Australia’s national capital, Canberra is filled to the brim with fun things to do with kids. Read our pick of the ACT’s top things to do with kids.
63 things to do in Canberra with kids
Australia’s national capital, Canberra is filled to the brim with fun things to do with kids. Read our pick of the ACT’s top things to do with kids.
Canberra may be the home of Australian politics, diplomatic negotiations and a never-ending supply of embassies. But our cool capital is also home to a treasure trove of family fun. Here is our guide to discovering the capital’s joys in winter and beyond.
Please note, due to COVID-19 restrictions, there may be some changes to business hours and operations. Please contact individual businesses for the most up to date information, including opening times and safety measures.
The National Science and Technology Centre is a family-favourite where you do everything from experience an earthquake, get close to a lightning bolt, walk over the surface of the moon or freefall six metres down a vertical slide. This extraordinary interactive museum makes science not only easy to understand, yet also, incredibly fun for both adults and kids.
Questacon is currently open for pre-booked 2-hour timed sessions, with safety for visitors and staff top priority. Sessions run hourly from 9am each day, with the last session starting at 3pm. Tickets must be pre-booked online for all visitors, including babies and children. Numbers are limited so book early so you don’t miss the opportunity to unleash your child’s inner inventor.
If your family has always wanted to see a sabre-toothed tiger, woolly mammoth or velociraptor, be sure to make your first stop at Gold Creek the National Dinosaur Museum. The museum has Australia’s largest permanent collection of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. With over 25 complete skeletons and fleshed-out models, and hundreds of individual items, it is more than worth a visit.
The museum also features a landscaped dinosaur garden complete with life-like fibreglass models including Encounter Stan – Canberra’s biggest dinosaur who is 20 metres long and towers above our entrance being a lofty six metres tall. During the school holidays, the museum also runs exclusive guided Night Tours and Junior Paleo After Hours Tours with up to 20 people per tour.
The museum is currently open, operating on a restricted capacity of 100 people per timed 1-hour sessions. It is recommended that bookings be made in advance.
A visit to the National Zoo and Aquarium is also a must for any family visiting Canberra. Located just five minutes from the city centre, it is one of Australia’s largest private zoos and the only combined zoo and aquarium.
Families can choose from a number of exciting tours including the new Awesome Roarsome Tour, where visitors have the opportunity to hand feed a lion, a tiger, a bear and a hyena; or the Wonders of Wildlife tour where you’ll learn what it’s like to be a zookeeper for a day through hands-on experiences.
The National Zoo and Aquarium also pride themselves on housing animals in large open environments, with viewing generally across moats or low-level fences so that even pint-sized visitors can get a good view.
4. Sleep with a beast
Exhausted? Pack your bags for the quirkiest sleepover ever, a wild overnight safari at Jamala Wildlife Lodge at the National Zoo and Aquarium.
There is a family room overlooking a meerkat enclosure, one massive aquarium, one with sun bears staring into your lounge, others where your bed is a glass wall away from a tiger or lion. Or you could be up a treehouse feeding giraffes (depending on your kid’s age and availability).
There’s an African-style dinner included. Children’s meals are served alongside the adult entrees, so they can leave for a guided night tour of the aquarium while you enjoy mains. Jamala is best for children over six years of age, though children aged four to six can also stay on specified family nights once a month.
For more fun, head over to the National Museum of Australia on Acton Peninsula. The fun starts at KSpace for a blast to the past. Using a touchscreen, kids can build their own time-travelling robot, then blast off to explore a mystery location in Australia’s past.
Another highlight is Prehistoric Australia for kids where kids can discover all the dinosaurs, pterosaurs and giant marine reptiles that once roamed the planet. The museum also has an exciting line-up of activities and events specially designed for children throughout school holidays.
Then, there’s more fun to be had just out of town at Gold Creek Village. A 20-minute drive from the city centre, it is full of family-friendly attractions, craft shops and eateries.
Return to the city and head for the Museum of Australian Democracy located in the National Heritage-listed Old Parliament House. Here, politics and history are not just for the adults.
This gorgeous heritage building was the home of the Federal Parliament from 1927 to 1988, and now offers exhibitions, tours and events that bring our history to life, as well as fun-filled activities for kids. A must for families is ‘Play Up’, where little ones can dress up and think up their rights, and the rights of children around the globe.
