School holiday program 26 Sept - 11 Oct

 Ali Clarke

Millions of years ago South Australia was an underwater breeding ground for ancient animals just like this baby plesiosaur (pictured above). Learn how their fossilised skeletons became preserved forever in opal.

Explore the full line-up of school holiday programs available 26 September -11 October 2015.


Young explorers

Week one: Monday - Friday, 19-23 October
Week two: Monday - Friday, 26-30 October
10:15 am - 10:45 am and 11:15 - 11:45 am
Limited spaces - booking essential
Please meet in the main foyer
Suited ages 3–5 years

Surrounded by the beautiful Opals gallery, children can come and explore the treasures buried in the outback – opals!

Book a Young explorers session at 10:15 am
Book a Young explorers session at 11:15 am

NB. Select the day from the drop down box on the eventbrite listing.

Extra sessions during Opals
–9 October
10:15 am – 10:45 am and 11:00 am – 11:30 am 

Book a Young explorers session on Tuesday 6 October
Book a Young explorers session on Friday 9 October

NB. Select the time from the drop down box on the eventbrite listing.


Opals: the 100 million year story

Wed 14 Oct, 6–7.30pm
Pacific Cultures Gallery
This talk is free, however bookings are essential.

The story of opals spans millions of years. As we celebrate the centenary of the discovery of opal in Coober Pedy, we invite you to look even further back in time, when most of South Australia was covered by an inland sea and the perfect conditions for opal formation were created.

Join Professor Allan Pring (the South Australian Museum’s former Head of Minerals) and Dr Danielle Clode (author of ‘Prehistoric Life of Australia’s Inland Sea’) for an evening lecture that will weave together palaeontology and mineralogy, sharing the science behind the ‘fire in the stone’.

The Opals exhibition will be open for attendees from 5.15pm, with admission payable on the night.


Inside the exhibition: interactive performances

Weekdays during school holiday programs
6–9 Oct and 11–15 Jan and other surprise appearances throughout Opals.

Throughout the course of the Opals exhibition, local performer Emma Beech will bring the exhibition to life with short, interactive performances inside the exhibition space. Visitors will have the unexpected opportunity to meet a host of different characters and hear tales inspired by the exhibition. 


Sprigg lecture series

Greg Rouse

6:00-7:00pm 3 November
Bookings essential

Queens (and kings) of Decay: Osedax boneworms and whalefalls

Greg Rouse, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Osedax is a recently discovered group of annelid worms where the females (mainly), with a little help from endosymbiotic bacteria called Oceanospirillales, feed on the bones of whales and other mammals in the deep sea. Osedax males are normally dwarfs that are thousands of time smaller than females. Females may therefore have large 'harems' with hundreds of males in their tubes. The known diversity of Osedax species is rapidly increasing, as is the evidence for Osedax on fossils bones.

In this Sprigg lecture, Professor Rouse will discuss what we know about the biology, life history and phylogeny of this extraordinary group of worms.

Suitable for ages 16+

As places are strictly limited please cancel your Eventbrite booking if you are unable to attend so we can secure a place for others.


Sprigg plus

Sprigg Plus

7:30-8:30pm 3 November
Bookings essential

Following the completion of the Sprigg public lecture, the South Australian Museum offers you an exclusive opportunity to meet lecturer Greg Rouse to further discuss topics raised at the lecture. Mingle with fellow Sprigg lovers and enjoy a stand-up, light dinner of delicious food and wine from the Museum’s catering team.


Coober Pedy comes to town!

Sat 7 Nov, 11am – 4pm
South Australian Museum lawns and foyer
This is a free event, however exhibition entry fees apply.

Opals were first discovered at Coober Pedy in 1915 and, since then, the town has become an icon of outback ingenuity. From the lunar landscape to the colourful characters, you’re invited to find out more about the world centre of opal mining at this family-friendly fun day of talks, tours and hands-on activities for kids.

For the full program, visit the SA Museum website in October.


Makers at the Museum: the rainbow connection

Wed 11 Nov, 6–8.30pm Meet in the Museum foyer Tickets: $25, includes entry to the Opals exhibition, materials and a glass of wine on arrival.

Join contemporary jeweller Lauren Simeoni for a hands-on workshop drawing inspiration from the colour spectrum of Australian opals. After a guided tour of the Opals exhibition with curator Ben McHenry, Lauren will lead participants through some simple conceptual making exercises, before giving everyone the opportunity make a piece of wearable art using an eclectic mix of recycled and salvaged materials and inspired by opals.


Night Lab

Fri 20 Nov, 6–10pm Throughout the Museum Tickets: $35 (on sale 19 October) -  includes exhibition entry, a drink on us at the Night Lab bar and nibbles.

Night Lab is your chance to venture to the Museum after dark for an evening of science, culture and curiosity. In November we’ll explore the Museum’s minerals collection and get to know the outback communities where opals are mined through hands-on activities, talks and tours. Don’t miss this evening of exploration and entertainment, along with drinks, food and great music in one of Adelaide’s most inspiring settings.


January school holiday program: under the Eromanga sea

Mon 11 – Fri 15 Jan

Kids and their families are invited to dive into Australia’s ancient inland sea and explore the technologies that help the Museum bring the prehistoric world to life! From 3D printing to fossil casting, join us for stories, hands-on activities and special displays. 

Full program details will be available in November.


Minecraft at the Museum

Mon 18 – Fri 22 Jan, 9.30am – 3.30pm
The Armoury (directly behind the Museum)
Suited for ages 8–13.
Tickets (on sale 16 November) $60 per child, includes exhibition entry and lunch.

Over the course of an action-packed day discover the story of opal mining in Coober Pedy using Minecraft. Participants will have a chance to explore the Museum’s Opals exhibition and visit virtual opal mining fields in Minecraft. Experienced facilitators will guide participants through a variety of activities and introduce them to basic coding techniques … bringing the opal fields of the outback to life!


Jenny Kee: iconic opals

Tue 2 Feb, 6–7pm Pacific Cultures Gallery Tickets: $25 per person, includes entry to the Opals exhibition and a glass of wine on arrival.

Pioneering Australian artist and designer Jenny Kee is renowned for her ability to showcase our cultural icons with humour, flair and a unique graphic style. In the 1980s, Jenny developed two textile designs based on the arresting colour-play in black and white opals. 
Join her at the South Australian Museum for an insight into her love affair with our national gemstone, her design process and stories from a life lived in full, vivid colour!