There’s no better way to celebrate National Science Week in Australia than a trip to the Sciencentre — a permanent, interactive science exhibition at the Queensland Museum. Since we’re still hanging around the Brisbane area (waiting for our bus) to be fit out as our new mobile home, we’re taking advantage of all the child-friendly exhibits this beautiful city has to offer.
Although entry to the Queensland Museum is free, the Sciencentre is not. With annual family passes for only $80, I consider it great value that will pay for itself in just two visits. Buying an annual pass at the outset means that I don’t feel that we are pressured to cover everything during this visit. If we miss any exhibits, we can always come back.
Divided into three main sections (with toilets in the same area — thank-you-very-much!), we slowly worked our way through the hands-on exhibits in the Sciencentre. In the Going Places section, the girls played with different modes of transportation.
The girls work together to stack foam "containers" on a model of a cargo ship.
When the seas get rough, the cargo ship loses most of its load — to the delight of mischievous Calista!
Delaney and Calista use plastic tools to make their own travelling rigs.
The single-person hovercraft is brought into motion by three. Delaney rides in the seat, Brioni presses the button that activates the air cushion, and Aisha swings everyone around.
Two bikes are available for racing — an upright bicycle and a recumbent model. Aisha races me, Cali and Dell while Brioni takes this photo.
Several of the stations are not functional. However, because I know we'll be coming back, I didn't allow myself to feel disappointed today.
Calista positions the mirror so it reflects onto a solar cell.
This is a cool exhibit — in manipulating a recessed sphere, you can move the globe around. We find Australia and Africa very quickly, and Aisha asks where I lived in Africa. The girls' knowledge of geography is expanding very naturally.
The next part of the Sciencentre display that we explored was called Action Stations. We looked at electricity, patterns, water, sound, mirrors and light.
The first thing that catches the girls eyes are the tables of tiles.
When a button is pressed, water is shot into the glass tube, and over time the force creates a whirlpool.
A jet of air keeps a beach ball suspended out of Delaney's reach. Whenever the air was turned off and the ball came down, she triumphantly picked it up and carried it around!
Aisha covers over the air-stream so Delaney can catch the ball.
Aisha attracts the electricity from the globe's core.
Delaney does the same trick with her nose. So cute, she is.
At some point, I realise that I've lost of my brood. Instead of exploring more exhibits with us, Brioni is back at the table of shapes, making tessellations.
This is a real pipe organ. Aisha uses a rubber thong (the shoe-type, I clarify) to hit the plastic piping.
Dell tests out the hammer on the pipes.
The third permanent exhibition is the Body Zone, where we are invited to look at the way our bodies work, including our minds. We didn’t spend much time in this section and will be able to explore it properly next time.
Calista loves to perform in front of a mirror, and a never-ending set of mirrors is a real treat!
Dell examines *my* new shape in the mirror (carefully cropped out of the photo).
Aisha is particularly interested in human physiology and spends time thinking about this model as she dissects it.
Whoops! I've lost Brioni again in the maze of exhibits, but a quick check reveals that she's back at the table of shapes, completing her tessellation.
On our way out of the museum, we discovered a dinosaur playground which wasn’t really a playground, but it was outdoors — with fresh air and natural lighting — and the girls revived themselves by playing on and around the exhibits.
Because it's sponsored by an energy company, the "Playasaurus Place" contains a odd mix of exhibits on dinosaurs and efficient energy use.
Press the button to turn on an appliance in the house and watch the energy gauge to see how much power the device consumes. Aisha takes the message so seriously that she insists we turn off all the little lights before we leave.
Calista is excited to find pizza as one of the possible options for food energy.
Brioni is content to stay still in a corner, drawing dinosaurs.
A short series of catchy, kitschy songs and simple animations provide dinosaur facts on a big screen. (The tunes have remained in my head.)
As we made our way back to our vehicle, we passed by some statues and fountains. I’m interested in the design and history of each piece, but the girls see them as practical objects to enhance their play.
Leviathan Play by Ron Robertson-Swann attracts the girls who attempt to climb its slippery slopes. Robertson-Swann also designed a similar sculpture in bright yellow for Melbourne, but it was removed after much public ridicule.
The bronze "Sisters" are by Ante Dabro, a Croatian-born sculptor who now resides in Canberra and is considered "one of the foremost figurative sculptors in Australia". The flesh "sisters" are about to discover that they can't get down from their perches without my help.
Delaney finds a fountain, and when I gently dissuade her from removing all her clothes, she pulls up her sleeves to play gently with the water.
Our short day at the Queensland Museum was a good introduction for the girls. Now we know a little bit about what it’s like, and there are still so many more exhibits to explore. Most importantly, the girls associate visiting the museum with a fun day’s outing and will be happy to return again in the future.