Book a General Museum Pass in advance to explore the museum at your own pace or book an additional Building History Tour to learn about the history of the building before you explore further on your own.
While the idea of politics may be of minimal interest to kiddies, exploring Parliament House is still a novelty regardless. Take some happy snaps in front of the unique facade (angling the camera as though you’re holding the Aussie flag is always a laugh), then make your way through security and into the world of Australian Parliament! Stop in at the Senate, the House of Representatives and see how many politicians older kids can recognise amongst the portrait collection.
Top it off with a trip to the “roof” and roll around on the grass before stopping for a drink and educational debrief at the cafe.
ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day are introduced to kids early in their schooling, and a trip to the War Memorial can boost their knowledge even more. The beautiful building, statues and exhibitions are worth going for alone, and a number of free, guided tours operate daily.
On top of this, the Discovery Zone lets kids interact with replica WWI trenches, the Australian home front, a helicopter, a submarine and peacekeeping strategies used in war-torn communities.
Look the people in the face who have shaped Australia politically, culturally and socially, at the National Portrait Gallery. Featuring famous and non-famous faces from throughout history to the present day, the Gallery’s exhibits will interest budding artists and photographers of all ages.
As well as spending the day with people like Paul Kelly and Elvis, the Gallery runs a variety of child- and family-friendly programs. General admission to the gallery is free along with some of the family activities.
The AIS facilities are open to everyone, so if your children need to burn up some energy swimming laps or hitting a ball around, there are 25- and 50-metre swimming pools and tennis courts that will make them feel like a pro. For a challenge, head to Sportex, a leading interactive sports exhibit set among a unique collection of Australian sporting memorabilia. Here you can experience first-hand, what it is like to be one of Australia’s High-Performance Athletes.
Public tours are typically run by an elite athlete who will show you around the world-class sporting precinct – you might see gymnasts in training or esteemed swimmers doing their laps.
This ACT attraction is of great appeal to children, especially if they are into trains or dolls. This fascinating display features meticulously handcrafted miniature buildings from around the world along with miniature people set within beautiful gardens. Families can explore by foot or take a ride on the mini steam train ride that goes around the village. The Rose Room indoor exhibition features a 34-room Georgian-style dollhouse, as well as a doll’s house that replicates the house in the classic novel The Seven Little Australians.
When you get hungry, enjoy homemade scones in the Garden Cafe or make use of idyllic surrounds and settle down in the picnic and playground area. The free gas barbeques and picnic tables are popular among families.
Cockington Green Gardens is open between 9.30am and 5pm. Cost: from $12.50 per child and $21.00 for adults. Families of five can enter for $59.00 and pay $5.00 for an extra child.
The CSIRO Discovery Centre provides the perfect means to demystify scientific concepts in young minds. Their aim is to show real science in an entertaining and educational setting. Here you can see scientists working in proper laboratories – but it’s definitely not just white coats behind glass.
Kids will experiment for themselves in the hands-on DiscoverLab, and learn new things in the OptIPortal theatre and 3D@Discovery experiences. They’ll grow insight into issues like green energy, climate change, biodiversity and gene diversity – all in a way they can actually understand (and impress their teachers with later).
For families who are interested in movies, television, CDs and radio, ScreenSound Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, is an exceptionally cool place to visit. Housed in a beautiful art-deco building, which is one of the oldest in Canberra, it is full of atmosphere and is said to be haunted.
Be sure to visit the new interactive exhibition Hive. Here, you’ll find the Storywall featuring life-size projection of six NFSA experts ‘waiting’ for visitors to interact with them using their mobile devices. Once selected, they will tell a story about themselves and their passion for Australia’s audiovisual history, as well as digitally showcasing items from the NFSA collection. The NFSA is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm daily, with concession prices available for children under 16 years old.
Have you ever wondered about the coins in your wallet? A visit to The Royal Australian Mint in Canberra is where all your questions about coinage and currency are answered in style. The Mint is the place to learn about everything from how to make Australia’s change to the old action to minting your own $1 coin.
Make sure you say hi to Titan. He’s the strongest robot at the Mint and can lift 1,000 kilograms. Then explore the coin-making process through interactive touchscreens and videos. Admission and parking are free and free public tours are also available.
