The Best Activities To Do With Kids In Canberra
Despite widespread opinion that our nation’s capital is a worthwhile city just for politicians and gaggles of school kids on their primary school pilgrimage to Questacon, Canberra is actually a cultural city with clout; offering some of Australia’s best and most kid-friendly museums, outdoor activities, educational play experiences and food spots.
Three hours from Sydney in the car with kids might be a big ask (oh and 7 hours from Melbourne), but oh the possibilities once you get there! The nation’s capital is abundant with activities families can share, both indoors and out.
National Film and Sound Archive
Australia's archive for all of the nation’s films, TV, radio, etc, is a Canberra institution but we are really, really excited about an exhibition - opening in September 2019. Game Masters is an interactive journey through five decades of video game history. Your little gamers (and us grown up ones) can take a journey behind-the-scenes, look at the creative process behind the world’s most popular characters and franchises (from Pacman to Sonic and Minecraft), as well as getting a chance to play them. Featuring interviews, never-before-seen concept artwork, an amazing display of vintage consoles and collectable items, and 80 playable games, you won’t want to leave! Find out more about Game Masters here.
Start at the top and work your way down. Science is at its most fun in Questacon, both adults and kids will be amazed as they make their way through each room. Check out what special events they're hosting: from engineering shows to botanical labs, your kids will leave with dreams of becoming scientists!
Open: 9am – 5pm
Child (4 – 16 years): $17.50
Child (Under 4 years): Free
Family (2 Adults + 3 Children): $70.00 ($8.00 for each additional child)
Cockington Green Gardens
Cokington Green Gardens has a unique and charming display of miniature buildings, including famous international landmarks. Make sure you hop on the mini train for a ride around the gardens! And keep an eye out on their Facebook for special offers as November 3 comes closer (it’s their birthday).
Open: 9.30am – 5pm
Children (4-16 years): $11.50
Family (2 adults & up to 3 children): $56.00
Extra children with family: $5.00
Miniature Steam Train Rides: $3.00
National Art Gallery of Australia
Image: Out & About With Kids
You may not think an art gallery will entertain the kids long enough but they are well catered for through a ‘treasure hunt’ of art works to find throughout the gallery, integrative kids tours and hands on activities. The ‘stART with art’ program combines music and an interactive tour for kids and parents, but it only happens on the second Friday of every month. There are also special tours for parents with babies, and they provide tasty muffins and coffee after the tour! Check out all the details and to book here.
Open: 10am – 5pm
National Dinosaur Museum
See Australia’s largest permanent collection of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, with over 50 life-like models, including robotic dinosaurs that move! Be brave and stand next to a T-Rex! Take a guided tour which are tailored to suit all ages of primary and secondary students, and bring a unique insight into dinosaur biology and evolution in a fun-filled, interactive experience. Get to touch fossils and specimens, ask questions, and take photos.
Open: 10am- 5pm
Family: $45 (Extra Child $5)
Under 4: Free of Charge
Old Parliament House
A firm favourite among kids is Old Parliament House (aka The Museum of Australian Democracy), which is a living museum of Australian social and political history. With an entire ‘Play Up’ area dedicated to entertaining the younger ones, there’s craft, drawing, reading, dress-up and more; which is sure to keep them entertained. The National Museum of Australia is another fave among families, thanks to a designated KSpace; the Museum’s interactive adventure game for kids which lets them build their own time-travelling robot then blast off to explore a mystery location in Australia’s past. Kids will absolutely love the DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition – From Sketch to Screen (12 September 2019 - 2 February 2020) where you can see some of the coolest things from the DreamWorks Animation studio. Highlights include pages from Poppy’s scrapbook from the toe-tapping movie Trolls.
Another cultural icon, The Australian War Memorial has designated things to do for kids; including storytime and craft activities, as well as a ‘Discovery Zone’ with a helicopter you can sit in, a submarine you can walk through and a host of interactive areas.
Black Mountain Tower (Telstra Tower)
Image: McCann Properties
The tower is 195m above Black Mountain with 360 degree views of Canberra and both indoor and outdoor viewing platforms.
Open: 9am – 10pm
Children 4-16 years: $3.00
Children under 4 years: Free
Family Pass (2 adults & 2 children): $17
Pod Playground at the National Arboretum
Let the kids burn off some energy at the Pod Playground. Rope tunnels, cubbies, noise producing activities….what more could a kid ask for? Nearby is the Village Centre where tired parents can find a cafe for all your caffeine needs!
Thanks to its burgeoning cultural scene, Canberra plays host to some pretty epic festivals throughout the year. Floriade is the city’s celebration of spring, which brings the city to life through beautiful floral displays during September each year. Enlighten is Canberra’s answer to Sydney’s Vivid, and the annual Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a stunning sight across Canberran skies.
For More Family-Friendly Australian Travel Inspo:
- The Best Things To Do With Kids In Tasmania
- Cool Things To Do With Kids In Western Australia
- Best Mums Retreats
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