Summer’s here, school’s out and Melbourne is showing us what we’ve been missing all year. At the top of the list is Scienceworks, where curious minds are challenged, children can think with their hands and we all acquire a new appreciation for the world around us.
Special summer holiday programming means the sprawling science and technology museum has a range of never-before-seen programs that will have little thinkers immersed from the moment they enter the doors.
With interactive displays, live shows and workshops, Scienceworks is the best all-weather day out for wondrous little learners. Here’s my picks of the things you can’t miss at the Spotswood centre over the holidays.
The Rainbow Hunt
A treasure hunt following all the colours of the rainbow really does sound like the most fun we’ve had all year. Find the hidden clues around the Scienceworks Arena and take a journey through the rainbow, collect the colours, find the secret code and unlock the treasure.
The real treasure is tiring out active kids with a run around in the fresh air (can I get a high five parents?!). Suitable for ages 6 and up.
Who kept the kids up after bedtime in the hopes of seeing a lunar eclipse or some of the planets in a row only to be beaten by cloud cover or children too tired to be fussed? Daily shows at the Planetarium give everyone the chance to look to the stars at all times of the day and in any weather.
With some shows suitable from 3 years, recline your seat and join Tycho to the Moon, Solar System Odyssey, Black Holes or the Moonbase ONE programs for an awe-inspiring look up to the sky – and maybe the chance to wish upon a star, too.
Note that seating in the Planetarium is strictly limited following social distancing guidelines.
Maze and Labyrinth
Now I’m not instructing you to tell your kids to go and get lost, but at the giant grass maze on the Scienceworks Arena you will have a legitimate opportunity to say exactly that in the name of a good time. We’ll be exploring the twists and turns as we find our way out, trying to avoid all the dead ends. See what makes maze different from a labyrinth (I was TODAY years old when I realised they weren’t the same) and stroll through the grass labyrinth’s winding path – if you can find the exit.
Ready to be blown away as we discover the mysteries of air? With a gust and a whoosh, giant fans will show the true power of wind. Then move onto the challenges in the aircade which is a must-see exhibition finishing end of February 2021 or become a master of aerodynamics with the chance to trial your best paper plane designs with a test flight in the playground.
This experience is immersive and buoyant and we’re floating on air just thinking about it.
Live, free and suitable for all ages, we’ll be heading to a science show in the outdoor amphitheatre to discover how and why we see colour, see the blackest black pigment, and be amazed by rapid colour changes. The eyes have it! See you there.
This is a newbie show called Lights, Energy, Action and a must-see which we will be zapping here in a (lightning) flash for. The High Voltage Theatre will have four shows a day featuring spectacular demonstrations, high voltage equipment and charismatic presenters.
There’s no better place to spark your curiosity – and don’t miss the star of the show, the giant Tesla Coil, capable of generating more than two million volts of electricity.
Seating in the Lightning Room is strictly limited following social distancing guidelines and due to sparks and loud noises is best suited for 6 years and up.
Motorised Hand Workshops
If you have a child who is constantly questioning how things work – I do, and their engineer dad is totally here for it – then start them ‘thinking with their hands’ as they learn about programming by making a programmable motorised hand. So clever.
Investigate where programming has come from, how to program your motorised hand and then have a go at some challenges to make cool beats and rhythms with your creation.
There are both online and onsite workshops with limited places and sessions available, so book now to avoid disappointment. Your kit will be onsite for you to build as part of the session and keep afterwards.
Tried and tested favourites
If you haven’t tried to race against Cathy Freeman in the Sportsworks gallery at Scienceworks, then you’re not a true Melbournian. It’s a big call, but this area has been testing the minds and muscles of children for years and is still everyone’s favourite. If you know, you know.
The Ground up, Sportsworks, Think Ahead and Beyond Perception galleries will be open all summer, giving visitors plenty of options and space to roam. Scienceworks has implemented a COVID-safe environment to support your health and safety and its COVID-safe plan reflects the most up-to-date public health directions.