15. Cycle around Lake Burley Griffin
Sometimes the best days spent together as a family are the simplest. A day spent riding bikes around iconic Lake Burley Griffin is guaranteed to be a hit. Peddle past the Captain Cook Memorial Jet and perhaps finish up with a play on the fantastic ‘Castle Playground’ (complete with stone towers and tunnels) in Commonwealth Park.
Bike hire is available from Cycle Canberra, based at the Australian National University. Alternatively, look for one of the Share A Bike stations spread across the city and south of Lake Burley Griffin. There’s a good mix of bikes available, including child bikes and even a couple of bike trailers.
The Telstra Tower, visible from most locations around Canberra, will have the kids intrigued. One of Canberra’s most popular attractions, the working telecommunication tower rises 195 metres above the summit of Black Mountain and has the city’s highest cafe. At the top, you can take in stunning 360-degree views over the city and surrounding areas and enjoy spotting all of Canberra’s iconic buildings from the observation deck and outdoor viewing platforms.
Filled with rich history, Canberra Glassworks offers a peek inside the exquisitely colourful world of glass art, craft and design. Offering a dynamic exhibition program and a workshop space, kids will be awestruck by artists’ handiwork as they wander through one of the largest open-access glassmaking facilities in the Southern Hemisphere.
Since its official opening in 1982, the National Gallery of Australia has become an integral part of Australian cultural life and the international art world. It initiates and hosts major exhibitions sourced internationally on a regular basis and lends works of art to exhibitions both in Australia and around the world. The permanent collection spans some 5,000 years of international art and more than 30,000 years of indigenous Australian culture.
The Children’s Gallery is called the Tim Fairfax Learning Gallery. It has regular programs for children of all ages; there is a Mobile Studio that pops up all over the gallery and free collectible drawing sheets, designed by guest artists.
The Canberra Space Centre is your gateway to the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. One of only three stations in NASA’s Deep Space Network (with a huge antenna dish spanning 70 metres in diameter and weighing 7.5 million kilograms), it is responsible for providing two-way radio communication with dozens of robotic spacecraft exploring the Solar System and beyond.
The fantastic view, fun interactive and static displays and wide range of archive and new video footage create a visit that you won’t forget.
Located 45 minutes from the heart of Canberra in the Tidbinbilla Mountain Range is Corin Forest – Canberra’s only winter snow recreation area. For families that don’t have much experience out on the slopes, this is the perfect spot to learn the basics with a lesson or two, or, for younger kids, snow play offers snowman building, tobogganing and snowball fights. Afterwards, warm up with the cafe’s selection of gourmet burgers and woodfired pizzas. During summer visit the forest for cycling, camping and a 1.2 km slide that winds through the forest.
22. Power Kart Raceway
Budding rev-heads will love darting through obstacles and zipping around corners on Power Kart Raceways’ indoor track on an electric go-kart. One race includes 14 rip-roaring laps. Kids six-12 years and over 124cm are allowed to race the Junior Karts. If you’re over 12 years old and over 148cm, you can race in an Adult Kart.
Also at the Power Kart Raceway is Jungle Golf – Canberra’s first indoor glow in the dark mini golf course. The jungle-themed 18-hole course is illuminated by special UV lighting and is suitable for all ages. The air conditioned course is perfect for groups, families and individuals.
23. Bike Riding for Kids
Argus Park in Canberra’s suburb of Wright hosts a 600-metre walk track. This flat area is perfect for small children who are wanting to ride their bikes about but are too small for the trails of Stromlo Forest Park across the road.
Wrights Playground is a five minute drive away that offers similar features. Wrights Children’s Playground is just across from here too and boasts a jungle-gym for kids who don’t want to ride.
John Knight Memorial Playground has great flat paths for kids on bikes too. Wide paths wrap around a giant red play structure with two large slides and a miniature rock-climbing wall. The paths cross small bridges over man-made ponds.
If the kids are still a little unsteady on wheels, check out one of the Learning To Ride centres. These centres offer basic to advanced training for little ones. There are tracks with footpaths, round-a-bouts, pedestrian crossings, line markings and road signs, just like the real thing. Aimed at kids in pre-school to year four, the company is a great opportunity to teach your kids about the fun and safe aspects of bike riding.
