This Centre tells you all you need to know about the history of Madeira. First you get the feel of its volcanic beginnings, then it's up to the lovely roof terrace to look at the indigenous plants, and Dow to the step-by-step story of its discovery and progression. A lot of trouble has been taken to make the displays interesting (in four languages) and fun (you can do quizzes and get a doomed response if you get it wrong, or a positive ring if you're right!). Silver discs in the floor tell you which way to make your way round the exhibition, which includes waxworks, auditory effects to create the atmosphere, and even the smells of the various 'products' available then.
A bit pricey at 10 euros to get in, but thoroughly enjoyable.
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