The Museum’s Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre is a fun, immersive play and learn space for children of all abilities from birth to 6 years.
The Discovery Centre tells five stories from Australian history, each one encouraging different types of play.
Discover the five stories through hands-on and immersive activities, virtual storytelling, animation and imaginative play.
In our quiet reading area children can snuggle up and pretend to be a joey in a soft, warm pouch.
They can choose books from our library or listen to the story of Wambuwuny the grey kangaroo.
The space includes the grassland bunker, a secret nook and several large pods, one of which is wheelchair accessible.
Meet Chris, the world’s woolliest sheep. He was lost in the bush for about five years before he was found, rescued and shorn.
No one really knows what Chris got up to on his adventure but children can imagine what he might have done when they set off on their own journey, wandering through the bush maze and squeezing or wheeling through woolly rollers.
Children can make their way to the shearing shed where they can create patterns on the giant knitting board before sliding down the shearing chute and onto the next adventure.
Did you know?
The fleece from Chris the sheep holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s heaviest sheep fleece, weighing 41.1 kilograms! See it on display in our Landmarks gallery.
Learn more about the world's woolliest sheep.
Learn the Torres Strait Islander creation story of Gelam, a boy who transformed into a dugong.
Children can help baby turtles make the hazardous journey from their nests to the ocean.
Sit on the ocean floor and watch as different sea creatures travel past. Build a fish trap or collect and sort shells before your next nautical adventure – with Matthew Flinders' cat, Trim.
The bunyip is a legendary Australian creature. In the billabong, children can use a range of dress-ups – tails, wings, fins, scales and furs – and become their own mythical creature.
Frolic under the big trees, watch the shadowy projections and listen to the sounds of the water, frogs and animals.
$10 per child
$5 per adult
$30 for a family ticket (2 adults and 3 children or one adult and 4 children)
Children must be supervised by an adult
Mini makers: Explore art, science and games through hands-on learning and play in the mini makers corner.
Daily, self-directed and free with valid entry to the Discovery Centre.
Pyramid making: Explore the themes of ancient Egypt in this hands-on activity for our youngest budding archaeologists. Toddlers will explore and experiment with a range of materials and textures to shape their own sandy pyramids.
Suitable for children aged 2–6 years. Wednesdays from 10.30–11am during ACT school term. Free with entry to the Discovery Centre. Children must be supervised by an adult.
Story time: Enjoy free 15-minute story time sessions in the workshop next to the Discovery Centre.
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10.30am during ACT school term. Drop-in, places are limited.
This space is designed for intergenerational learning. Children must be supervised by their adult carers at all times.
Children’s shoes must be taken off before entering the designated play space. Socks can remain on.
Photography is permitted for personal use only. Please be mindful of the privacy of others.
Food and drinks can be consumed in the Cafe, Garden of Australian Dreams and the Discovery Centre foyer. Food and drinks are not permitted in the play space.
A parents room is available with change tables, microwave and a children’s toilet.
Breastfeeding is welcome in the space and all areas of the Museum.
Personal items should not be left unattended. Lockers are available at no charge. The Museum is not liable for lost or stolen property.
- From the main entrance, go past the Information Desk towards the orange ‘Galleries’ sign at the far end of the Gandel Atrium.
- You will come to glass sliding doors. Before you enter, there is a lift to your left. Through the doors are stairs going down to your right. Go down the stairs or use the lift. If using the lift, go to the Lower Ground floor and continue up the ramp.
- Turn left and pass through glass sliding doors.
- Turn immediately right and pass through another set of glass sliding doors outside to the Garden of Australian Dreams.
- On the far side of the Garden is a white structure.
- The entrance of the Discovery Centre is to the left and just behind the white structure.
A visual story is a guide that helps visitors.
This visual story tells you what to expect when you visit the Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre at the National Museum of Australia. Our staff are here to assist you and ensure you have a great experience.
Quiet hours with reduced noise and sensory experiences are held in the Discovery Centre from 3.30–4.45pm on the first Tuesday of the month. Bookings essential, costs apply.
Part Sky Country creation story, part exciting adventure tale, The Bunyip and the Stars is the first in a series of five picture books featuring stories from Australia inspired by the Discovery Centre.
Debut author and Biripi man Adam Duncan brings to life the bunyip, an animal from First Nations mythology that holds great fascination for children.
Our learning resources are mapped to the Early Years Learning Framework and My Time, Our Place – Framework for School Age Care in Australia.
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