The International Antarctic Centre is located in the suburb of Harewood, Christchurch, New Zealand, close to Christchurch International Airport. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the city.
The Centre is home to the New Zealand, United States and Italian Antarctic Programmes and comprises administration offices, warehousing, an American/New Zealand clothing store, a post office and travel agency, the Antarctic Passenger Terminal and the Visitor Centre, now called 'The Antarctic Attraction'.
It is for this last item that the centre is best known, as it forms a significant tourist attraction. 'The Antarctic Attraction' consists of Antarctic exhibits, a cafe, and bar. The centre operates a Hagglund Ride around the centre's land. This is aimed mainly at children, however is an educational tool for all ages, to display the mobility of the Hagglund. The Hagglund is an Antarctic Vehicle that is still in operation.
Among other attractions, there is an Antarctic snow storm room, an audiovisual display, and little blue penguins at the NZ Penguin Encounter. The centre is set up for taking in penguins from the wild that are in need of help, with one of those penguins nicknamed 'Morgan' getting media attention for refusing to swim.
In 24 September 2009, at the prestigious Canterbury Champion Awards Dinner, it was announced that the International Antarctic Centre had been judged the overall winner in the Champion Host ¨C medium, large enterprise category. The International Antarctic Centre was recognised as the Champion Host Winner and shared the finalist category along with Whale Watch Kaikoura and Canterbury Museum.