Thursday , October 21 2021

Take me to the moon: Questacon celebrates 30 years



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From its humble beginnings as an exhibition of 15 shows at the old Ainslie Public School, the past 30 years have seen Questacon grow to become one of the most visited attractions in Australia, loved by young people and young at heart.

Visitors take a moment to relax under the new moon exhibition.

Visitors take a moment to relax under the new moon exhibition.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

Every year, the center records 250,000 drops from its famous fall exhibition.

Visitor service manager Adam Robbins said, while Questacon's aspirations remained the same for 30 years, the biggest change was its reach.

"What we always do is inspire and involve people in science," Robbins said.

"Our reach has changed dramatically, we are not only local anymore. With our virtual tour, we have become international."

The Questacon Science Circus is a mobile show of 40 exhibits that cross the length and breadth of Australia that stops mainly in regional centers to bring Questacon joy to as many people as possible.

Los Angeles-based rocket scientist John Bucknell with his son Emory.

Los Angeles-based rocket scientist John Bucknell with his son Emory.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

Mr Robbins added that the center maintains a strong focus on direct learning for children, which is why their exhibitions always encourage people to interact physically with them.

After experiencing the countless exhibits displayed on Saturday, which stretched outside the building into brilliant sunlight, many visitors found their way to the center of Questacon's huge spiral road.

The new and charming display of Questacon is an inflatable replica of the moon, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It measures seven meters in diameter and is suspended above a dark space where visitors relax under and take the miracle of the moon's surface up close.

This, along with the new LEDUSA – a series of more than 45,000 LED LED lights – were both inaugurated in the past week.

Questacon received approval from real-life rocket scientist John Bucknell, who helped develop the Raptor engine for Elon Musk's SpaceX company.

Mr. Bucknell, from Los Angeles, was on vacation with his family in Australia and decided to check out the celebration.

"The number of very good quality science museums around the world is low," Bucknell said.

"It's really highly rated and we haven't been disappointed at all.

"All exhibitions are really well integrated and it's good for adults and children."

Questacon takes the gong for tourist attractions at the Canberra Regional Tourism Awards on Friday night and will represent ACT in the category at the national award in Launceston in March.

Elliot Williams is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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