Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Globe making

Earlier in the year I glued together a papercraft lunar globe from Canon Creative Park.

Recently I've been thinking about making my own earth globe, but after watching this video it doesn't look easy. The time and skill required is amazing.

[Spotted on]

If you are looking for a very simple sun or moon papercraft project, try this Pixelpapercraft Sun and Moon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Natural History Museum, Stuttgart

We visited the  Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart during our summer holiday.

The museum has two exhibition buildings in Rosenstein park. We only visited the Museum am Löwentor, which contained items from prehistoric times including amber complete with captured insects (like in Jurassic Park) and fossils and reconstructions of cave bears, dinosaurs, mammoths, people and other land and sea creatures.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Miniatur Wunderland

In Hamburg this summer we visited the famous Miniatur Wunderland. It is the world's largest model railway with hundreds of thousands of figures, thousands of moving trains, planes, boats and automobiles.

Computer controlled lighting turns the Wunderland into night every 15 minutes. There is a lot of attention to detail and many comical items to be found as well as many buttons for visitors to start actions in different scenes.

A short clip of some of the models in action

Las Vegas



A construction site

More construction

A rescue in progress


We saw some of the behind the scenes with model makers working on the new Italy section as well as the computer control panels.

Modelmaker at work

Control panel 

Official video of Miniatur Wunderland

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tycho Brahe Planetarium

Did you know that Denmark has an amateur manned space programme?

On our summer trip to Denmark, we visited the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen and saw a slightly damaged spacecraft capsule from the Copenhagen Suborbitals programme. 

The Tycho Brahe spacecraft was launched with the HEAT 1X rocket from a vessel in the Baltic Sea in June 2011. The capsule contained a crash-test dummy and launched successfully but veered off course and the flight was cut short. During the flight the parachutes tore, causing the spacecraft to crash land in the sea at about 200 km/h.

The flight from the astronaut's perspective.

Data from the flight has been used to improve the programme and so despite this setback the missions are continuing. The recovered craft is on display in the planetarium along with many other exhibits about space exploration. 

My son created his version of a spacecraft ready for launch at the planetarium.

The complex contains an huge screen for 3D and IMAX movies. We saw a 3D movie about the journey to the planets and a Jean-Michel Cousteau film - The Marvelous Ocean.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Viking ships

This summer we visited the Viking Ships Museum at Roskilde in Denmark. The museum is dedicated to preserving five viking ships that were discovered submerged in the Roskilde Fjord. The five ships were submerged for about a thousand years and so recovering them was a challenging task. Modern replicas of the ships have been built and there is an ongoing open source project where visitors can take part in constructing a boat. 

Photo by Vassia Atanassova - Spiritia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The summer program included hands on activities for children to make jewellery, swords, shields, axes, model boats and other viking themed crafts.

At the cafe, we enjoyed a modern Nordic meal based on the types of foods Vikings would have eaten, including mead.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Geological Museum, Copenhagen

On our recent trip to Denmark, we visited the Geological Museum in Copenhagen.

Along with displays on geology, highlights for us included a collection of meterorites and a collection of minerals that change color under ultravoilet light.

A fascinating exhibit is the "All things strange and beautiful", original objects from Museum Wormianum and The Royal Cabinet of Curiosities. In the early years of the 17th Century, physician, Ole Worm created one of the first museums in the world with his collection of natural specimens from around the world.