Journey through Antarctica without leaving Christchurch
The International Antarctic Centre is one of New Zealand's best tourist attractions providing visitors of all ages with an interactive, fun and exciting experience of Antarctica. You'll experience snow and ice, a storm, learn about life in modern day Antarctica and Scott Base, and hang out with Little Blue Penguins! There's also the famously exciting Hagglund ride and an awesome simulated 4D cruise plus heaps more!
For a full range of the exciting ways you will experience Antarctica during your visit, click the links below.
Hagglund Field Trip - a fun-filled ride on the amazing all terrain amphibious Antarctic vehicle. Sit back, buckle up, hold on and prepare to experience what it's like travelling across rough terrain in this unique and exciting machine! A highly authentic and exciting experience that simulates the conditions scientists experience riding in a Hagglund across the ice and over mounds, up and down hills, across crevasses and through water!
Storm Dome - chill out in REAL snow & ice and brace yourself for the world's first indoor storm! Learn of the stories and hut legacies left by the great Antarctic explorers Scott and Shackleton and experience the stunning light and sound show of the four seasons of Antarctica. This safe, fun-for-all-ages indoor polar 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 – and even happier that we’ve provided you with warm jackets and overshoes.
HD Theatre - in our HD Theatre ‘Beyond the Frozen Sunset’ plays on the massive screen continuously. This is a film not to be missed. The film follows a seasonal arc from sunset to sunrise, weaving in its path elements of immensity that make up this earth’s most remote and inhospitable continent.
Penguin Rescue - the nocturnal nature of the Little Blue Penguin means that most people miss out on sharing in the magic of these little birds.......UNTIL NOW! The Penguin Rescue is New Zealand’s first combined indoor/outdoor Penguin viewing area with capacity to hold up to 26 Little Blue Penguins and allows visitors to view them in a natural-themed environment. Their number in the wild is in decline and their conservation status is ‘at risk’. That’s why we only house rescue penguins here. These are birds that have got into trouble in the big wide world or may be suffering from physical disabilities. Expert veterinarians assess each bird and those that don’t have the ability to defend themselves will find themselves amongst feathered friends at penguin sanctuaries like ours.
Husky Zone - our Husky Zone has been set up to give visitors a true hands-on experience with these incredible animals. The story of exploration in Antarctica is the story of the husky. When the bitter cold and brutal conditions proved unsuitable for horses, explorers looked for a tough, intelligent and hardworking travelling companion. Huskies stepped up to the job.
Antarctic Gallery - experience the sense of wonder up close in our Antarctic Gallery. This is an exhibition space purpose-built to educate and entertain. It conveys the scale of the continent while providing fascinating and awe-inspiring details.
Behind the Scenes Tours - choose from the VIP Penguin Backstage Pass or the Breakfast with Penguins. These popular tour programmes give you the chance to see up close all the fascinating work done ‘backstage’ in our penguin habitat and penguin welfare centre.
There’s plenty to keep the little party goers entertained at this cool party venue. The base package includes attraction entry where they can play in ‘Antarctica’ the Snow & Ice experience, survive an Antarctic Storm, take the Polar Plunge challenge, say hello to our Little Blues in the NZ Penguin Exhibit, explore the Antarctic Gallery and other exhibits, get ‘snowed’ on in the Four Seasons of Antarctica exhibit, and watch the HD movie “Beyond the Frozen Sunset”. For extra special fun, add on an exciting Hagglund ride or a 4D show (Ice Voyage 4D and Happy Feet 4D). Catering is included with vegetarian and gluten free options available and party hats and plates. Bring your own cake, or we can provide a Penguin Birthday cake for you. The Birthday boy or girl will also receive a free birthday gift from the Antarctic Centre as well as a certificate for a free entry next time they visit.
For more information on the International Antarctic Centres Birthday Parties, click here.
Antarctic Centre open 9am-5.30pm daily (including Christmas Day)
Cafe open 8am-5pm daily
For full detail including price information click here.
FREE Penguin Express Shuttle - provides you with free shuttle transport to/from the city to the attraction. Let someone else do the driving! Click on the link for full transport times and pick-up and drop-off locations.
Freephone: 0508 PENGUIN (736 4846)
Antarctic Academy - growing the next generation of explorers
Our education programmes are designed to suit your interests and learning needs.
We organize: -
- interactive curriculum-based programmes for Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, ESOL and International student groups
- fun and highly entertaining programmes for sport teams, community groups and holiday programmes
All our programmes include entry to the International Antarctic Centre and Penguin Encounter. The all-time favourite Hagglund ride and the stimulating 4D show 'Ice Voyage' are optional extras. For full details on our Education Centre and how we can help you please click here for further information.
Kids School Holiday Programmes with a difference!
Need something to entertain your kids in the school holidays? Send them to Antarctica! Well.... not literally, but the next best thing! Enrol them in our school holiday programmes (options from 1-3 days) and we'll entertain them and educate them about all things Antarctic!
For full details on these exciting school holiday programmes click here.