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Charlie Bauchop (11) and his mother, Naomi, were the first two people through the gates of the Tuhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre when it opened to the public for the first time on Saturday morning.Charlie was a frequent visitor to the museum’s Discovery World and the redeveloped science centre got his seal of approval.
"There’s lots of choices and everything looks really cool ... I really like the slide."
One of the centre’s main attractions is a 7.6m-high spiral slide based on the DNA double helix. Mrs Bauchop said Charlie had planned ahead to make sure he was one of the first to experience the $2.5million redevelopment.
"We knew if we got here early enough there was a good chance of being the first in."
Joining the dozens of visitors both young and old experiencing the centre for the first time was museum director Ian Griffin, who was pleased with the early turnout.
"This has been four years in the making, including the three months it took to build and redevelop, it so it’s very exciting to see the faces of the visitors coming through for the first time."
Dr Griffin said as well as the science centre, the museum’s tropical forest had been made fit for purpose and new creatures added.
"I know I shouldn’t be the one saying this but we really do now have one of the best science centres not just in New Zealand but in the world."
Dr Griffin said about 800 people visited the centre over the weekend.
"On Saturday, we were contending with amazing weather so attendance at the museum tends to be relatively low.
"But nearly 350 people came through on the first day, which is a really good day for a first day.
"The really pleasing thing was everybody had a really good time and nothing’s broken, so we’re really happy about that.
"It’s been a very good start to the summer season and I think when word of mouth gets out, we’re going to be inundated later in the season."