Lest you think that we at MORE are strictly about eating, drinking, and partying, it's only fair to point out that we have a highly-developed and sophisticated side to boot. So without taking up too much of your “valuable” time, we're going to take you on a quick virtual tour of the National Wetland Museum of China at our very own Xixi Wetlands. Be warned: it's a little hard to find this place, thanks to construction efforts that are underway in the area. However, once you ask three or four listless “security guards” which way to go, you’ll get the general idea and eventually find your way.
Once at the front door, the scene changes quite a bit, and you are welcomed by a large, and very open, foyer, full of trees, sunlight, and the promise of many an educational discovery. At first glance, and within the first 500 meters of the building, there are still-life displays giving visitors a taste of real exotica, as American Indian Totem Poles scowl menacingly from within glass cases, life-sized simulacrum demonstrate African Lip Plates, and a hand-woven thatch canoe hangs overhead, like some kind of aerial juxtaposition of ancient and modern gone amok.
Getting past the main room is another story though. There is a very bright, cavernous, space with a geometric-panel skylight giving the entire area a blindingly white effect as you walk inside. After your eyes have adjusted, you'll find that there is a single pathway that leads visitors all the way up to the top level of the museum, by creating a sort of meandering voyage all the way around the room. As you ascend, they’ve an amazing collection of colorful photographs taken by local bird-watchers for you to enjoy. Ornithology? More like, “Horni-thology.” Birding is sexy, and no one is immune to its allure.
There are also clear, acrylic “sound cones,” that keep ambient noise to a minimum, while allowing visitors to enjoy the audio portion of the various displays. In addition to all this, there is also a “4D Theater” that operates on a rotating time schedule. The National Wetland Museum is open from 09:00 – 16:30 every day except Mondays and holidays. Overall, the museum is a great place to take kids and people who love the natural beauty of the wetlands. On our visit, the large disk-shaped “UFO” observation deck was not open, but when it is, we'll bet that the view will be spectacular. While underground parking is available, there are a number of buses running to and from the museum. Admission is free, although some special services and displays, like the 4D Theater, have a fee.