We were off to Questacon for a 7am adventure with the #humanbrochure team. We had (all three of us) excitedly looked forward to the visit as we were going to be going on a tethered balloon flight at 7.20am, although the rain falling steadily outside suggested it was unlikely that we'd actually be getting airborne.
Eli (once he'd come to his senses) dressed quickly - nothing like the struggle of a normal morning where the appeal and distraction of lego or plastic dinosaurs far outweighs the prospect of going to school. We headed into Canberra's early morning - the beautiful beautiful sunrises of the last two weeks had given way to constant drizzle.
Adelaide Avenue dark and covered in puddles.
Must fix those winscreen wipers so that they don't smear the window quite so badly.
The Magic Faraway Tree CD playing on the car stereo.
We arrived 5 minutes before opening - a brochure of other humans (thanks Alexandra) met me - sheltering from the hazy rain under Questacons large fixed umbrellas (Canbrellas?)
Doors opened at 7am prompt. The balloon flights had well and truly been dashed - we learned later about the Hinderberg disaster so perhaps it wasn't SUCH a bad thing..
Everyone scampered in out of the rain and happily grabbed our goodie bags - immaculately organised by surname and containing hats, dried icecream and the most amazing liquid timers (they go up instead of down like sand egg-timers)
Questacon had laid on a stack of activities for us - amongst them a fairy who entertained the kids with whizzy snake balloons, to the make up doctor (Dr Scar) who made many of us humans look more like zombies. As well as this Dr Yuri demonstrated plastic bottle rockets - some of which went really high. After lots of fun the kids tucked into croissants and hot chocolate for a well earned brekkie.
Although Audrey and Eli had been disappointed by the balloon flight being cancelled the gap in our schedule was filled appropriately by a balloon talk in Questacons excellent auditorium. The 'pilot' taught us the difference between balloons three h's (hot air, helium, hydrogen - see I did learn something!) and we saw a hydrogen balloon explode - wow - I can see why the Hinderberg blew up!
Things started to wind down about 8.45am and I started thinking of getting our coats out of the lockers until a friendly lady (everyone in Questacon was amazingly friendly) came and told us to hang around as we had free entry for the day.
Our hands were stamped as evidence of our humanship - I thought we'd have an hour or so looking round......FOUR hours later we were still there.
I won't describe every one of Questacon's many many galleries - suffice to say we twisted, spun, jumped and button-pressed our way around most of them. I know that if we were to go back again and again we could spend just as long and see entirely different things each time.
It's great seeing science presented in the way that Questacon does.
I remember my science lessons at school as really stodgy boring lessons - something to be endured not enjoyed. Not as baffling as French or German lessons, but not fun either - biology (we drew a stamen of a flower for about two terms), physics (something about convex/concave mirrors) and chemistry (lots of damn litmus paper - although the Bunsen burners were always good for singeing girls hair).
Questacon is more of a science playground - "learn and have fun" seems like a cliched pie in the sky but I think they really manage it here.
Finally finally I managed to drag the kids away - I think we were there for a touch under seven hours. My feet hurt, but the kids were really happy. Our new Questacon caps which had a plastic windmill on top span happily in the breeze as we left - the rainy morning had given way to a bright sunny day.
"Dad," said Eli as we got into the car - "Can we come again tomorrow?"
|Smiles despite the rain|
|twirly hats and twirly paper aeroplanes|
|this is what happens when hydrogen catches on fire|
|Learning about balloons|
|Audrey tries out a heat reactive wall|
|ouch my head hurts! (thanks for the picture Michelle) - thanks for the make-up Dr. Scar|
|Thanks for the portrait shot Elias|
|The excellent Robo Q|
|Recollections IV machine - it was fantastic!|
|Audrey in a really funky corridor!|
|Audrey making magic clouds!|
|Eli playing with gravity balls|
|Robo Q will get his revenge one day...|
|This robot could REALLY play air-hockey (although I did manage a 1-1 draw)|
|Eli on the speaker|
|Happy Day at Questacon (despite the head wound)|