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Address: 2 Worcester Boulevard | Christchurch Arts Centre, Central City, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand
Phone Number:
+64 3-363 2836
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

Arts Centre's newest attraction, Rutherford's Den - an historic space...

Arts Centre's newest attraction, Rutherford's Den - an historic space dedicated to the science of New Zealand's most famous scientist. Ernest, Lord Rutherford, the moustached man on the $100 note, began his education in the very rooms that Rutherford's Den is located. Visitors get to experience not only the historic features of the rooms, but brand new state-of-the-art exhibits as they learn about the science of Rutherford and his peers. The transformation of Rutherford's Den cost $2m and, as an independent charity, the Arts Centre will use some of the money from ticket sales to help pay for this - plus refresh it in future. Online ticketing is now available or you can buy tickets at the on-siteshop.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 10 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 4
  • 4
    Very good
  • 2
  • 0
  • 0
Very eductional and informative

Good rainy day location proximate to Botanic gardens worth a visit with family as many interactive and learning exhibits of things that changed the future

Reviewed March 1, 2017
Alexander M
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10 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 10: English reviews
Level Contributor
170 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2017

Good rainy day location proximate to Botanic gardens worth a visit with family as many interactive and learning exhibits of things that changed the future

Thank Alexander M
Management response:

Thank you for your response. We take great pleasure in providing interactive and learning exhibits aimed at the entire family. Thank you for your visit and we hope to see you again sometime soon. More 

Egg Harbor City, New Jersey
Level Contributor
309 reviews
180 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed February 5, 2017

A new addition in Christchurch since the earthquake is the Rutherford's Den. place where the young and old can learn about atoms, and ions and other science related things from the past. It's not a big place and would take maybe 2 hours top but it is interesting to visit. I'm not sure if it is worth $20 a person,... More 

Thank pretblueye
Management response:

Thank you for reviewing Rutherford's Den. We are pleased you found something educational and interesting for all ages. With regards to the lack of lift/elevator, during the restoration we were not allowed to retrofit one as the building is a Historic Place Category 1. We understand that it can be challenging for those who have difficulties with stairs, and so... More 

Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
33 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2017

A good way to spend an hour on a rainy afternoon. Well presented interactive displays, and an interesting overview of one of New Zealand's most influential people. My 16 year old son did not want to go in, but I found him engrossed in many of the displays. Interesting from both the historical and scientific perspective. Very friendly staff.

Thank MichelleF325
Management response:

We at Rutherford's Den are very glad you enjoyed your time at the Den, and are very pleased to hear your son found it interesting too. Thank you for visiting us and we hope to see you again soon. More 

Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
432 reviews
95 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed September 17, 2016 via mobile

I would have gave this Very Good or Excellent but I don't think it is worth $20pp. Lots of boards explaining the history. Some are interactive. The old lecture theatre is awesum to see.

Thank TheSnakebite
Management response:

Thank you for visiting Rutherford's Den. We are sorry you didn't think it was worth the $20 entry fee. As an independent charitable trust we look for ways of raising money for the $35 million restoration and rebuild cost of the building and exhibits, including the lecture theatre. The admission fees for Rutherford's Den goes towards this cost. We are... More 

Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
322 reviews
156 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2016

Building a tourist attraction based on the work of a Nobel laureate might seem like a hard ask, but Rutherford's Den in its new incarnation (post-earthquakes) makes a great attempt at making science & mathematics lively. Not all the exhibits were working or clearly explained but there are several hands-on activities for older children. For the older visitors, there is... More 

Thank zhuhai2007
Management response:

Thank you for visiting Rutherford's Den. We are pleased you enjoyed your visit. We are sorry to hear that some of the exhibits were not working for you. We did have some early teething problems last year but now are fully up and running. The range of items in the shop has since increased, and so we encourage you to... More 

Christchurch NZ
Level Contributor
99 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2016

Rutherford Den is opening following Christchurch earthquake repairs. It has had a total makeover to include interactive displays modelled on modern museum science. Earnest Rutherford attended this college during the 1890s starting his work to ultimately understand the atom. His fame was ensured when attending universities at Oxford and Cambridge in the UK. The new-look den is ideal for young... More 

1 Thank Bikingroy
Management response:

Thank you for visiting Rutherford's Den and the wonderful review. We are very pleased you like the exhibit and encourage you to visit us again soon. More 

Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
421 reviews
292 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 202 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Amazing place with holographs and the lecture theaters that were used when Rutherford was studying there. I love this place.

1 Thank nglenjarman
Management response:

Thank you for your review of Rutherford's Den, which you correctly said was damaged during the 2011 earthquake. However, the Den has now been fully restored and renovated with modern electronic exhibits and displays. We at the Den encourage you to come back and revisit Rutherford's Den, which still has the amazing original lecture theatre, back in its rightful place. More 

Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2012

Art Centre was badly damaged in earthquakes so there is not access to this attraction at present.

1 Thank Deltaprime
Management response:

Rutherford's Den has now been completely restored and renovated with state of the art exhibits, such as interactive touch screens, all aimed at bringing the life and work of Ernest, Lord Rutherford to life. We encourage you to come and visit Rutherford's Den which is now fully accessible at the Christchurch Art's Centre. More 

Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 25, 2012

a great effort to display and tell the story of Rutherford.

1 Thank amhere
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
257 reviews
152 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 203 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2008

This was the highlight of my visit to Christchurch as I am a Science person. It is great to see the place that this genius of NZ lived and worked. There are replica of his living quarter and working places, demonstrating display of some of his experiments, audio play of his lecture and others' comments about him, as well as... More 

Thank WoodlandsSingapore

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