24. Yarralumla Play Station at Weston Park
The Yarralumla Play Station is an adventure hub that is bound to keep kids of all ages entertained for hours. Home to one of the largest mini golf courses in Australia, Yarralumla boasts a 36-hole course sprinkled with some of Canberra’s most quintessential landmarks. A 25-metre wide replica of Lake Burley Griffin and the Parliamentary Triangle are amongst others.
Take a ride on the Weston Park Miniature Railway that coasts in a figure-eight around the park, or check out Yarralumla’s furry farm friends. There are ponies, lamb, chickens, sheep, goats, alpacas and pigs – just to name a few – that roam around their enclosures freely. The cafe on site is perfect for lunch with the kids and sells coffee for parents.
25. Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Set within a picturesque nature reserve, play at Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground can be either active or calming. Families can bring their bikes and cycle around the reserve on the sealed road and fire trails, or simply sit back and relax with the local wildlife.
Home of the Freakshake, Patissez has taken the world by storm. Don’t just take our word for it – ask its 37,000 Instagram followers! Its colourful, loaded and tasty creations will make your little ones’ jaws drop and their eyes gleam with delight.
27. The National Arboretum
Canberra’s National Arboretum – a botanical garden dedicated to conservation, scientific research and educational purposes – features 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from around the world. It also features a rocking playground, The Pod, with giant acorn cubbies, nest swings and banksia pods that encourage children to climb and explore.
28. Frugii Dessert Laboratory
Frugii takes pride in creating superb-tasting desserts “the proper way”. Through using all natural ingredients and making its own bases, extracts and pastes, this dessert mecca has developed a huge following. If somebody in your family has a food intolerance, Frugii is the place to go. Its natural approach to food creation means everyone can enjoy a sweet treat – with no guilt or discomfort!
29. Old Bus Depot Markets
Truly a sensory experience, Canberra’s fantastic Old Bus Depot Markets are open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Wander through the bustling crowd as you taste, smell, look, touch and listen to all the colourful creations that the clever local craftspeople have to offer.
30. Boundless Canberra at Kings Park
Boundless is an exciting initiative allowing children of all abilities to play together. The innovative playground incorporates ideas from around the world to promote inclusive play, with equipment that can be easily accessed by all without being readily identifiable as ‘disabled access’ equipment, and zoned spaces for different ages and abilities.
31. Red Hill
Soak up the scintillating views at Red Hill, a lookout located to the south of the city centre. In autumn and winter, the brilliant red and orange hues of the treetops are especially breathtaking. Explore the enticing eucalypt hollows before stopping to enjoy the delicious treats on offer at the resident eateries.
32. Stripey Sundae
Head to Stripey Sundae for a unique treat; these homemade ice-creams are not only delicious, but surprising. The flavours change regularly, so one day you may have a salted caramel sundae, and the next, wattle seed.
33. Secret wizard’s business
Quizzic Alley is the most magical shop in Australia: it’s Harry Potter heaven and like Platform 9¾ itself, it’s almost as tricky to find among the car yards and warehouses of Fyshwick. But wave your wand and mutter something that starts with “expecto” and this fanciful shop appears.
Floor to ceiling, there is more official merchandise than you can wave your wands at, but Quizzic Alley is an experience as much as a store. Pile into a replica of the Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia, sip on a creamy butterscotchy QBrew (a delicious take on Butterbeer), pop on the sorting hat and talk all things magical and muggley with owner ‘Nearly Legless Mick’. It’s the perfect nickname and you’ll find out why when you meet him. Visit during school holidays to take a potion class.
34. Jet Flight Simulator
Based on the Boeing 737-800NG flown by professional pilots, and perfect for ages six and up, this unforgettable jet flight simulator is one of a kind. The kids can become a virtual jet captain as an experienced instructor guides them from take-off to landing, on a flight that doesn’t feel virtual at all.
Also at the jet flight simulator venue is ICAROS, a VR fitness and entertainment experience. You can dive, fly and drive through virtual worlds, all whilst exercising your mind and body. Choose to swim in underwater worlds, fly through the Swiss Alps, fight shooting drones or race others. To experience ICAROS, participants must weight 110-kilograms or below and be at least 150-centimetres in height.
35. Ski or snowboard in summer
What could be stranger than skiing or snowboarding in Canberra on a 30-degree summer day? Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports is an alpine-style chalet in Fyshwick where old racing skis have been repurposed as a ceiling fan that spins overhead, old chairlifts dangle and rough-sawn Oregon timbers clad a bar serving hot chocolate, mulled wine and schnapps.
