Museo Elder, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's Science Museum

It's never too late to learn something new at Parque Santa Catalina's Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnología. Fun for all the family, it's edutainment at its finest. Which makes it the perfect indoor day out.

Elder, the man and museum

Museo Elder entrance

Alexander Elder was the brother of John Elder, a famous Glasgow shipmaker. In 1878, he teamed up with John Dempster to serve as Liverpool agents for the British and African Steam Navigation Company of Glasgow. Their ships, which became known as the Elder-Dempster Line, were constructed in John Elder's Fairfield Yard.

The museum takes its name from this shipping line; a line which used to transport bananas from Gran Canaria to the UK. It's open from 10:00am to 8:00pm Tuesday to Sunday and the cheapest ticket is free for the under sixes whilst the most expensive one is €5. There are additional charges to enter the 3-D museum and to have a go on the Robocoaster, the only one in the whole of Spain.

Agustín de Betancort, the man and the machine


The noted Canarian engineer Agustín de Betancort was born in Tenerife's Puerto de la Cruz in 1758. He's a direct descendant of Jean de Béthencourt, the Norman conqueror who was declared King of the Canary Islands in the 15th century. Betancort the younger, Betancort y Molina to be precise, spent most of his professional career in Russia, shaping the face of St Petersburg.

Betansaurio's the Museo Elder's tribute to the great engineer. You'll find it on the third floor, next to the temporary gallery space which hosts touring exhibitions. When I went, it was about Roman engineering in Spain. The museum staff advise you to start at the top of the building and work down.  

Dem bones

 Dem Bones

Next floor down's the cinema where you don 3-D glasses to watch educational films. There are different screenings each day held from morning through to early evening. The movie I watched was called The Last Reef: Cities under the Sea which looked like it could have been shot in the all-too-near Atlantic.

Descending a further floor, you come to an interactive section which features puzzles to solve and experiments, not involving chemicals, to try out. There are also skeletons of various mammals from throughout the ages. Along with a recreation of how man's evolved, taking in neanderthal and homo sapien.

Ground control

Space-Age Museo Elder

The ground floor houses an impressive space pod which casts some shadow. For more on galactic exploration, vist the Planetario on the first floor. We caught the last show which was about astronauts, featuring a voiceover by our very own Ewan McGregor, and in the process discovered that an astronaut will use deep-sea diving as part of their training programme to acclimatize to life in space.

Plane sailing

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's a maritime city, one of Spain's busiest ports, but it also has an aviation link. As well as the many tourists who fly here each year, Francisco Franco used a plane to travel to nearby Morocco from Gran Canaria where he'd been exiled. This was on the day of his coup, as he did not want to be apprehended on Spanish soil. The planes at the Museo Nestor provide the perfect photo opportunity with grinning kids playing at being pilot.

Flying machines