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Published August 28th 2015
Educate & entertain your kids next school holidays
The CSIRO Discovery Centre is located within the CSIRO complex. This is where some of Australia's best inventions have taken place including Wi-Fi, plastic bank notes, Aeroguard and self twisting yarn to name a few. Open weekdays only between 9am - 5pm, this Centre is an educational place of discovery for older kids who love to learn.
The day I visited with my daughter, Miss Four, some of the exhibits were getting upgraded so we were fortunate that entry was free, however it is usually $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and concessions. With friendly staff wandering around pointing out age-appropriate games, there is always someone there to ask questions or provide information.
Designed for older children, each area of the centre demonstrates how the CSIRO has created an invention that has changed lives or how new inventions will change industries in the future.
One interactive area shows how using a Telerobotic Rock Breaker, invented by the CSIRO, could change the future of mining in Australia. With large boulders needing to be broken down, an operator in an office hundreds of kilometres from the mining site can remotely gather information on the boulder and provide the best way to break the rock. This saves time, money and increases profits. Kids can also practice their skills at using the interactive robotic simulator.
A variety of displays educate about parts of the body, the different types of soil and rocks in Australia, how water turbines work, and how people use solar energy in every day lives. There is a lot to read, watch and experience at the CSIRO Discovery Centre for the older child and adults. If your teenage son or daughter enjoys geography or science at school, this would be an interesting place for them to expand their knowledge about Australian science and inventions.
For younger children the "Feed the Max" game is particularly fun, as they use a supermarket scanner to scan healthy food pictures for Max to eat. If they pick all five healthy foods, he sings a happy little song. This is a great way to reinforce healthy eating in kids.
Whilst there, you may encounter a school group or two coming for an educational tour. This is when the school groups don their laboratory coats and conduct experiments in the DiscoverLab. Watching these fun and interactive groups makes you (almost!) wish you were back in school.
The CSIRO Discovery Centre is an interesting place for budding inventors and scientists to explore these school holidays. If you take your time in reading each display and watching the videos it would take an hour or a two to wander around the exhibits of this small but inspiring centre.
Canberra also has two other Science and Technology centres, the largest being Questacon and then the smaller Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre (also run by Questacon). If you or your child are interested in science and inventions, there is ample opportunity in Canberra to learn more, at any one of these three interactive venues.