New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published November 9th 2016
Fun & free for the kids - and big kids too
The National Museum of Australia is located in Acton, just 5 minutes from the CBD. This iconic museum holds the Australian story, with objects on display from over 50,000 years ago to today. It is an interesting museum for older kids in particular, where they can learn about subjects they study at school such as the First Explorers, the Gold Rush and other important era's in Australian history.
The most popular attraction however, is KSpace on the Lower Ground floor, which is an interactive computer game for up to four people. Groups work together as a team and also on their own, whilst learning more about a time in Australia's history. Although ideally suited for primary school aged children, it is also fun for younger and older children (and us adults!) to have a go. During ACT term time it is used for school excursions during the week, however it its open to the public between 12pm - 1:30pm weekdays and then it is open on weekends, public holidays and ACT school holidays between 9:15am - 4:30pm. The game runs every 10 minutes and lasts for half an hour.
KSpace is set up to play in groups of four (however it is possible with two) and the first job is to design your own personal robot using the full length touch screens. Scroll through the options and pick a body part (eg. arms, legs, head) and then choose patterns and colours to decorate it until you are happy with the result.
You then progress into the Time Pods and the characters you have just designed are sent back in a time machine to an era of Australia's past. On our particular visit, my five year old daughter and I went back to the Kimberley region in 1990 and used the joy stick and buttons to move our robots through the storyline, working on our own and also together as a team. When we worked together as a team, we were in charge of moving just one robot - with one person directing where the head was looking and taking virtual photos, whilst the other was in charge of moving the robot in the right direction. It is quite a challenge to coordinate everything together - on our visit we ended up in the Kimberley scrub many times looking for the way out, however we were laughing the entire time. It doesn't matter if it doesn't go to plan, the game will continue on to the next stage - regardless of where your robots end up.
Playing the game in the Time Pod. Source: National Museum of Australia website
At the end of the game, players then walk outside into the Results Area and view their scores and learn more about the time in history they visited. You can also see how you fared in points compared to the previous groups that went through. As mentioned, this experience is ideally suited to primary school aged kids, however younger ones who are tech-savvy will enjoy choosing their own robot design and playing with the joystick and buttons, then seeing their photos in this Results Area. Younger kids will also enjoy the Garden of Australian Dreams outside the KSpace doors. This is an area that kids can run over mounds and through a tunnel and experience walking over a map of Australia - where every step you take equals 100km's on the map.
See below for a You Tube video of what to expect at KSpace at the National Museum of Australia. Ensure you tag along for the ride as it's a fun activity for the whole family. If it is anything like my experience, the kids will be showing you what to do - not vice versa.