Kids will love carving up the specialised rolling nylon fibre mats and getting tips on technique from Austrian ski coach, Paolo Bellini. Paolo says, nothing can replace real mountain slopes, but how good is it to be able to train year round, improve your skills and retain muscle memory all on a never-ending run?
36. Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary
See Eastern Bettong’s at Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary. There are hundreds of these endangered marsupials bouncing around. The 485-hectare fenced sanctuary keeps the bettongs protected from predators. The bettong is nocturnal, so a twilight tour offers the best chance to see them. Expect lots of whispered “ooohs” and “ahhs” on this tour and keep a lookout for the bettong’s roomies: eastern quolls, bandicoots, sugar gliders and night birds such as the bush stone-curlew.
With every tiny bounce of the Eastern Bettong, your heart will leap to see this cute marsupial back on home ground after previously being hunted to extinction on mainland Australia.
A short stroll from the National Dinosaur Museum takes you to The Canberra Walk-in Aviary – a walk-in aviary where feeding the birds is always lots of fun. This large, planted aviary allows birds to fly free. The Bird Walk houses over five hundred brightly-coloured birds – around three hundred and fifty finches and two hundred parrots. The birds breed in the aviary and some of the young parrots are hand-reared and will sit on your hand while feeding. The Bird Walk is open everyday unless very hot or very wet.
38. See nature’s Lego blocks
Just say Legoland and you’ll have the kids in the car. But ‘Legoland’ Namadgi National Park has no coloured plastic blocks – it’s even better! Massive granite boulders, in nature’s primary colours, have tumbled over each other in beautiful bushland and are so much fun to explore. From Canberra, it’s a 45-minute drive to Tharwa, where you must stop at Namadgi Visitors Centre to get a map of the bush track to the site – don’t try to find it alone, people do get lost. It’s a short 15-minute walk and easy enough for most kids to manage though you may need to toss in an occasional piggy back for little ones.
39. Take a picture at Commonwealth Place
Commonwealth Place is a great place to visit in Canberra with kids. It is on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin in the Parliamentary Zone. Walk along the waterfront, make use of the ample public space and snap a photo of the kids rolling down the walkway to remember your holiday.
40. Ride a GoBoat on Lake Burley Griffin
There’s no better way to explore Canberra’s iconic man-made lake than on a motorised boat. Gather your crew of up to eight people to hire a GoBoat, with no licence or previous experience required. Starting from the Kingston Foreshore, cruise under Kings Avenue Bridge and up past the National Gallery of Australia, all the way to the Captain Cook Memorial Jet, blasting water high into the sky. Bring your own picnic to make use of the boat’s onboard picnic table, or order a pre-prepared one to take with you.
41. Canberra Theatre Centre
Despite its transparent façade, you’re venturing into the exciting unknown when entering the capital’s wonderful theatre centre. Located in the heart of the city, it’s a hub for all things that little ones love and school holidays are filled with entertaining shows and activities.
Attend a concert by much-loved children’s bands the Teeny Tiny Stevies or The Wiggles. There are numerous events aimed directly at children. For something more family inclusive, try something like Shrek The Musical.
There’s even stuff for mum and dad. UB40 are having one of their 40th anniversary shows here, performing on May 3rd, 2021.
42. Stromlo Forest Park
This vast recreational park is a sports hub for families. With a 2.5-kilometre grass running track, more than 40-kilometres worth of biking trails and a network of equestrian routes, a large portion of this park is dedicated to recreational and professional sports. However, it’s a great spot for families to spend the day too.
There are six bike tracks at Stromlo, ranging from Beginners to Advanced. The beginners track takes between 20 and 40 minutes to finish. Trailing along the base of Mt Stromlo and around the Holden creek area, it is gentle and easy to navigate, making it perfect for kids.
There are two intermediate, two intermediate/advanced, and one advanced track. These are probably less suitable for children, but might appeal to teens or parents. Keep your eye out for horse riders though, as they always have right of way.
43. Kayak along Canberra’s waterways
Admire Canberra from the water with a day of kayaking with your family. There are a few different spots to launch you boat from that’ll get you up-close-and-personal with some of Canberra’s beautiful scenery.
