Take me to the moon: Questacon celebrates 30 years



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From its humble beginnings as a 15-exposure show at the former Ainslie Public School over the last 30 years, Questacon has become one of Australia's most visited attractions, loved by young and young at heart.

The visitors took a while to settle down under the exposure of the new moon.

The visitors took a while to settle down under the exposure of the new moon.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

Every year, the center records 250,000 falls from its famous free autumn exhibition.

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

"What we always try to do is inspire and engage people in science," Robbins said.

"Our reach has changed drastically, we are not just local. With our virtual tours, we have become international."

The Questacon Science Circus is a traveling exhibition of 40 exhibits that run the length and breadth of Australia, stopping mainly at regional centers to bring the joy of Questacon 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

Robbins added that the center maintains a strong focus on hands-on learning for children, which is why their displays have always encouraged people to interact physically with them.

After experiencing the numerous exhibitions on Saturday that spread outside the building to the bright sun, many visitors found their way to the center of the great spiral passage of Questacon.

The new and captivating exhibition 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 room where visitors are below and absorb the wonder of the surface of the moon closely.

Along with the new LEDUSA – a series of more than 45,000 LED lights hanging – were unveiled last week.

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

Bucknell, of Los Angeles, was on vacation with his family in Australia and decided to check out the festivities.

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

"This was very well rated and we were not disappointed.

"All the exhibits are very well put together and are great for adults and children."

Questacon has taken the gong to tourist attractions at the Canberra Region Tourism Awards on Friday night and will represent ACT in the category at the national awards in Launceston in March.

Elliot Williams is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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