One of the things that we really enjoyed during our visit to Quito, Ecuador, was going to the true equator and participating in several experiments at the Intiñan Museum. The museum itself is dedicated to the history of Ecuador with several exhibits about the cultures of the people of the Amazon. Although there are several exhibits regarding the people, animals, and plants of the jungle, the main attraction of the museum are the various science experiments that are a hands on experience for those that visit the museum.
Your tour will start out with several huts that feature everything from shrunken heads to pottery. You will also find a variety of flowers and plants that can be used for medicinal purposes and are quite beautiful as well. There are representations of daily life as well as a variety of artwork. The cultural exhibits only take about twenty minutes to see and are really just a lead up to the fun of actually doing experiments.
The first experiment was to close your eyes and walk along the equator line. Oddly enough, everyone found it hard to keep their balance and walk a straight line. We were told that it was because of the conflicting pulls from the northern and southern hemispheres causing you to want to lean one direction or the other.
Next we watched as water was poured into a sink in each of the hemispheres and, although there are ways to make it swirl the way that you want, when nature is left to its own design it swirls in different directions. The same is true of hurricanes and typhoons where in the northern hemisphere things spin counterclockwise while in the southern hemisphere they spin clockwise. Water going down a drain does the same thing, counterclockwise north of the equator and clockwise south of the equator.
After that there was an experiment that we’re not completely sure if it works or why it works, but our guide had us push up on his hands while we weren’t on the equator and we were able to force his hands upward. Then we moved to the equator line and he used a single finger and was able to keep us from pushing his hand upward.
The final experiment was to balance a raw egg on a nail on the equator line, which isn’t easy, but a few people were able to succeed. Definitely not something that you can do at home, unless you happen to live on the equator. All of them were very interesting and it was a truly enjoyable experience. It is certainly worth taking the time to go to Intiñan Museum if you are visiting Quito, Ecuador.