Brisbane's inaugural World Science Festival earlier this March has attracted double the anticipated level of interest, with more than 120,000 visitors descending on the city over the course of five days.
More than 100 free and ticketed events took place across the festival, featuring everything from theatre and art to explosive demonstrations and freshly hatched baby turtles.
According to a Queensland Museum representative, the overall number of patrons attending festival events over the weekend was greater than the combined total of attendees for two sports matches that took place on the same weekend - a Brisbane Broncos game and a Brisbane Roar match, attended by just over 51,000 people.
Queensland Museum Network CEO and Director, Professor Suzanne Miller said that many people don't even realise how deeply entrenched science is in our lives.
“That’s the great thing about the World Science Festival model — it brings science out of the labs and into the streets where it’s highly visible and accessible to all," said Miller.
“We knew Australians have a strong interest in science, however, we were very pleasantly surprised by the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to the festival."
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the festival had offered something for young visitors and science buffs alike.
"The World Science Festival Brisbane gave Queensland a fantastic opportunity to showcase our regions latest innovations and scientific discoveries - work that is having a significant impact locally, nationally and globally," she said.
And co-founder of WSF physicist Brian Greene said he was thrilled by the success.
“Over the course of the festival, Australian visitors were inspired by close encounters with leading scientists, researchers, philosophers, artists, authors and inventors who explored and debated questions about the universe, our changing world, and the role science plays in some of the most urgent issues of our time," he said.
“And I had a spider named after me, something very cool that certainly doesn’t happen every day,” he added.
World Science Festival was founded in New York in 2008, and the Brisbane festival is the first time this prestigious event has been hosted overseas. Queensland Museum has obtained exclusive rights to the festival in the Asia-Pacific region for the next six years.