Whither Questacon?

elgarf 3 September 2010 8

What is Questacon doing?

It is losing it’s fun, so my kid says.

Why? is it funding or bad management?

I am not happy, and as a regular it is sad they lost their science education focus.

Where can my kids learn science? I heard CSIRO has kids stuff

Has Canberra lost it’s science education? Or am I a paranoid parent?

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8 Responses to Whither Questacon?
sepi sepi 5:53 pm 03 Sep 10

is there still stuff at the tracking station near tidbinbilla?

Kuku Kuku 5:13 pm 03 Sep 10

Questacon – the closest thing Canberra has to a theme park!

Try the CSIRO Discovery Centre on Clunies Ross Drive. Their exhibits are interactive and their staff very helpful. What really impressed my two was going to the cafe, looking across the building and actually seeing the Scientists working in their labs.

enfoldeadgrrl enfoldeadgrrl 2:34 pm 03 Sep 10

Being relatively new to Canberra with a toddler, we have found Mini-Q to be enough fun that we have decided to get an annual ticket. Even if we only go once every month or so, it’s a few hours of “free” (ie prepaid) fun for us both.

Having never lived near anything comparable before, I’m pleased Questacon even exists.

I would like to see my child grow into an inquisitive scientist over time. Watching the current play and exploration is very satisfying for me!

There seems to be a good bigger-kid play area in Sideshow Alley, though I imagine that gets a bit old for kids who’ve been there a few times.

I’ll be interested to see what other science-play people come up with in this thread…

Davo111 Davo111 2:16 pm 03 Sep 10

lobster said :

Also, they are currently doing a lot of maintenance/construction on stuff there.

they’re *always* doing maintenance there.

lobster lobster 1:34 pm 03 Sep 10

Your kid is gettign older.
Also, they are currently doing a lot of maintenance/construction on stuff there.
Once that is all finished it might be more magical again?

Davo111 Davo111 12:29 pm 03 Sep 10

I reckon sepi has summarised it quite well.

Limited funding + low-ish wages + kids getting older = not what it used to be.

sepi sepi 9:39 am 03 Sep 10

Questacon has very low levels of govt funding, and relies on volunteers for extra staff to walk the floors. Most staff are on contracts, as when funding drops, staff have to be let go. This is why ticket prices are so high too.

Little kids still love it though – perhaps your kids are just getting older.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:26 am 03 Sep 10

You are right – Questacon has rested on its laurels for far too long. Perhaps it is something of a funding issue – their wage rates are certainly at the lower if not lowest end of the absurd APS variability scale.

We gave up maintaining our family membership. Change is so incremental, and what is there is often in a poor state of repair.

The attempts they’ve made to jazz things up have been sporadic and limited. I’d so love to go in there and shake things up…

More people walking the floors and helping bring the displays to life; guided tours of bits; night events, star gazing; more guest scientists – the ANU has a stunning array of top flight scientists speaking all the time, but they are seldom slanted towards the young – why not have the same people then go to Questacon but with a more targetted talk plus lots of demonstrations (and things that go bang)? Etc etc

Meanwhile, check out how science ed is done well in the UK: http://www.thenakedscientists.com/ The podcasts are great listening. And on iTunes, you can listen to podcasts at double speed, meaning you can pack a lot of science into a short time…

A series like this coming from Questacon would be first on my list of things to implement to turn things around.

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