Outside the Melbourne Museum.
David in the museum.
The museum baffles all ages.
Welcome to the largest museum in the southern hemisphere, where kids are going wild.
Melbourne Museum is the largest in the southern hemisphere. It is spread over six levels with eight permanent galleries, several touring exhibition halls, vast public spaces and a research info zone centre where children can access the Web for no charge. The 20 exhibitions have been launched in stages, and it is now complete.
The new museum has four times more floor space than the old one, and it is certainly a lot more colourful. Gone are the days of museums being silent, dark places with exhibitions permanently behind glass. The lines between fun park and museum are becoming blurred, and the Melbourne Museum is leading the way in the interactive museum experience.
The ICE Cinema is a little like a normal theatre, but you interact with the film and make decisions that affect the storyline. At the same time, children are learning about the human body. Up to 180 people can interact with the 20-minute film at one time, and there are 80 mini computer screens in the audience. There is also one giant IMAX screen.
The museum is a place bursting with ideas and promoting public debate on the environment, technology and other important things happening in our society. It has excellent education facilities and a range of performance spaces.
People outside Melbourne will increasingly have electronic access to the Museum's collections, research, exhibitions and educational packages.
The scene is set when you arrive to tree ferns and water. The Forest Gallery has a living gallery called Forest Secrets, which captures the qualities of Victoria's tall, mountain forests with trees, plants and wildlife.
The lush, green, fern gully has a waterfall and wisps of fog at the entrance, and a series of pathways go around, through and under the forest landscape and creek system. You can feel fog, water, rock surfaces, sun and shade. You can hear frog calls. You can smell leaf litter. Small birds hop along the pathways and native fish dart around in the stream.
The Children's Museum's philosophy is "Where Play and Discovery Lead to Learning for Life". It has an enormous program of indoor and outdoor activities for pre-school and primary school groups and family groups during weekends and holidays.
There is fantasy dressing, making puppets, exploring things as diverse as feathers and beetles, listening to stories or taking part in the children's festival. Children can also take part in performances, displays, demonstrations and workshops.
Children's art is featured, and the pathways provide an integrated approach providing intellectual and physical access by children.