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Illuminate: How Science Comes to Light

Price range $0–$12
plus museum entry $0–$15
Information for your visit

Gather the crew and get ready for an epic interactive light adventure!

Illuminate is a brand new exhibition exploring the science behind the fastest traveller in the universe – light. Ignite the senses and learn through hands-on interactive play. What is light, what can we do with it and how do we see?

In this vibrant festival-themed exhibition you will explore visual perception and illumination through colour, sound and action. Learn how light behaves, such as how it reflects and refracts and what tools we’ve invented to harness it.

You can choose-your-own-adventure and experiment together with colours, shadows, mirrors, lenses, lasers and more. You’ll use your whole body to activate exhibits and see yourself and the world around you in a different light.

Be drawn by colour, sound and activity to move between six festival zones, each exploring a different aspect of sight and light, as well as a rest zone to regroup and relax.

Compose a luminous symphony and mix light to create a field of colour. Manipulate mirrors and encounter surprising views of yourself as you navigate through a series of warped reflections. And dance to the drumming beats of the invisible laser sensor chamber.

Bend light, blend colour, dance with shadows and transform reflections. With an array of open-ended interactive exhibits, magnify, mix, animate, draw, design and compose – all with light!

Explore the festival zones

Use this map to guide you through the Illuminate exhibition.

Wonder Vision

We see things because light reflects off objects and surfaces into our eyes.


Disappear behind an invisibility shield.

Science: Lenticular lens bends light for optical illusion of invisibility.

Inverse Eyeverse

Find out how we see by playing with this simple camera which turns things topsy-turvy.

Science: A simple camera shows how light forms an upside-down image at the back of our eye which our brain later inverts.

Turn Style

Make an animation by posing the figures and spinning the dance floor.

Science: Fast turning mirrors create reflective frames which blur into motion

Sensor Sonic

Sensors act like a computer’s eyes.

Chroma Keys

Spin the dials and program music with colour!

Science: Colour sensors detect the reflected energy of light to determine the colour. Our eyes have cone shaped cells which are colour sensors.

Scanner Jam

Pick up barcode scanners and scan different patterns to create your own soundscape.

Science: Pattern sensors detect the reflected energy of light to determine areas of light and dark. Our eyes have rod shaped cells which are light sensors.

Laser Beats

Dance your way through an invisible laser forest to make percussive beats.

Science: Invisible focused and coherent light (LiDAR) can be used for breakbeam and distance sensing

The Refractory

Science: Lenses refract (bend) light.

Macro Micro

Bend light with lenses to see tiny things in BIG detail!

Science: Different shaped lenses bend light to make objects appear in more detail. Stacking several lenses creates an even more zoomed in view.

Mega Heads

Duck into a perception changing, light-bending, magnifying lens booth.

Science: Fresnel lenses are special flat lenses which can magnify objects or focus light

Mirror Mirror

Science: Mirrors are special light reflectors.


Create a disco of patterns, colour and faces with a giant kaleidoscope and large-scale projection.

Science: Beautiful symmetrical patterns are seen as light enters the kaleidoscope and bounces back and forth creating mirror images of mirror images.

Reflect Yourself

Experiment with your appearance with a mix of image morphing mirrors!

Science: Different shaped mirrors can converge or diverge reflected light and warp your appearance.

Chroma Zone

Science: Additive and subtractive colour mixing.

Colour Connections

Use tubes and shapes to connect and blend coloured lights.

Science: Adding wavelengths of light together creates lighter and lighter colours until you get white light

Pixel Mixer

Create new pixel art by stacking and mixing different coloured translucent pieces.

Science: Filtering or absorbing wavelengths creates darker colours until you get black.

Light & Shade

Science: Light travels in a straight line, when it’s blocked, a shadow is cast.

Shadow Stage

Gather your friends on stage and dance with shadows!

Science: Opaque materials block all the light, translucent materials let some light through, transparent materials let most of the light through.

The Gathering

Sit under a calming canopy of lights in the centre of the exhibition where you can watch others play and recharge.

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