There are a number of locations you have to visit at least once in your life in A Coruña. This destination is also unique for reasons that can’t be seen, but rather tasted, smelt, or heard. The Atlantic gastronomy, along with the sound and smell of the sea crashing against its coastline, are just a few of the many reasons to pay a visit to this Galician peninsula.
Without a doubt, the city’s museums rank amongst some of its most interesting attractions. There’s something for everyone: art galleries, history museums, science museums… And there’s particularly a lot of science museums. They’re perfect for visiting as a family and having fun as you learn about marine environments, human beings, and the universe around you.
A Coruña has a network of science museums that you must factor into your plans if you’re travelling with children or are interested in natural environments.
The Finisterrae Aquarium
This museum alone is worth a trip to A Coruña. The Finisterrae Aquarium, also known as ‘Casa de los Peces’ (the House of Fish), is a unique location where you can discover the secrets of the depths and the Atlantic environment of the region’s coastline. Located between Domus and The Tower of Hercules, its goal is to promote awareness about the ocean and teach people how to take care of it.
In the Aquarium, you’ll find various rooms to make you feel as though you’re at the bottom of the ocean. Well, not just ‘as though’: in the Nautilus Hall, dedicated to the adventures of Captain Nemo and named after the famous submarine from the Jules Verne novel, you’ll find yourself quite literally under the sea. Discover how fish behave in their natural environment, and get acquainted with one of the kings of the Aquarium, Gastón the shark, a male bull shark measuring 2.5 metres long and weighing 120 kg.
The other large hall in this aquarium is the Maremagnum Hall, where you can learn all about the ocean around you and gaze at up to 600 different species in its tanks.
After visiting some other areas, your trip will finish up at the exterior pools, which are also connected to the ocean. Here, you can watch and learn about Atlantic seals.
The second of these science museums, Domus, is eye-catching even from far away. Its impressive façade, shaped like the sail of a ship, was designed by César Portela and Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. In 2019, Isozaki was awarded the Pritzker prize, the highest form of recognition in the architecture world, and César Portela won the Premio Nacional de Arquitectura twenty years earlier.
This museum is dedicated to understanding human beings. As you enter, you’ll no doubt be surprised by the giant Mona Lisa, made from over 10,000 photographs of people from all over the world.
Inside, you’ll find different halls with fun and interactive displays teaching you about demographics, the human body, nutrition, and your senses. The motto of these museums is ‘prohibited not to touch’, so prepare to get stuck in and learn through playing if you pay them a visit.
For more information, visit the official Domus website.
Casa de las ciencias
The last of those science museums I mentioned is the Casa de las Ciencias, found in an exceptional location in the city centre. This interactive museum, with over 35 years of history, is located the heart of Santa Margarita park. Umberto Eco called it the greatest museum in the world.
The first thing you’ll spot as you enter is a 14-metre-sall swinging Foucault pendulum in the central hall, allowing you to see the movement of the earth. There are also different exhibitions to explore across the three floors, where you can play with interactive displays on physics, nature, and astronomy.
And finally it’s off to the planetarium, where you can travel through space and time, learn how to look at the sky, and discover everything it has to offer.
But there’s even more to Casa de las Ciencias: you can keep exploring in Santa Margarita Park, which surrounds the museum. Here you can try moving a 1,500 kg granite ball with one hand, or sit by an apple tree cloned from the very same that inspired Isaac Newton to discover the Law of Gravity.
The Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología
Finally, even though it’s not part of the Municipal Museums network, A Coruña is one of the sites of the National Science and Technology Museum (the Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología).
This museum is located in the Prisma de Cristal, an iconic building in the shape of a glass cube which won many prizes, including the Premio Nacional de Arquitectura Joven (the National Young Architecture Award).
This site boasts over 500 pieces on permanent exhibition, and recounts a large part of the history of Spain and science.
The most eye-catching piece, because of how big it is, is undoubtedly the cabin of the Lope de Vega plane (yes, that’s not a joke, it’s an actual-size airplane cabin, and it’s massive!). It was a Boeing 747 known as a ‘Jumbo’ for its large size. Pablo Picasso’s iconic Guernica was flown from New York to Madrid in this plane’s hold.
In the rest of the exhibition, you’ll find a 19th-century lamp from The Tower of Hercules, a Seat 600, an IBM 600 computer (the first to be mass-produced), the prototype for the first mechanical encyclopaedia, and the particle accelerator that kicked off nuclear research in Spain.
For more information, visit the National Science and Technology Museum‘s official website.
Though there’s plenty to get up to here, A Coruña’s network of museums are a sure-fire way to spend some quality time as a family, and learn at the same time. And if that’s not enough, this Herculean city is also home to Casa Picasso (where the artist lived when he was here), the Pardo Bazán House Museum, the María Pita House Museum, the Casares Quiroga House Museum, the Archaeological museum, and more.