Met by an ostentatious gilded monument of Shanghai’s skyscrapers as you enter the lobby, there should be no doubt that this museum is dedicated entirely to Shanghai’s modernization and urban development. Yet, despite the slightly pompous first impression, the Urban Planning Exhibition Centre is far from pretentious and one of the most interactive museums in the city.
Spread across five floors, with one temporary exhibition space that changes every three to four months, the museum presents Shanghai’s urban renewal through architectural scale models, old photographs, multimedia and interactive games.
Although the exhibition here can be a bit dry at times, the immense scale model portraying central Shanghai in its entirety is worth a visit alone.
It can be viewed up close on the third floor, where it includes so much detail you can often pick out your house or hotel, or at a birds-eye view from the floor above. In addition, the 360 degree virtual reality tour of the city is a whirlwind experience, allowing the visitor to fly over The Bund, the Huangpu River, through the sightseeing tunnel and to the former Shanghai Expo site.
Adults and children alike may find the interactive games and e-books on the fourth floor entertaining, while the fifth floor allows for a coffee break with a good view of the city and an art work display of classic Shanghai drawings.
Entrance is 30RMB for adults. Discounts exist for students, groups and the disabled. Audio guides are available in Chinese (20RMB) and English (20RMB).