Billed as the world's leading Antarctic attraction, the centre is home to penguins, seals, an aquarium, a 4D effects theatre and everything else that you could expect to find in the South Pole. If you've ever wanted to explore a snow cave, feel the icy wind chill, take a snowmobile ride this is as close as you are going to get without actually going there.
There are so many things going in the centre that it pays to pick up a map from the reception area. A good place to start is the 4D extreme theatre. As you watch a 3D interactive video, the theatre will shake, spray water and large bursts of air all around you giving you the sense of being there. Then it's over to the 'Snow and Ice Experience' to slide down an icy slope, take shelter in an ice cave and brave the wind chill machine at minus 18 degrees celsius complete with authentic audio and lighting displays. Don't worry! Warm jackets and other clothing are provided.
The penguins and other wildlife are the definite stars of this centre. There are cute little blue penguins who roam in and out of the 80,000 litre pool for your viewing pleasure. The chicks here were found with a physical disability that would have left them defenceless but now have a safe environment to prosper in. The highlight is the thrice daily feeding. You can go 'behind the scenes' at an additional cost.
A trip in an authentic all terrain vehicle known as a Hagglund is a exhilarating experience. It aims to simulate the conditions as those on an ice pack. The intrepid travellers go through mounds, a crevasse and speed through open ground and water. The trip lasts about 15 minutes with commentary from the driver.
The International Antarctic Centre comes highly recommended.
38 Orchard Road, Christchurch Airport, New Zealand
03 353 7798