo Pambata is one of its kind and definitely recommended as a place for children to be educated and have utmost fun! Another good thing about this children’s museum is that it does not have age limit for everyone can be a child at heart (It is even among the favorite pre-nup pictorial venues of quirky couples!). That being said, I have made an oath to bring my niece and nephew to this whimsical world! And no, I am not kidding 😉
Address: Roxas Boulevard cor. South Drive Manila, Philippines
8 AM to 5 PM (Tuesdays to Saturdays)
1 PM to 5 PM (Sundays)
Php 150 (for children and adults)
Museum workers and teachers – FREE
Manila residents with valid IDs – FREE on Tuesdays and 50% discount on other days (not applicable for group tours)
The museum is closed on Mondays and selected official holidays.