Christchurch International Antarctic Centre turns 25!

The Christchurch International Antarctic Centre will mark its 25th year!

Owned and operated by South Island tourism company Real Journeys since 2015, the attraction was originally built by the Christchurch International Airport Ltd (CIAL) to provide a visitor centre for its Antarctic campus and show why the airport was so important for the New Zealand, United States and Italian Antarctic scientific programmes.

The centre remains at the heart of the working Antarctic campus but over the years has become a more interactive tourism experience.  It now includes an Antarctic Storm simulation with real snow and ice, an indoor/outdoor penguin viewing facility, a 4D (four-dimensional) cinema reported at the time as the first of its kind in New Zealand and the all-terrain amphibious Hãgglund course.

“The International Antarctic Centre is a really unique tourism experience – it is the closest most of us can get to one of the most extraordinary places on earth.  We look forward to celebrating this milestone with the people of Christchurch and are already working on a concept to reimagine the centre for the next 25 years,” says International Antarctic Centre General Manager Martin Exon.  
 
The centre was opened by British botanist and broadcaster Professor David Bellamy and gained further international attention in 1999 when then US President Bill Clinton gave a major speech on the environment to over 4000 guests that was beamed live to several American as well as New Zealand networks.  It has won several awards over the years, including the Visitor Attraction Category of the New Zealand Tourism Awards in 1997, and the Champion Host award (for medium-large enterprise) and overall winner at the Canterbury Champion Awards in 2009.  
 
Christchurch International Antarctic Centre turns 25!