Sunday, 23 December 2012

High Tea At Hyde Park Barracks

Today we went along for high tea at Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney. Before we stuffed our faces we went into the barracks museum to find out a bit more about convict life. The kids followed the "rat trail" around the museum to discover some of its objects and stories. There were plenty of opportunities for dressing up and handling objects.


Proof that home educators lock up their children

Lucky convicts had leather cuffs inside their leg irons

A woman from convict times

Testing out the convicts' beds

Hight tea with Nanny and Granddad

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Hands-On In Canberra

We have spent the last few days in our national capital Canberra. We stayed in cabins at Canberra Motor Village, which also does camping. We visited loads of interesting places and got hands on with science, history and nature.

First port of call was the Australian Mint where all of Australia's coins are made. The children got to see how the coins are made and even made their own $1 coin with the machine. We also saw some interesting forgeries and misshaped coins.

Australian Mint

Robot at the mint

A bolt dropped into the coin press and accidentally made this coin

We took the lift up inside Black Mountain Tower to get great views across Canberra. It was VERY windy at the top. The children loved it.

Black Mountain Tower

View from the tower - also see top of page

Blowing in the wind

Then it was off to Canberra Glassworks to find out how handmade glass is formed. We got to watch the glass artist at work and also looked around at the equipment used in the glassworks. We saw a few handmade pieces in the small exhibition and shop.

Glass artist at work

Glass apples

A strange glass sculpture

Glass nautilus 

Next it was time to visit the national science centre Questacon for lots of hands on experimenting. We also saw the forces and motion show and took in the SKA lecture. The children saw some demonstrations of rocket making and pressure experiments. Mini Q, the science exhibition for under 6s, was very popular too.

L in mini Q

R in mini Q

Fishing in mini Q

Water play in mini Q

We love the ball run and want to make our own

R plays the harp

Investigating gears

The next day we started with more science at the little advertised CSIRO Discovery Centre. We were the only people there and we had a great time. The staff member got out the stick insects and the turtles for the children to touch. We saw a couple of 3D films and had a play with lots of interactive displays. The children put on lab coats just like real scientists and got on with some experiments.

CSIRO Discovery centre

R with the stick insect

The kids produced enough electricity to power the robot which picks up the sweets

My Scientist

Looking at rocks

Putting the human body back together

L was drawn to the possums and fury critters

Long neck turtle

The turtles going for a walk around CSIRO Discovery centre

Later it was history time at the  Australian War Memorial. This is more than just a memorial, it has a HUGE and free museum underneath it covering all things warlike. There are planes, soldiers, films, dressing up, interactives, objects, dioramas, tanks and lots more.

Australian War Memorial

One of many warplanes

Search light

Kids flying the helicopter

L dressed as a soldier 

In the trenches

Military helicopter

R was interested in this WW1 mantrap

WW1 diorama

We spotted our surname on the remembrance wall

The next day it was time to get outside at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. We saw lots of birds, insects and other wildlife amongst the native plants.

In the tropical glasshouse

Finding the time on the sundial

We talked about this comparison between different parts of the garden


One of many lizards

Lastly we went back in time at the National Dinosaur Museum. The museum has lots of fossils along with model dinosaurs, many of which move. We caught a tour around the museum which was fun and informative. The children completed a quiz and both won fossil shark teeth. The gift shop is very extensive but we managed to get out with only 3 more new books.

National Dinosaur Museum

National Dinosaur Museum

R and a dinosaurs leg

Dinosaur poo

National Dinosaur Museum


Dino model

In the dinosaur garden

In the dinosaur garden

Then it was back home to Sydney. After this, out third, trip to Canberra we still have lots that we haven't seen yet. I'm sure we'll be back again next year.