The Quarterly J a n u a r y  -  M a r c h   1 9 9 9
Planet Discovery
Children between the ages of 3 and 15 have been streaming to Beirut Central District since February 26, 1999, to visit Planet Discovery. Lebanon's first permanent children's museum was created by SOLIDERE in collaboration with the French science museum La Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie de la Villette (Paris).

Planet Discovery offers the children an itinerary, espacially designed for them, where the secrets of life and the surrounding world are revealed in both a fascinating and entertaining way.

All activities are available, according to the children's needs, in either of three languages, Arabic, English and French, in addition to Braille. Most important, however, is the excitement of discovery and learning that accompanies them throughout their visit.

Children happily skipping towards Planet Discovery

The Unfinished House

The Unfinished House


The Unfinished House is a building site of 120 sq m where young children team up and work towards a common end: finishing the construction of a house. In addition to providing a physical and social play arena, this activity initiates children in team work and in the planning and distribution of taks.

Draw with your fingersIn the Children's Village, 'Draw with the finger' introduces the 3-to 12-year olds to the spectrum of existing colors, which they can obtain by drawing with their fingers on a computer screen. When reaching the section 'How life works', they learn how the body evolves before and after birth, with special sections explaining the respiratory and blood circulation systems. this heightens the children's awareness about their body and how it operates. Nearby, they study insect life; one activity shows how an ant reacts to different situations it may find itself in. Another activity in the Children's Village enables them to discover a new means of communication, the videophone, which combines telephone, camera and television screen.

Building Structures, open to children between the ages of 5 and 15, offers information about some of the basic building structures used in architecture. Activities include demonstration methods for the construction of a beam, arch, or dome. The children may learn about different forces exerted on the material and the resulting deformation. Then they discover the techniques used to prevent any failure or collapse of structures that might be caused by these forces.

Phenomena demonstrates to the 10- to 15-year olds some theories in physics and mathematics in a simple and practical way. They learn to use scientific instruments ranging from the magnifying glass to the electronic microscope. The wonder of how planes fly is also revealed to them through a demonstration of the effects of gravity and pressure.

The 1,200 sq m Planet Discovery, temporarily set up on Omar Daouk street, is destined to become a permanent feature in the Souks of Beirut. Abiding by international standards of safety and security, it is equipped to welcome the disabled and visually-impaired. Aside from scientific activities, Planet Discovery offers the public various facilities for private exhibitions, birthdays and special events.
Planet Discovery is the first in a series of attractions planned by SOLIDERE to help the BCD regain its role as a center of cultural activity.

Adjacent to it, the planned Seafront exhibition center will introduce the public to the marine works, land treatment and reclamation projects. Construction is proceeding, and the exhibition center is expected to open during the second quarter of 1999.