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Published: February 26th 2008
The machine sitting there in front is a Hagglund. You can ride it for an additional fee. I didn't go for a ride, but they look like they can handle fairly varied terrain.
A few different countries have office space in this complex, beyond this entrance. The US and Italy included.
On the 17 Feb 2008 I visited the four main attractions in Christchurch, this being the first of the four for the day.
While I had read that the Little Blue Penguin exhibit in the International Antarctic Centre was by the far the most interesting of the tour, I actually found many things quite interesting there. They generally think 90 minutes is all you need to blast through there, but I stayed for two hours and could have read many more of the displays. Was an interesting visit for sure.
They have a room in the centre that "simulates" an Antarctic storm. It really doesn't simulate a real Antarctic storm as the room doesn't drop below -2 degrees Fahrenheit, but I had to check it out nonetheless. Other than my glasses being fogged for a couple of minutes after leaving the room, it was fun hearing people groan while the "storm" was in progress. This wasn't a real Antarctic storm people. Supposedly the lowest recorded temperature in Antarctica is -89 degrees Celcius. Thats -128 degrees Fahrenheit. You would die within a minute if exposed to that temperature wearing normal clothes.
If you elect to go into this room,
United States Antarctic Program
Much of the campus of the United States Antarctic Program sites on the grounds of the Christchurch airport, directly across the street from the International Antarctic Centre.
they have you put these cloth protectors over your shoes before you enter the room to keep the snow in the room white. It is real snow. In any case, about 90 seconds before the "storm" is to arrive, a voice comes over the loudspeaker to inform you that the storm is to arrive sooner than expected. The temperature of the room starts at -8 degrees Celcius (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit), then of course drops when the wind speed increases. The maximum wind speed of the "storm" that I noticed was about 28.5 mph, which made the temperature drop to around -2 degrees Fahrenheit. Not a real storm.
Of course the Little Blue Penguin exhibit was fun to see, as I got there around feeding time. I have a video clip of that. Interestingly enough, these little guys just won't eat any fish. It has to be the right size and shape, or they will pass it by. Probably true enough as they are not that big themselves.
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