We’d never get away with a trip to Canberra without visiting Questacon. The kids love it and just quietly, so do we. Questacon – the National Science and Technology centre is probably one of the most popular attractions for families visiting Canberra. It’s a place where hands-on interaction is encouraged and learning happens without kids even knowing.
It’s wonderful to see parents playing alongside their kids and enjoying the activities just as much. Questacon provides accessible family fun with easy access throughout.
Each room at Questacon is filled with hands-on activities. If the kids are not excitedly running from one thing to the next, there are plenty of informative boards explaining the science behind the activity. If you’ve visited Questacon in the past you may remember the earthquake house where visitors could experience a simulated earthquake. That has now been replaced by a new experience. We were given a talk by a staff member about earthquakes and then we were challenged to build an earthquake proof structure.
Once we all had a building to test in an earthquake simulation, a button was pressed and the ground shook. Those that had built prudently (AJ) had a building still standing at the end.
If, like me, science wasn’t your favourite subject at school, never fear, there are plenty of enthusiastic staff on hand to walk visitors through the experiments and activities.
The Shed is a new space since our last visit and it’s wonderful to see kids encouraged to use their imagination along with some science to build something. On our visit the challenge was to build a vibrobot, a vibrating robot. The kids and Hubby worked together to build a circuit which was then put inside the robot they built.
A facilitator is on hand to encourage and assist when needed. I’m happy to report the robot was a success.
Fundamental is also new to Questacon and the kids loved exploring this area which combines classic science in a fun way.
Once again, we found the majority of the activities were the perfect height for BJ in his wheelchair. He was thoroughly engaged by the variety of interactive opportunities and it was hard to get him to move on from the area.
MINI-Q – 0-6 year olds
Even on our first trip to Questacon our kids were too old for this area but it didn’t stop us from exploring it so we could share all the details. I absolutely love Mini-Q and imagine it could be hard to move the 0-6 year olds on once they get entrenched. This area is fantastic for kids with special needs. There are so many ideas in Mini-Q which could be adapted for games at home. After our last visit I wrote a post about it which you can read here.
The water play section of Mini-Q gives children a safe place to explore and learn about concepts like floating, sinking and simply indulge in the joy of getting wet.
Raised seating allows children of all ages to enjoy the fun.
This area of Mini-Q is extensive and spacious so lots of children can play at the same time.
Mini-Q encourages children to use their imagination and role play with a bakery, petrol station, vet clinic (even with x-rays!) and more.
Mini-Q takes bookings during busy times. Our friends, who visited, suggest to get to Questacon at opening time in school holidays and book into Mini-Q first if you have children wanting to do this section.
EXHIBITIONS & SHOWS
Exhibitions and shows change regularly at Questacon but the quality is always high. When we visited earlier this year there was a Spider exhibition. While it probably left some people having nightmares, it was incredibly informative.
We watched a science show in the theatre and it was one of the best, most entertaining shows I’ve seen. I’m far from a science geek but I was sorry when it ended. If you have a family member who cannot tolerate loud noises, I’d check ahead to see if any current shows will be suitable. We were issued with ear muffs for the loud explosions that were a part of the show we saw but it was still loud for anyone who is sensitive.
We found that even the limited time exhibition about Spiders had plenty of exhibits which were at a good height for small children and wheelchair users.
On our most recent visit (2017) it was fantastic to see the Above and Beyond exhibition had included one simulator with wheelchair access. When beg used by a non-wheelchair user there was a regular seat in the position. It was lovely to see BJ playing alongside the others.
Disabled parking is available in the Questacon car park with ramp access to the building.
Large stand-alone disabled restrooms are available on several levels of Questacon, including next to the café on the ground floor.
Ramp access joins the multi-level building but I suggest using the lifts to go to the top level and working your way down the levels.
The Companion Card is accepted.
We’ve visited Questacon many times over the years and it’s still a firm favourite with our family. It’s just good fun for everyone.
For more information please check the Questacon website here.
After a visit at Questacon make sure you take time to walk along the waterfront at Lake Burley Griffin. There is a great wheelchair accessible path but if visiting in autumn make sure you take the time to crunch a few of those crisp autumn leaves under your wheels.