Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Goat-burg Part Two: Universeum

My main goal for the day was to get to a place called the Universeum. Armed with my hotel map, I continued along Nya Allén. Unfortunately, I missed my turnoff and ended up heading too far west. Instead of doubling back, I thought I'd take the next turn. That way I would see more of Gothenburg. I made a left at Södra Vägen and walked along past the exercise ovals. It was all terribly busy. It was not level of population density that I had been used to for the past six months. Eventually I reached the huge roundabout/traffic chaos at Korsvägen. There were cars and pedestrians going everywhere. So confusing. This photo was taken just south of there. You can see the towering spire of what I would find out later is part of Liseberg at the top, and the Universeum is at the lower right.And so I had arrived. I didn't really know what to expect of it, I had just seen it on one of the Gothenburg tourist websites as something good to do if you're in the city. I would describe it as a cross between Scitech and AQWA. It cost 135SEK (something like AU$24) to enter at the time I went. Their website is if you are interested in having a look. They even have lockers (on two floors!) for hire. Since it was much warmer inside than outside, I used a locker to store my excess clothes. Once I had worked out where the actual entry to the main part of the Universeum was, I used my entry pass to access these cool lifts. They actually travel diagonally, along the side of the building. They take you from the entry floor up to the Water's Way (Vattnets Väg) exhibit. It's about all the different sorts of water environments (and the life in them) around Sweden. The exhibit is not flat. It starts up very high and progresses downwards. This was done presumably to imitate the mountainous areas in the north of Sweden and the flatter parts in the south. Here is a view looking down on the exhibit from the top part, where you can learn about the Sami people and their eight seasons a year of reindeer herding.

And now some of the animal life you can see in the tanks. I think these are trout, but I'm not sure.
This little guy is a guzzler. His first name starts with G, but I can't recall it. Apparently he has something wrong with him and there are signs saying not to disturb him. He spends most of the time asleep. He can't swim properly.
How's this for a luminous fish!
Here's a lobster...
...and a crab.
Here's a bright pink sea urchin. This was in a tiny display in the mezzanine area. This had a touchpool, as well as some small exhibits about forests, fish and sharks. Coming off this area was the Deadly Snakes exhibit. There was a sign saying no flash photography, so I didn't take any in there. The snakes were all good at camouflage, because most I was not able to see (either that or they had been taken out of their enclosures).
The other exit from the mezzanine area leads to the rainforest exhibition. It was so humid in there! It was so misty, but the place was teeming with life. I found a little bird right near the entrance and tried to take a photo of it. If you look REALLY carefully, you can see it. It is hard to see because it was coloured green so it blends in with the plants, and also it was so foggy that my camera lens fogged up.

I didn't really know how to deal with the moisture on the lens. I just wiped it off. But unfortunately I didn't manage to get all of it, as you can see from this photo of an eel. There's still some fogginess in the centre of the lens.

The universeum has a family of monkeys in there. The other thing you notice a lot of are the butterflies. Sadly, I was not able to get a photo of the tops of their wings - they are such a brilliant blue - but they just would not stay still long enough for me to wipe the lens and take the photo. Here is the underside of the wing, though.

This one's just of the greenery in the rainforest.

On the lowest floor, there is this bizarre bird. I'm not sure where its other leg is, if it has one. The huge toes on the foot are designed so displace the bird's weight over a large surface area, so it is less likely to make the leaves it stands on collapse into the water below.
This is a photo of terrible quality, but it's of a turtle climbing through its lunch plate of lettuce.

The other side of the Universeum is the "Scitech" side. There were many interactive exhibits the Swedish instructions of which I could understand simply because I had seen similar ones at Scitech. One of the exhibits in the central staircase did catch my eye though. It was designed to show how positive whole numbers (besides 1) are either prime, or can be written as the product of two or more primes. They used a different colour to represent each prime. In this photo, you can see for instance that 71, 73, 79 and 83 are prime. Also, 2 is blue and 3 is yellow, so 72 = 2x2x2x3x3. The rainforest exhibit is in the background.

Later, I discovered where the Universeum makes most of its money - in the shop and the cafe. The prices were very high. I bought two of the cheapest things, which were a plastic keyring-type-thing and a pencil, for the equivalent of about AU$5.50. It was very easy to spend hours and hours there. It was getting late and I had a train to catch soon, so I left and started heading north towards the hotel again. More photos of this walk back will be in my next post.