Fun Antarctica Facts for Kids

All About the Coldest Continent on Earth: Antarctica

Antarctica is the Earth’s southernmost continent- it’s twice as large as the country Australia! It’s most well known for being 98% covered in ice and brags about having the coldest recorded temperature in the world (read more to find out how cold it really was!). 

But don’t let the chilly temperatures and vast size of this continent trick you… Antarctica has some amazing things to offer! The continent is filled with gorgeous scenery and is home to many plant life, animals, and birds! 

Antarctica is located at the South Pole and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. 

Fun Fact: Antarctica is not only the coldest but the driest continent on Earth. It’s even considered a desert because it gets such a small amount of rain per year!

How cold is Antarctica?

Every winter, sea ice covers Antarctica, and it slips into months of darkness. The average monthly temperature for a winter in the South Pole is -60°C (that’s -76°F). Pretty chilly, right? But if you find yourself along the coast, closer to the ocean, the average temperatures are a little higher and reach −15 to −20 °C (that’s -5 and −4 °F). 

Remember that Antarctica has the coldest recorded temperature on Earth? That’s right, in 1983 at Vostok Station saw a temperature of −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F)! Don’t forget your mittens! 

So, why is Antarctica so cold?

It’s not only Antarctica! Both the Arctic (in the North Pole) and the Antarctic (in the South Pole) are cold because they don’t get any direct sunlight. Antarctica is on the side of Earth that is tilted away from the sun, making the continent very dark. 

What kind of animals live in Antarctica?

Antarctica is home to many different species of animals and birds! You can find many kinds of whales, seabirds, penguins, and seals! 

Does anything grow in Antarctica?

Antarctica is home to a small variety of plants and microbes. But not like the ones you’re used to seeing at home. The continent grows various types of lichens, mosses, algae, kelp, and teeny-tiny microscopic organisms.

Does someone own Antarctica?

No! No individual or country owns Antarctica. Antarctica is managed by a group of nations that all have territories on the landmass. Antarctica is unique in that the continent is reserved for peace and science.

Can you live in Antarctica?

Not really… You can’t live in Antarctica for the rest of your life as there are no towns or cities, and definitely no houses or apartments you can rent! But, if you want, you can work there. Antarctica has many research stations where hundreds of people find work! These scientific bases are sometimes called settlements. 

Fun fact: 11 babies have been born in Antarctica! 

Who works in Antarctica?

Most people who work in Antarctica are scientists. This includes biologists, glaciologists, geologists, oceanographers, chemists, and meteorologists. They go there to accomplish important research. But to live and work in Antarctica, research stations also need to hire cooks, cleaners, medics, electricians, and other essential teams that can help keep the station running smoothly. 

What is the largest research station in the Antarctic, and who owns it?

The largest research station in Antarctica is McMurdo Station. The station was created in December of 1955. It is owned by the United States Antarctic Program and is part of the country’s National Science Foundation. The research station also has the largest settlement of people in all of Antarctica, with over 1,200 residents living and working there. The McMurdo station is neighbors with New Zealand’s Scott Base, which is only 3 kilometers away! 

Pretty cool, right?

If you liked Fun Antarctica Facts for Kids and want to learn more fun facts about Antarctica, winter animals, or snow, just keep exploring Elapen’s blog posts for kids, check out some of our cool DIY projects, or play some online games. Whatever you decide, get ready to go on an amazing educational adventure!

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