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Archer's Arcadia Holiday Fun

Home > Adelaide > School Holidays | Fun Things To Do | Fun for Children | Free | Family
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. Please click the link to Like my articles, and subscribe to see more. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au
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See how history really can be fun
Exploring Archer's Arcadia

If there's any free exhibition in Adelaide that's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, it's Archer's Arcadia currently being held at the National Railway Museum.

Fashioned on the penny arcades that were popular at the sea front and in showgrounds in Victorian and Edwardian times, Archer's Arcadia will delight kids and adults alike with its colourful and crazy re-imaginings of the games that transfixed your great grandparents when they were children.

exhibition, national railway museum, south australia, kids, children, archers arcadia, holidays, free, adelaide, love
Discover the Dark Secrets of Alien Love Through a Peephole


Peep into a hole and be transported to an unimaginably different place, and be surprised and even pleasantly shocked by what you see in this alternate miniature universe.

Drop a coin into the slot of a fortune telling machine which is a parody of those from a hundred years ago, then find out whether romance is really for you. Are you really compatible, or is it just lust?

See Pearls Before Swine - a marvellous mechanical water powered pig that devours pearls and churns out sausages in return!

exhibition, national railway museum, south australia, kids, children, archers arcadia, holidays, free, adelaide, predict your future
Let Shellsy Predict Your Future


Artist David Archer has been producing his quirky creations for years and exhibiting them country wide. He allowed me into his workshop which is vaguely reminiscent of a mad professor's laboratory, crammed with his wonderful inventions and the tools he uses to bring them to life from a spark in his imagination.

exhibition, national railway museum, south australia, kids, children, archers arcadia, holidays, free, adelaide, game
Are You Game to Look in Panatello's Box?


David's creations are mostly made from unwanted upcycled materials - salvaged from bins and hard waste, then re-purposed into things that delight and amuse you. In one corner of his workshop is a full size recreation of an elephant, which he plans to animate in a semblance of walking. But creating the gadgets is very time consuming - the elephant may not see daylight for some time to come.

exhibition, national railway museum, south australia, kids, children, archers arcadia, holidays, free, adelaide, pachyderm
This Plodding Pachyderm is a Work in Progress


He watched me closely as I played with one of his toys, and explained that there are usually three phases of interaction: curiosity, then apprehension, followed by excitement and joy. His machines encourage interaction with their audience, so kids are delighted to play with these creations - they can peer into holes, wind cranks, pull handles, and even see how some of the displays work.

For more about the free Archer's Arcadia Exhibition, see the National Railway Museum and Facebook page. To learn more about David Archer's wonderful world of wacky weirdness, check his website and Facebook page.

exhibition, national railway museum, south australia, kids, children, archers arcadia, holidays, free, adelaide, bird
Who Would Imagine a Human Bird?


I predict that the free Archer's Arcadia Exhibition at the National Railway Museum will be hugely popular. It's being held in the Institute building in Adelaide from September 1 to October 16 2014, and will be a highly sought after kids activity during the school holidays. Don't miss it!

Please note: At time of writing the final exhibits had not been confirmed. Those pictured are for illustration only.
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Why? It is so weird, but fun.
When: See website
Where: 76 Lipson St, Port Adelaide SA 5015
Cost: Free
Your Comment
That elephant may look a bit battered, but I think it is amazing.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12360) 1991 days ago
We went there today and it was really strange how weird and a little bit creepy everything was back then in regards to the carnival scene :) We put our dollar in for the "Crackles" pig and he disappointed us, maybe he wasn't plugged in properly. Our 4 year old found his fortune "You will be lucky in love" so that's good for him at daycare haha. He also loved the Proper Workers spectacle and thought that people going through a machine and turning into robots was serious business.
I would say it's worth a look, quite an enjoyable little time.....thanks for the write up Dave, you have helped us explore Adelaide even more :)
by Jade Brogmus (score: 1|10) 1963 days ago
David Archer's coin-operated automatons are a must-see at 'Gluttony' (Adelaide Fringe)... your prediction is spot-on - this will be a hugely popular exhibition.
by Jenny (score: 3|1672) 1991 days ago
Amazing - our own Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium! Yay. Adelaide's Dr Parnassus. We'll take it in, definitely. c&c
by curiouser&curiouser (score: 2|526) 1990 days ago
Hey, we took the kids just after Christmas and we had the place to ourselves. It was very spooky but fun. Unfortunately you have to put $1 in some of the exhibits and we had no change and although we stayed for 30 minutes there was noon the desk, so we could not get any change. Worth a look if you are in town. Its in abuilding on corner of North terrace and Kintore Ave but there was not obvious sign and I'd never heard of the Institute building.
by arrietty (score: 1|83) 1959 days ago
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