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Questacon celebrates 25th birthday with a bang!

By Questacon Media 02 Dec 2013


Saturday 23 November 2013 marked 25 years since Questacon, Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre, was officially opened in its current location in the Parliamentary Triangle. Questacon’s year-long birthday celebrations commenced last week with live radio broadcasts, special events, activities and demonstrations.

Questacon’s birthday festivities kicked off on Wednesday 20 November when 666 ABC Canberra’s radio host Adam Shirley and the Drive program team broadcasted live from Questacon. Visitors were treated to free entry to the Centre from 3 pm plus an afternoon of special activities including a scavenger hunt, a water rocket race and a visit from Albert Einstein.

Adam Shirley, a former Shell Questacon Science Circus presenter, immersed himself and his listeners in everything Questacon had to offer, including playing a tune on an electrical instrument made from assorted vegetables, creating harmonicas out of straws, rubber bands and paddle pop sticks, and even braving the Free Fall slide live on air—twice! Adam also gave his listeners an insight into what happens behind the scenes at Questacon through interviews with the founder of Questacon, Professor Mike Gore, and Director Professor Graham Durant, along with staff from programs and exhibition development, gallery staff and volunteers. The broadcast concluded in true Questacon style with Albert Einstein exploding a large birthday cake in front of a crowd of visitors.

Questacon staff took the opportunity to celebrate the past, present and future of the Centre at an all-staff meeting on Friday 22 November. The Secretary of the Department of Industry, Glenys Beauchamp attended as a special guest.

“I am delighted to join the staff at Questacon in celebrating the 25th birthday of this iconic institution.  It's a special place for me and my family.  I took my children to Questacon when they were growing up and in turn, they now are taking their children to enjoy and experience the wonders of science in all its forms,” Ms Beauchamp said.

Also at the meeting six staff and volunteers were recognised for 10, 15 and 25 years of service while four staff members were awarded the Questacon Award, formally recognising the outstanding performance and achievements through the year.

Questacon’s 25th birthday party was held on Saturday 23 November and popular Canberra FM 104.7 radio hosts Scotty and Nige helped celebrate by broadcasting live from the Centre. Questacon was bustling all day with activities both inside and out with many special activities held in the galleries, foyer and outside the building. Visitors also enjoyed a free sausage sizzle, drinks and cupcakes and lots of science toy giveaways.

The Q Lab gallery took a look at the science behind birthdays with demonstrations involving coloured candle flames, balloons in liquid nitrogen, invisible fire extinguishers and liquid nitrogen ice-cream—including a taste test for visitors. The activities continued in the foyer with Dr Scar face painting realistic scars, scrapes and bruises, craft activities for young children and an activity to create realistic laser with a few household items—very popular with Star Wars fans! Outside people of all ages launched water rockets in the park at John Dunmore Lang Place (adjacent to Questacon), and enjoyed the sunshine as a Spectacular Science Show was performed in the outdoor amphitheatre.

The event went off with a bang as Questacon’s rocket expert, Valentina Blashtov, gave a very unique birthday salute igniting 25 hydrogen balloons as visitors watched from the Rear Science Court. The day’s finale was an encore performance of the exploding birthday cake—because you can never have too many explosions!

The birthday party was a huge success, drawing large crowds and a new generation of visitors to enjoy the fun and science on offer at Questacon.

Over the next 12 months, Questacon invites you to help us celebrate the 25th anniversary through the range of special events, activities as well as opportunities to share your memories and experience via social media using #Q25.