Molonglo Reach is a small stretch of sand next to the Burley Griffin canoe club. It’s a safe and quiet spot to launch into the Molonglo river, where you can paddle right to view the stunning Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve up close.
Henry Rolland Park is a great spot to begin, due to its various family-friendly facilities. There is a wet dock for canoe and kayak launches alongside two jetties and a 150-metre long boardwalk. For those who want to stay on shore, there’s BBQ picnic areas, flat biking paths for kids, outdoor fitness equipment and lots of grass for running or relaxation.
If you need to hire kayaks, try Yarralumla Bay. There are plenty of kayaks, canoes and other watercraft to be hired from the YMCA Paddle Hub. It is also a popular swimming spot for families with little ones as there are no waves and a cordoned-off section of water for safety. There are public toilets, free parking and picnic areas with BBQ’s.
44. Explore Lennox Gardens
Lennox Gardens unfold across the shores of Lake Burley Griffin and boast cultural experiences, vast grassy areas with picnic and BBQ areas and gorgeous Canberra views. The kids have lots of space to roam and can learn a little bit about Asian heritage as they go.
Inside the park, make sure you visit the Beijing garden, with its traditional Chinese welcome gate, Chinese art sculptures and a beautiful Chinese pavilion. The Canberra Nara Peace Park is also within Lennox Gardens. The park is a tiny slice of Japan in the heart of Canberra, with cherry blossom trees and traditional Japanese-themed garden and gazebo.
45. The Nara candle festival
In October of each year at the Canberra Nara Peace Park in Lennox Gardens, the ground is lit up with thousands of candles to celebrate and commemorate the Canberra Nara sister relationship. trees are littered with coloured lights and statues around the park are lit up. The festival highlights how interested and fond Canberra’s residents have become of the Japanese culture.
Some of the best aspects of the Nara candle festival include traditional cultural activities that the whole family can enjoy, such as origami, lantern-making and calligraphy. There is also entertainment that will fascinate the kids, such as Japanese martial arts demonstrations. Japanese food stalls are sprinkled throughout the festival for a yummy bite to eat whilst taking in the spectacular views.
46. Canberra Aqua Park
Open during the Summer of each year, the Canberra Aqua Park promises hours of fun on the water for kids aged five and older. Kids under 10 must be accompanied by an adult at all times, offering family fun for everyone.
The Aqua Park is made up of inflatable obstacles such as tunnels, slides, bridges, ladders and a massive jumping pillow. These obstacles range in size for ability-types and there are flatter surfaces for the little ones. Commencing on the hour and running for 50-minutes total, each session at the Aqua Park gives kids enough time to explore the obstacles and cool off.
The surrounding water is cordoned off in an enclosure for safety. Other safety measures include mandatory life-jackets, frequent water tests, lifeguards and a safety briefing at the beginning of every session.
47. Ride in a hot-air balloon
There’s nothing like an aerial-view of a beautiful place. Rather than restricting your experience to a plane, try out an amazing hot-air balloon ride above Canberra.
Balloon Aloft Canberra meet their customers in the foyer of the Park Hyatt hotel on Commonwealth Avenue, approximately half an hour before sunrise. The company also offer a full buffet breakfast upon return, which comes at an additional cost. Children as young as six can ride with the company, making for an amazing family experience that includes everyone.
Adrenaline also offer hot-air balloon rides above Canberra with kids six an older being able to attend. Depending on the direction of the wind, you’ll either sour over Canberra city or be blown towards the countryside. The flight goes for around an hour and includes complimentary champagne and juice for the kids at the end.
48. Lake George Winery
About an hour’s drive north from Canberra sits the Lake George Winery, the oldest winery in the region. The scenic 54-kilometre drive here takes you through the stunning countryside of outer-Canberra and along to the tip of Lake George.
The winery is the perfect opportunity for parents to relax a little and try some delectable and unique wines. You won’t have to worry about keeping the kids entertained either. There is a children’s play area, giant Connect Four, a flying-fox and colouring to be done. Harry the Sheep and the horses nearby are always hungry too, happy to have the children feed them.
49. Australian National Botanic Gardens
These gorgeous gardens in the heart of Canberra are great for a family day out. There are many walking paths littered throughout the park that are suitable for children. Keep your eye out for rare and endangered plant species and lots of colourful birds flying about.
