IMAGES: Queensland Museum

By HARRY CLARKE

A LOCAL motel manager at Chinchilla was baffled when a woman, who’d called to book a room, asked whether the facility was pet-friendly. “We have three snakes, an owl and a crocodile travelling with us,” she said.

But the bizarre enquiry made perfect sense a week later, when the motelier happened to attend the World Science Festival, which is touring regional Queensland in the lead-up to the main event in Brisbane.

The stable of critters were among the stars in raft of fun attractions at the event.

The World Science Festival is presented by the Queensland Museum as part of the Future Makers partnership with Shell QGC. The event has visited Chinchilla six times and last year attracted 3,300 guests.

Sensational science shows, exploding experiments and an abundance of hands-on science activities such as coding and virtual reality activities and pop up workshops immersed students and families at the Chinchilla Cultural Centre.

“We’re really lucky to get science out of the labs and bring it to the streets,” said Cathy James, head of World Science Festival Brisbane.

“It’s really important for people to see science, see that it’s fun, and see that it’s something that they can be part of and something that’s accessible for them.

“These are hands on experiences that some people wouldn’t otherwise get. The kids’ faces just light up. They get wound up with excitement.

“It’s cool to be a science geek – the geeks are taking over!”

Shell QGC spokesman Ross Pelling said the Future Makers partnership, which brought the event to town, was aimed to inspire youngsters to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) – areas which are fundamental to the resources industry.

“It’s absolutely critical to our business and that’s why we’re really proud to be part of that partnership,” he said.

“As we move into the future we’ll be even more reliant on STEM professionals as we continue to try and transition to more renewable energies.

“We also want to foster the development of locally grown talent in the communities where we operate, so we hope to inspire students from this region to consider opportunities in STEM-based careers.”

The World Science Festival will move on to Gladstone, Toowoomba, Townsville and Ipswich in the coming weeks.

Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch said: “World Science Festival is the only festival of its kind held outside of New York, and is supported with a $3 million investment from the Palaszczuk Government every year.

“The arts are key to delivering our plan for economic recovery, each year contributing $8.5 billion to the state’s economy and supporting more than 92,000 jobs for Queenslanders. That is why this Festival is so important for our communities.”

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