93. Learn about science, sea lions & stars at Otago Museum
From whale-watching and go-karting to spending the day as a sea postie and the night in a haunted castle, there’s no shortage of family fun to be found here: here is No. 93 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
Science nerds of the family rejoice! Otago Museum on Dunedin/Ōtepoti’s Great King Street is calling your name. Home to the country’s biggest science centre, the museum is literally the hottest place in Dunedin. Yes, because science is hot, but also because the building houses a warm, humid tropical forest (set at around 28°C) packed with exotic butterflies, giant stick insects and tarantulas.
Visit to see a 12-screen digital gallery of some of the world’s most scintillating scientific sights and navigate the screens with laser beams. Then see what movie takes your fancy at the planetarium. Recent screenings have included Sea Lions: Life by a Whisker, narrated by Kiwi (and Aussie) film fave Sam Neill, which explores the world of a sea lion pup; and Night Sky Live, a 45-minute presentation led by one of the museum’s science communicators that explores the night skies of the southern hemisphere. Guided tours of the museum’s collection are also available. See a 17-metre waka taua (Māori war canoe), check out one of the world’s best collections of moa bones, belonging to the now extinct giant flightless bird.