From ground-shuddering earthquakes to lava-spewing volcanoes, New Zealand has seen it all and if you’ve ever wondered how the unearthly geothermal landscapes of Taupo and Rotorua were created, pay a visit to Taupo’s Volcanic Activity Center. Designed not only to tell the explosive history of the local landscape, but to introduce volcanology and geothermal energy concepts to all-ages, the center is a hotbed of facts and phenomenon, presented in a series of engaging and easy-to understand exhibitions.
While there’s enough information to satisfy geology buffs, it’s the interactive elements that really captivate visitors, particularly younger guests. Pile the family into an earthquake simulator that reaches 6.3 on the Richter Scale; set off a simulated tornado and follow its destruction path; puzzle over a giant jigsaw of Plate Tectonics; or learn how a real-life geyser works with an exploding model. Those interested in finding out more, can watch videos of the 1995 Ruapehu eruption and read the detailed exhibition text, chronicling Taupo’s journey from prehistoric lava field to modern day town. Before you leave, don’t forget to check out the live seismograph that keeps tabs on recent activity – after all, you never know when the next force of nature will strike.