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Questacon - A great place to learn about our world

Does the idea of spending a whole day wandering around a museum horrify you?
Well, you obviously haven't been to Questacon.

Here we are outside Questacon in Canberra
Questacon is a National Science and Technology Centre that makes learning fun! It has many exhibits about science and even puts on shows in its theatres which are always a pleasure to watch as they are not only really interesting, but are also great fun.
Immy is picked to demonstrate sound
by dangling coathangers from her ears!
Questacon has many interactive galleries which are located on a big spiral. Each gallery has it's own topic. The best way to do Questacon is to climb up to the top of the spiral visiting each gallery as you go.

Freya with the presenter showing some plastic
that dissolves in water.
Every two years Questacon changes their galleries, (except for the permanent ones) which makes every visit a different experience each time.

My personal favourite gallery is called 'Side Show'. Side Show is a permanent gallery based on circus activities which lets you discover the science of everything from fear to fortune! My favourite two exhibits would have to be:

Freefall: As you hang from the metal bar, you begin to wonder, "Is dropping myself down a six metre vertical slide safe? Your heart beats faster, the whistle blows and all of a sudden you let go of the bar and you fall, feeling a sensation of weightlessness come about you and then it's all over. So many kids...and adults, chicken out of making the drop. Not for those scared of heights!

1. Imogen dangles over what seems to be a huge drop...actually the wall gently curves in so it catches you as you fall skidding you to the bottom...great fun!
2. Here we are dressed in the special suits Questacon lends you (so you don't get friction burns) ready to take on the dreaded Freefall.
3. Freya in mid-air drop.

Guillotine: The drum rolls faster, you step up to the guillotine, and place your head in the hole. All you are thinking is "Goodbye cruel world!" Then suddenly the blade drops, but then suddenly, instead of slicing of your head, it stops only centimetres from your neck! A blast of cold air blows across your neck simulating the blade dropping. This makes your hairs stand on end. Yes I know it's not real but it is a very realistic simulation. It is most definitely one of Questacon's scariest exhibits.

Even young kids can learn and have fun.
Questacon also has many other galleries such as;

Sports Quest (not permanent) - Sports Quest lets you discover the physics of sport.

Awesome Earth (permanent) - Awesome Earth shows you what Mother Nature can really do! Experience earthquakes, view volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes, lightning strikes and other awesome phenonema!

Toys (not permanent) - Toys helps you understand forces like energy, mechanics, optics and sound, which is much easier when it involves toys!

MiniQ (permanent) - MiniQ is a great way for children aged 0-6 years to hear, feel, splash, build, climb and create in areas especially designed for little people!

Kate Thomas of Questacon.
Wavelength (not permanent) - Wavelength lets you learn about the properties of sound to signal waves through music, colours and reflections.

Strike A Chord (not permanent) - Strike A Chord lets you discover the science of music using all different types of instuments, devices and pictures.

Questacon also wants shcools to discover science. It is part of many Year 6's trip to Canberra as part of the study of Government. Questacon also has many outreach programs all around Australia for those schools and kids who cannot get to Canberra easily. You can even do school sleepovers at Questacon...that would be sooooooo cool.

So. Does that mueseum still sound boring?

By Freya Wadlow

Go take a look at the Questacon website:

Thanks to all the staff and brilliant volunteers at Questacon and especially Kate Thomas who is the Public Relations Manager and she took the time to show us around and tell us more about Questacon.