Museums, aquariums and science centres offer exciting learning opportunities to occupy the young and the young at heart, writes Juliette Sivertsen
Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
The name Te Papa Tongarewa literally translates to "container of treasures" and it's a perfect description of the incredible collection of exhibitions and activities inside this iconic museum.
Take the kids to the Discovery Centres to get hands-on with educational exhibits or just wander through the various themes of the museum. See the only colossal squid on display in the world, the bones of Phar Lap, wander outside to explore New Zealand's native bush, learn about te ao Māori and understand New Zealand's unique geology.
New Zealand Maritime Museum, Auckland
The Maritime Museum on Auckland's Viaduct Harbour explores and celebrates New Zealand's rich maritime history.
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Learn about the journey the early immigrants made to Aotearoa and stand in the Rocking Cabin to get an idea of how the longboat journey would have felt for passengers, or go for a sail on one of the heritage vessels out on the Waitematā Harbour.
One of the biggest exhibitions is the tribute to the late Sir Peter Blake, where you can see NZL32 BLACK MAGIC, the original America's Cup-winning boat from 1995.
National Aquarium of New Zealand, Napier
Over 100 species of aquatic and land animals live in the 1.5 million litre Oceanarium in Napier. Visitors can head down the travelator to journey through the underwater viewing tunnel to see fish, sharks and stingray swim all around you. Observe the various fishlife in the coral reef, the rocky shore or the flooded forest, as well as reptiles and amphibians. There's also a Little Blue Penguin enclosure, with feeding shows each day, as well as for reef fish and sharks.
International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch
This unique centre offers a glimpse into life in Antarctica. The International Antarctic Centre aims to educate visitors on this mysterious frozen continent by offering exhibits and galleries, as well as simulated experiences such as the Antarctic Storm room, which is chilled to minus 8C, with a -18C wind chill machine. Every hour a realistic storm simulation blows through. Learn about Scott Base, watch a short film in a 4D theatre, take a ride on the all-terrain amphibious Antarctic vehicle Hagglund, or see the little blue penguins at the Penguin Rescue centre.
Otago Museum, Dunedin
From insects to antiquities, the Otago Museum houses over 1.5 million objects from all over the world.
The Otago Museum is also home to the Tūhura science centre, which includes a tropical rainforest with butterflies and a three-storey indoor slide. Kids of all ages will particularly enjoy the planetarium shows which canvas topics from the night sky to the dinosaurs of Antarctica.