The Phenomena Factory in Launceston Tasmania can convert even the least academic student into a science boffin. Far from that effect being an unexplained phenomenon however, the reason is quite simple. Everyone has the chance to actually play with the exhibits, making learning fun!
Art of Science: Phenomena Factory, Inveresk
Don’t misunderstand the message here, though. A trip to the Phenomena Factory is not purely about learning. The underlying catch is definitely to engage kids in education, that’s true. But the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Inveresk, Launceston is a tourist attraction and appealing to all ages.
At the entrance of the science centre is the Perception Tunnel, my favourite of all the experiences. Doesn’t matter if you’ve done it once, or twenty times; you just can’t quite get your head around how it works. The more determined you are to walk straight… the more you sway on the perfectly stable bridge. Weird.
Science is Sweet
We timed our visit to the Phenomena Factory early in the day, and were happy to find a recently-stocked Jaffa machine. Although I must say, I’ve never had to work so hard to earn a sweet treat. Cranking the handle to generate enough power to get a single chocolate probably burns enough calories to justify a whole bag of lollies. Maybe that’s the idea? Perhaps I should put one of those contraptions on my pantry door!
A little friendly competition also makes the science interaction more exciting. You can challenge yourself, or you can challenge your family and friends to some simple games. And who can resist the countdown to the launch of a rocket?
Phenomena Factory: Fit for Everyone
A great way for the kids to burn some energy, the Phenomena Factory makes it to the top ten list of things to do in Launceston, even when it’s raining. But you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to participate either. Just pulling a simple lever will result in some interesting reactions.
In fact, in the courtyard of the old Launceston railway site there are whisper domes. You speak softly into one of the dishes, and your partner can clearly receive the secret message standing 20 metres away at another dish. Amazing!
A railway carriage connecting the inside and outside areas has been converted into a dining room for the Choose Cafe. So if the kids aren’t keen to leave (which is likely) and you are in need of a coffee… all bases are covered.
Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery
If you’re wondering how much all this entertainment will cost you, don’t worry. It’s free! The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery works on a donation system, suggesting $5-00 as an appropriate amount. Money well spent, I’d say. The Phenomena Factory is located at 2 Invermay Road, Inveresk.
The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery has two locations, but the Royal Park site is currently closed for a major renovation. The reopening is scheduled for September 2011. Meanwhile, other permanent exhibitions at the Inveresk site include…
- Tasmanian Connections (dinosaurs, transport, geology, colonial heritage)
- Transforming the Island: Railways in Tasmania
- The Blacksmith Shop
- Replay: Sporting Life in Tasmania
- Launceston Planetarium