If you’ve heard of Questacon then you’ll know it’s a kids’ paradise – loads to see, do, climb, create and experience.
If you’ve not heard of Questacon, then add it to your Aussie bucket list of places to take the kids. Questacon is the National Science and Technology Centre and is located on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. There are over 200 educational and interactive experiences and their mission is ‘to make science fun for all’.
(spoiler alert, mission = accomplished!)
What you might not know is that it’s also an incredible experience for grown-ups too (why should the kids have all the fun?) and here are the top things that we loved on our visit
[Disclaimer – we visited Questacon as guests to get all the info for this review]
1. Adrenaline Free Fall Slide
Not only was this 6 metre free fall slide heart-racingly fun, it also has a height and age restriction meaning that the kids couldn’t even have a try (you have to be over 5 years old). In an unexpected role reversal the boys had to hold my shoes and take my photo as I headed up the stairs to hang over the edge of the slide like a fruit bat before speeding down the drop. They almost had to drag me off kicking and screaming (well if I’m going to be the kid it’s tantrum payback time!) The slide is located in the Excite@Q Gallery where you can also test your speed in a reflex game (infuriatingly hubby won every time), you can play air hockey against each other or vs a robot, and test your throwing speed. Mr 2 year old would have happily spent hours playing on ‘Whoosh’ – where you get to put a silk scarf into an entry box and watch it fly around a labyrinth of air tubes before it zooms out of one of the pipes and you catch it as it floats down. Watching the scarves fall was quite mesmerising in itself – heck – I could have played with it all day too!
2. Fire Rockets!
Stand aside kids – let us show you how it’s done. In ‘The Shed’ the challenge was to build a rocket that would fly the furthest. Your raw materials were paper and sticky tape and once constructed you attached your rocket to the launcher, counted down and pressed the red button. The challenge in this gallery was definitely between hubby and me as the boys were too young – but we planned to visit this area after lunch while Mr 2 slept in his pushchair – and Mr 4.5 was delighted to watch us fire our rockets. The Shed has different tinker projects running throughout the year so check on their website in advance what they’ve got going on.
3. Experience an Earthquake
Where it’s completely appropriate to ask each other ‘did the earth move for you darling?’
In the ‘Awesome Earth’ gallery you enter a room set up on top of a ‘shake table’ – a pneumatically powered platform that shakes from side to side, simulating one way earthquakes affect the ground. The challenge is to build a structure that will withstand different levels of shake which represent magnitude. On weekdays things are toned down slightly, apparently the offices below have complained of losing coffees off their desks when a 6.5 quake is simulated, but visit on the weekend and there’s no limit!
In this gallery you can also witness a live electrical storm every hour, watch rainbows and make a tornado.
4. Live Shows
When you’re planning a visit to Questacon – do not miss the live shows throughout the day. There are lots of different performances which have been designed to entertain all ages – not just the kids. We saw a show about the science of music – it was funny, interactive and gave us a lovely sit down for half an hour (giant sliding and rocket launching can really take it out of you!)
5. Questacon Coffee
The coffee from the foyer is delicious, and affordable – brain fuel for a day of learning and fun. The love of coffee is surely a science, right?
That’s our top 5 reasons to visit Questacon as a grown-up. Next time we might get a babysitter and head there alone!
To see the full rundown of all the galleries at Questacon click here – there are 11 different areas to enjoy including MiniQ – an interactive playzone for kids aged 0-6.
Here’s a quick video we made of some of the fun –
If you love interactive museums and you’re on the Central Coast don’t miss a visit to the Newcastle Museum – you can read more on our post of things to do in Newcastle with kids.