Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre and arguably Australia’s best science museum, is a must-do for families visiting Canberra. The older your kids, the more they’ll get out of the eight different galleries with over 200 interactive displays.
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Questacon is spread out out over several levels. The general advice is to start from the top (Gallery 1) and wind your way down the ramp until you get to the end (Gallery 8). However, depending on the age of your child you may want to focus on certain galleries as some are more interactive than others. The highlights for Lady AB (5 yo) and I are:
If you start here you may never want to leave! The large gated play area allows babies and young children to explore sensory play, pretend play, water play and active play.
There’s a room that replicates a space ship and includes space-related games and experiments…
….a construction zone….
….a city scape with petrol station, vet and bakery…
…a gentle sensory play area as well as dedicated soft fall areas for babies…
….an extensive water play structure and a jungle gym in the centre.
This gallery contains an array of different activities and experiments and an area with educators doing simple science demonstrations. It is aimed at children 7+ years but younger children will have just as much fun, though they may need more help with some of the building and concepts.
We spent a long time making paper cup helicopters fly in a wind tunnel!
Interactive displays explores colour, movement, light and sound. We play music using light beams and create rainbows from dance moves!
Older kids will probably most enjoy Excite@Q the most as it contains more high energy displays including the Freefall slide and robot air hockey.
We spent 3 hours there in a weekday afternoon and still didn’t get to see everything we wanted. The afternoon was an ideal time to visit as there was basically no one in the Mini Q area and only a few school groups.
As we left Lady AB said to me ‘Can we visit Questacon every time we come to Canberra?’. Yes!
- The museum is very busy so best to go early or late in the day if possible;
- Museum Victoria members get free entry so take your membership card and ID;
- There’s a large cafe inside the building;
- two dedicated baby change rooms – one near the café in the foyer and another in Mini Q.
- lockers available for $2 refundable;
- The smaller car park adjacent to Questacon contains only 4 hour parking. The larger car park (further down Parkes Place West) contains 4 hour parking (in the first two rows) and all day parking in the remaining rows.