The National Science and Technology Centre
Is Questacon worth the visit?
Comment what you think, below.
We were looking forward to it. Sort of! While the place itself had not changed significantly since our last visit, my memories of Questacon had, in the two years during the lockdown.
Can scientists of all ages still be enchanted by this place, or has it lost its magic with all the COVID-19 restrictions?
Questacon is something you’re probably familiar with if you’ve visited Canberra. With kids or without, it may be worth your time to visit!
We left early for the city centre. When we visited last, Saffron had gone back to the UK and hadn’t been to Questacon with us. We weren’t sure if Saffron would enjoy this destination which is designed for curious kids. Junade was looking forward to his third trip. Currently, Saffron is 21 years old and stuck in that strange position of “not a child” anymore, but she’s not a fully-fledged independent adult either. As a result, whether she likes it or not, she finds herself dragged along to all our family adventures.
- Toddlers: In the past, Questacon had a special area for toddlers, from 0 to 6, called the Mini Q. Due to social distancing restrictions, this area has been out of action for some time. It’s normal for toddlers to get lost in the abundance of activities available.
- Teens: Junade is now 13 but his excitement was still visible. He was looking forward to our visit, even though he had been there twice before. HE couldn’t wait to visit the Excite @ Q exhibition. Questacon can keep those pre-teens to sixteen-year-olds engaged, especially if they are interested in Science. This is a great feat, especially at a time when mobile tech is constantly in their hands. Junade repeatedly tried to get his device, particularly in the exhibits he wasn’t too interested in, so the grown-ups will have to do some work to make it more exciting.
- Adults: Questacon is pitched at 0 – 16 (maybe even up to 18), but as parents in our late 30s, we found it enjoyable. Our daughter (21) also found it enjoyable but it seemed as though she loved the time with mum and dad more than the place itself. It is a wonderful place, with all kinds of exhibits that make science fun and accessible to all if you are willing to give it a chance. We especially enjoyed The Shed where we got a chance to do an activity together.
How long does a Questacon visit last?
The length of time you spend at Questacon depends on the ages of your children. It would be ideal for children aged 4 and up, and if you have younger children, you may be able to take them for a morning or afternoon session. We recommend that you book in advance. However, you’ll be right depending on the season you go in. Due to the lockdown, the crowds will not be as big, and you’ll have a better chance of getting the time slot that suits you best. We arrived around 12:00 o’clock and stayed till about 3:30. Three hours seemed like a decent length of time to explore all eight galleries. And if we were to do it again, we would spend two hours on the first four galleries, have lunch, and then do another two hours on the remaining four.
Attractions in Questacon?
The adventure begins even before you step foot inside! We wandered around the science garden for a little while to see the sculptures which are inspired by the elements (sun, wind, water and earth). We saw a set of plaques with scientific information to store away in the memories for the pub trivia later in the year. Once you’ve purchased your tickets, you are greeted by Robo Q, a humanoid who can sing; speak, and make gestures with the swipe of a nearby touch screen. Unfortunately, Robot Q seemed to have its own virus today, so it was not working as expected.
Galleries: Please see the video below to see some of the great attractions we visited in each area.
1 – AUSTRALIA IN SPACE
2 – FUNDAMENTAL
3 – AWESOME EARTH
4 – QLAB
5 – THE SHED
6 – MINI-Q
7 – EXCITE@Q
8 – MARS
Other Questacon Attractions: There are always other shows going on in the Japan Room. We saw a show about the colour spectrum and how all our perceptions of colour change at different intersections of the spectrum. These shows are at specific times so we planned our trip to do the first half of the galleries, then see the colour show, and finish off the remaining galleries.
The length of time you spend at Questacon depends on the ages of your children. We recommend that you book in advance. Due to the lockdown, the crowds will not be as big, and you’ll have a better chance of getting the time slot that suits you best.
The visit can last up to four hours depending on the age of your children and if you are a family that likes to explore every nook and cranny or give most things a passing glance. We recommend taking a packed lunch, especially in the hot summer months because you can have a picnic at the nearby Lake Burley Griffin, or if you’re ok with spending a small fortune on sustenance, then the cafe has a variety of food, including Junade’s favourite, chips… Hot chips! We would definitely recommend going at least once and decide for yourself if it’s worth another visit. We think it would depend on your children’s ages, but we’s bee
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