Antarctic Centre

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by dawn on February 16, 2002

This museum doesn't delve too much into the history of the South pole but rather the present and the future.

The first room you'll enter is a technological marvel that makes you feel as if you are standing outside of Scott Base during the rotation of all 4 seasons. Holographic images in a cabin and an all-terrain vehicle read to you from famous diaries. The holo-man in the vehicle tell you about fellows who had to be cut out of their clothing that froze solid to their bodies. One sensory assault is the constantly howling of the wind over the totally dark winter scene.

You'll then enter a mock model of the base which is lovingly called "Mactown" by 1,200 people stationed there during each summer. The first thing you'll see is the fire fighting equipment since Antarctica is one of the driest places on earth and fire is an extreme danger. Computers to your right provide several routes of through camera's showing live video from the base today and yesterday along with current temperatures. (-30C on our summer visit) and descriptions of personnel and the science experiments in progress.

Weather in Antarctica has been as cold as -89C and as "Warm" as 8.8C ! It's also interesting that temperatures at the bottom of Lake Varda are +25C due to the greenhouse effect of light passing through the ice above. Pretty Cool!!

Think you might like to see how cold a summer day would be? Then dress-up with provided coats and enter the room pictured below where igloo's and snow await. There are tents like the one's Scott might have wonder he froze to death! Not my idea of a camping trip!

There are many displays of plants, animals and geology including a simulated ice cave. There's also a special kids room with a sign:
They have touchy-feely boxes where you can guess which one is penguin feathers or seal fur. Did you know that your hair grows twice as fast at the South Pole???

My husband loved the poignant film made by the winter crew while another video shows a diver going under the ice as he tells you " it's like hundreds of knives slicing your skin" for the maximum of 30 min. underwater....and it's all so beautiful!

The last room before the gift shop has a movie wall with an amazing movie choreographed to music.

We missed the Hagglund vehicle drive by about 5 minutes! This is the vehicle that drives on the Ross Ice shelf. The ride takes you onto the supply terminal, past aircraft loading ( during summer there are about 140 flights) and down across the river or rougher terrain.

International Antarctic Centre
38 Orchard Road
Christchurch, New Zealand, 8005
+64 (0)3 358 9896

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