The paperbark treehouse and garden are popular with the kids. Climb up the three-storey treehouse to experience canopy views of the surrounding forest. There is wheelchair access via a ramp to the first platform. From there, a ladder will take you up to the crow’s nest at the top of the structure. There is also a ‘Who Did That?’ children’s trail that teaches kids about the importance of bio-diversity via fun activity stations.
Other Botanic Garden highlights include: the Botanical bookshop, the Eucalypt lawn, the rock garden, rainforest gully, the Pollen cafe and the red centre garden.
50. Kambah Adventure Park
This unique park includes a playground has been designed to accommodate kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers.
For the little ones, there’s smaller playgrounds that are low to the ground and offer giant noughts-and-crosses, ramps, small bridges and gentle slides. For the bigger kids, giant swings, a space net and a tree-house provide hours of fun. There are also junior and senior flying foxes and a half-pipe for skaters and bikers.
But wait, there’s more. Kambah Adventure Park also includes sandpits, a rock-climbing section with numerous walls for ability-types and a wheelchair accessible swing. Both shaded and uncovered picnic and BBQ areas are dotted throughout the park.
51. Robyn Rowe Chocolates
A 30 to 40 minute drive outside of Canberra, Robyn Rowe Chocolates is a sweet-lover’s heaven. This is a great spot to bring the kids if you want to indulge a little and spoil them.
The chocolates at Robyn Rowe are all handcrafted using ingredients found in or around Canberra, including peppermint, ginger, caramel, vanilla and jasmine green tea – just to name a few. Kids can learn how the chocolate is made and then try it out for themselves. A lot of the chocolates come in bite-sized pieces, decorated according to their flavour.
There’s also outdoor games like quoits, noughts-and-crosses and totem tennis for the kids to burn off all the energy from their sugar hit inside.
There are over 50 species of reptiles and frogs on display at the reptile zoo, including bearded-dragons, lizards, snakes, turtles and geckos. Alongside the live-animal enclosures, there’s a ‘Reptiles in Space and Time’ that can teach children about the history and evolution of Australia’s coolest reptiles through fossil records.
Kids can even opt to have a close-up encounter with a snake through the ‘Snakes Tales’ educational program. The program allows kids to handle friendly pythons, making a great photo opportunity. A shop on-site sells accessories for reptile pets and plush reptile animals to buy as souvenirs.
53. Murrumbateman Winery
Here’s another great kid-friendly winery, just 45-minutes from the Canberra CBD. The staff here are passionate about their unique range of wines and control the process from the start – from hand-picking in the vineyard to stomping on the grapes themselves. The winery offers tasting, cheese boards, coffee and baked goods.
For the kids, they’ll be in good company with the many dogs who call Murrumbateman Winery their home. They’re super friendly and love pats. There’s also a ping-pong table, chalkboard tables and colouring books that’ll keep the kids entertained while parents sip on delicious cool climate wines. With views of the stunning Canberra countryside, Murrumbateman makes for a great family day out with activities for the whole family to enjoy.
54. Ride the famous Merry-Go-Round
You will find this stunning, 100-year-old Merry-Go-Round in the heart of Canberra’s CBD, just a 10-minute walk from City Hill. Riding the Merry-Go-Round is like taking a step back in time; the ride has kept all of its old features whilst maintaining safety updates and regulations. The horses, which all have names, are beautifully coloured and decorated. Add in the magical music and the carousel becomes a whimsical ride for both children and adults. The admission fee is only $3 for all ages.
55. Phillip ice-skating centre
The ice-skating centre is the perfect place to escape the heat on a hot day in Canberra, or simply to take the kids for a day full of fun. All equipment can be hired on site, so all you need to bring is some warm clothes and a can-do attitude for those first few wobbly laps of the arena. On Friday nights, the centre hosts a disco, starting at 8:30pm. All ages are welcome to come down and skate along to some great tunes. There are also skating lessons for those who are a little more apprehensive to step onto the ice.
56. Big Splash Water Park
Another great way to cool off in Canberra is the Big Splash water park in Macquarie, which opens between November and March every year. There are nine slides that offer fun for everyone, from toddlers to teens.
