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International Antarctic Centre Christchurch

Christchurch's Top attraction

The international Antarctic Centre is just a short walk from Christchurch international and domestic airport.
Journey through modern day Antarctica and experience a taste of this unique and breathtaking continent. Learn about the human impact on the continent, the wildlife and ecosystems and Antarctica’s effect on the globe.Brave an Antarctic storm, go off-road in a Hägglund, befriend a husky, mingle with the penguins, experience Antarctica from all four dimensions and leave with a head full of knowledge, a heart full of love and an inspiration to take action. Just like the explorers before you.

At the International Antarctic Centre, our visitor experiences have been carefully developed to offer adrenalin and inspiration, education and entertainment. With seven different experiences and three specialised programmes, are all included in your entrance price.

Price: $49 pp –  Children $29 pp
Families: $119 (2 adults + 2 Children
Opening Hours:  9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Antarctic Centre Experiences

The Storm Dome:
To experience an Antarctic storm up close and personal, you have two options. You can either embark on a grueling expedition south to the ice. Or you can step through the door into our incredible indoor storm room to see what everyone (and their teeth) are chattering about.

This safe, fun-for-all-ages indoor polar storm room is chilled to -8 degrees Celsius and buffeted by a -18°Celsius wind chill machine. Every hour a chillingly realistic Antarctic storm blows through and you’ll be happy to shelter in an ice cave (make sure you have brought a warm jacket) – and we’ll provide you with overshoes.

Hagglund Field Trip:
You’ll be aboard the Hägglund, an amazing all-terrain amphibious Antarctic vehicle that’s been built to conquer the rough terrain on the ice.

This unique tracked machine delivers an incomparable passenger experience. You’ll feel what it’s like for scientists in Antarctica as they travel across the ice, up and down hills, over crevasses and through water.

It’s a highly authentic journey. While not for the faint hearted, you can ride safe in the knowledge that our expert Hägglund drivers navigate the obstacles within a fun, thrilling, but ultimately safe environment.

Penguin Rescue:
As New Zealand’s first combined indoor and outdoor penguin viewing area, we are proud of the environment we’ve created for our littlest team members.
Humans, dogs and other pests are all responsible for a negative impact on the survival rates of the Little Blue Penguin. As a result, their numbers in the wild are in decline, and their conservation status is ‘at risk.’ That’s why we only house rescue penguins at our International Antarctic Centre..
Penguin watching is one of those must-do things. However, as Little Blue Penguins are generally nocturnal, there’s less chance to see them in action out in the wild.
Each day at 10:30am and 3pm, it’s feeding time. Choose to watch the feeding from the outdoor viewing area or downstairs in the pool auditorium. At both spots, you’ll get a good view of the table manners (or lack thereof) of these cute little birds.

HD Theatre and a 4D Theatre:
Ready to be shaken, jolted, sprayed and amazed? Our 4D theatre has all the thrills, spills and chills in an intense, immersive and in-your-face viewing experience.

It’s fun standing outside watching people leave our Christchurch 4D theatre as there are always lots of wide eyes and equally wide smiles. Many have no idea what they were sitting down to experience until the lights dimmed and the action started.

Our 4D movie theatre has it all. Over the course of a short film you’ll be wobbled in your seat, have mist and wind blown into your face, feel things grabbing at your legs and see incredible 3D sights on the screen.

This is an exciting, immersive 4D viewing experience that will leave you shaken and stirred – but in all the right ways!

Ace the Base:
In partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and Science Alive, we are challenging kids and families to create their very own Scott Base.

Using DUPLO legos, you can design your own base camp at the International Antarctic Centre. Take a photo of your creation with our Ace the Base Antarctic backdrop to go in to win monthly prizes.

Scott Base Redevelopment Project

This new interactive exhibit celebrates the Scott Base Redevelopment Project. This project will see the current base, built in the early 1980s and consisting of 12 separate buildings, replaced by three large interconnected buildings.

The new base will allow for up to 100 people to stay at a time, opening up more opportunities for the next generation of Antarctic explorers. “Kids visiting the International Antarctic Centre over the next few months could be heading to Antarctica to stay at the new base in 20 years’ time, as scientists or Scott Base staff members” said Scott Base Redevelopment Senior Project Manager, Simon Shelton.

Science Alive:
The International Antarctic Centre is excited to join forces with Science Alive. This partnership will see us bring a range of inspiring, interactive science exhibits back to life to inspire the next generation of scientific explorers.
Learn about the important role Antarctica plays in scientific discovery, including fun activities focused on electricity, astronomy, and technology.
Science Alive exhibits will be on display in the centre’s Discovery Room.

Current Exhibits Include:

  • Air Tubes Maze – An air-powered maze that demonstrates forces and fluid dynamics
  • Wave Tank – Illustrates the breaking wave motion with coloured liquids
  • Giant Kaleidoscope – Learn more about light and reflections with this extra-large kaleidoscope that allows children to claw inside
  • Starry Nights Constellation Board – Explore the night sky


Price: $49 pp –  Children $29 pp
Families: $119 (2 adults + 2 Children
Opening Hours:  9:00 am to 4:30 pm.


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