Sat, Mar 15, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Campus turned into creative park

By Shih Chih-ju and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Large models of insects and sea creatures funded by the Paper Windmill Cultural Foundation are displayed at the Minglun Creative Learning Center in Taipei on Thursday.

Photo: Shih Chih-ju, Taipei Times

A school campus in Taipei has been transformed into a fantasy playground filled with giant insects, sea creatures and animals set in a green forest surrounded by mountains and bodies of water.

“Creative Campus” is a project of the Paper Windmill Culture Foundation in collaboration with the Taipei City Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

The site of the transformation is the former campus of Minglun Elementary School. The school was decommissioned in August last year because of falling enrollment due to low birth rates. Children living nearby now go to classes in another school two blocks away.

The site is to open to the public today. Staid old classrooms have been transformed into a forest, with cast molds of Formosan clouded leopards prowling the area. The idea is to let children learn about the native Taiwanese species, which was officially declared extinct last year.

A sunken ship and an undersea volcano emitting smoke and fire is featured in another classroom. The underwater sights and sounds are reproduced by projecting light shadows and pyrotechnic effects on the classroom walls.

A number of gigantic insects stand in the school ground, including butterflies, fleas, beetles, flies and praying mantises. Visitors will also see a 12m-by-4m blue whale in the ocean scene.

Foundation chief operating officer Lee Yung-feng (李永豐) said the organization and the city government each contributed NT$2 million (US$65,830) to fund the project.

“The expenditure exceeded NT$5 million, but it was worth it to build a different kind of school and encourage children to learn and explore the world,” he said.

He said the concept for the “wonderland of animals and insects” has toured other cities in the nation. The Taipei exhibition is to run for two months. Admission is free.

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