For the little ones, check out the kiddie pool, with lots of fun and interactive water-play objects. Other kid-friendly options are Splash Island and the play pool. There are nine slides on site; one for every ability and bravery level so nobody misses out. There are also pool inflatables, family slides and a 50-metre lap pool to relax in. Check out Canberra’s only water park cinema at Big Splash too, where you can float about on rubber tunes and watch a movie the whole family will enjoy. The kiosk sells food and refreshments and there are lifeguards on duty at all times.
57. Defy gravity at indoor rock-climbing
The Canberra indoor rock-climbing centre is perfect for climbers of all levels, including kids six and under. There are walls for all ability-levels. The rocks range from large and easy to grab for little hands to small and intricate for those with more experience. There is also an autism access night, a ladies only night and a kids club, where parents can climb for free. There is a supervisor, but parents must watch their children at all times. Rubber mats are placed below the walls for safety.
Harnesses, shoes and chalk bags can be hired on site, just make sure you wear the appropriate clothing – most exercise gear works great.
30-minutes from the heart of Canberra, take the kids to an accredited Australian riding school where they can learn how to ride a horse. Lessons are catered for all ability types and offered in a safe, fully-supervised environment. Children as young as six can get involved, who will be accompanied by a trainer at all times. There are group training sessions as well, meaning the whole family can get involved without having to be separately trained. Boots and a helmet will be provided by the school, however bookings are essential. Afterwards, have a bite to eat together at the Homestead Cafe on site, open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
59. Monkey Mania
This is a great spot for the kids to expel all of their holiday energy. Monkey Mania is an indoor play centre for children aged one to twelve. With jumping castles, a foam ball area, slides, a spider web and electric go-karts, the kids will be entertained for hours. A massive climbing structure in the middle of the centre features tunnels, stairs and bridges, all surrounded by transparent netting for safety and easy parental supervision while children are inside the structure. For the little ones, there is a cordoned-off dedicated toddler area. The structure inside offers similar features, it’s just smaller and equipped with cushioned surfaces.
Mum and dad, don’t worry. The centre is fully air-conditioned and it’s attached cafe offers food for the kids and coffee for the parents.
60. Mind Trap Canberra
Escape reality at Mind Trap Canberra, a virtual reality centre dedicated to multiplayer and group bookings. Fight dragons, battle each other and get yourselves out of tough situations in otherworldly locations. Your experience will most likely take place in a booth, a three by three square-metre area where you can move about freely while enjoying virtual reality. If you’re doing an escape room, the booth may be bigger.
Children as young as seven can experience some of what’s on offer at Mind Trap, but the recommended minimum age is 10. There are no food or beverage services, but visitors can bring their own water. Safety measures are in place to prevent people falling over or running into walls whilst wearing the headset.
This is a fun, interactive space for families to challenge each other with a game of laser tag. Each participant, which includes children as young as six, done a computerised vest and are armed with a handheld laser gun. You are then set free into the dark playing arena, which has obstacles, hiding spots, lights and music. Chase each other around and zap your opponents to win. However, if you have less than 15 people in your group, be ready to merge with another. The more the merrier though!
62. Inflatable World Oz
This has got to be one of the coolest kids venues ever. At Inflatable World, most of the room is made from jumping pillows. There are numerous different inflated vessels including jumping castles, a velcro wall, giant slides, basketball hoops, a battle ring and a rock-climbing wall – just to mention a few.
There is a no socks – no play rule, however the centre do sell socks for $2.50 if you forget. Purchase food and drinks inside as well, or bring your own lunch if you wish.
63. Catch a film at Sunset Cinema Canberra
A once in a lifetime experience would be watching a movie surrounded by the gorgeous native plants of Australia, and now you can do just that, right in the heart of Canberra. Sunset Cinema is located within the Australian National Botanic Gardens and is the perfect spot for an evening family outing. There are films for everyone, with previous showings of family-favourites such as Frozen and Grease. Bring your own cushions and blankets, hiring seating, or opt to watch the movie in style with the Lawn Lounge package, which provides a reserved bean lounger, seating in a prime viewing area and bottomless popcorn. Don’t forget the on-site bar and nightly food truck!
Adult admission is $20, $17 for concession and $14 for kids under the age of 12. Children under the age of three have free admission.
Canberra family accommodation
Jamala Wildlife Lodge
Jamala Wildlife Lodge
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