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February 17th 2008
Published: February 26th 2008
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 Video Playlist:

1: Little Blue Penguins at feeding time 10 secs

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 ProgramUnited States Antarctic ProgramUnited 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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Antarctic DioramaAntarctic Diorama
Antarctic Diorama

A Hagglund looking type of machine in the diorama.
In the "storm" simulation room.In the "storm" simulation room.
In the "storm" simulation room.

The thermometer reads -8 degrees Celcius, 17.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Warning, a "storm" is approaching.
No ExitNo Exit
No Exit

2 minutes 33 seconds until the next storm.
A tent, really?A tent, really?
A tent, really?

Cannot imagine a tent such as that would protect a single person in true Antarctic conditions.
Ice SlideIce Slide
Ice Slide

Just behind the line of flags, should you be interested. No surfing down the ice though please.
Little Blue PenguinsLittle Blue Penguins
Little Blue Penguins

Just milling about prior to the 10:30 feeding, at which time there will be much rejoicing.
Wind Shaped RocksWind Shaped Rocks
Wind Shaped Rocks

How brutal must that wind be? Pretty damn brutal if it can do that to rock I would say.
Stuffed Leopard SealStuffed Leopard Seal
Stuffed Leopard Seal

Wouldn't want one of these around me under the ice that's for sure.
Leopard Seal InfoLeopard Seal Info
Leopard Seal Info

Killer Whales eat Leopard Seals eh? That must be something to see.

Probably fairly antiquated down there I would think.
Tent with plexiglass viewportTent with plexiglass viewport
Tent with plexiglass viewport

Not four star accommodation that's for sure.
Stuffed Emperor PenguinsStuffed Emperor Penguins
Stuffed Emperor Penguins

Think about the bad days that these guys have to endure. Yeah, I am going to need a hot chocolate and a double shot of Schnapps!
Sir Edmund HillarySir Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Hillary

He died less than a month prior to my arrival. Wonder what kind of services they had for him in Wellington, where he was living. A bee keeper who sought adventure.

11th October 2010
Antarctic Diorama

Great Antarica Diorama

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