Located only a short stroll from Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum resides in the old Ultimo Power Station. This museum is comprised of twelve permanent exhibits, covering science, technology, design and decorative arts, engineering, architecture, health and medicine, fashion and contemporary culture. However, the purpose of our visit was for two things – The Wiggles and transport.
Upon entry you are greeted with a huge train. This is awesome if there are queues. Send one adult with the children to the train, while the other adult lines up to pay.
Now, neither of my children are completely Wiggles mad but in the same respect, when the Wiggles are on, they never fail to get up and dance. So the opportunity to sit in the Big Red Car was a huge draw card. Of course once we actually arrived at the Wiggles exhibit, neither of my children would sit still long enough in the Big Red Car to get a photograph… I love my children. Instead they kept running from one thing to another. Little Man wanted to test how loud his voice was and see if he could, “Wake up Jeff,” collapsing into giggles every time Jeff ‘woke up’, and my daughter couldn’t decide whether steering Captain Feathersword’s ship or dancing to the music was what she should be doing. Ahhh, the tough decisions of a three year old.
Our next stop after The Wiggles, was the temporary engineering challenge that had been set up for the school holidays. So simple in it’s idea, with the costumes taking it to a whole other level. Upon entry, each child was presented with a
plastic hard hat and a fluro safety vest. They were then directed to a taped off construction area which contained a bucket full of cardboard shapes for them to piece together in any way they saw fit. The smart souls behind this activity kindly kept each child’s creation on display for the duration of the day. The teacher in me loved this activity, if only because it allowed my children to progress through every emotion – joy at the sight of the massive box of things to build with, persistence in trying to link the cardboard shapes together, sheer frustration when their design wasn’t working, tantrum when they hurled pieces across the floor, and stubborn determination when they picked them back up and had another go. I think I got the entertainment value in this activity.
Our last stop for the day was the Transportation exhibit. The was mainly for my son. He is just a tad Thomas the Tank Engine mad at the moment. Interestingly my daughter was also quite taken with this exhibit and I think she has developed a new appreciation for her brother’s favourite show, now she understands (to the extent that any 3 year old can understand) how a steam train works. I’ve been to this exhibit many times with various schools I’ve taught at, but this was the first time we stuck around for the show. I’ve got to say, SEE THE SHOW. The presenter was fantastic. Even though my children were really a little young to grasp what he was saying, he had them riveted. He also incorporated what we shall call ‘Shrek’ humour, in that there was one level for children and then a whole other level that appealed to the adults in the audience. Honestly, I’ve never found transportation so interesting.
Cost: Adults $15, children under 16 are free.
Location: 500 Harris Street, Ultimo
Getting there: Wouldn’t advise driving, take the train or bus and walk. It is so close to Darling Harbour and China town, so really easy to get to by foot (after you public transport it in to the city).
Check out the Powerhouse Museum website for the latest exhibits and what is planned for the next school holidays.