Things to see and do in Canberra during summer school holidays
Children dress up in costume to act out roles in the history of democracy at The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Entertain children of all ages in Canberra during the summer holidays.

Canberra is an ideal destination to visit in summer, there's plenty of cool things to do as a family and we've put together some highlights on offer from our national attractions.

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Stand up, dress up, make up, think up and step up to turn traditional museum experiences on their head. The new children’s exhibition space, Play Up pokes its tongue out at the idea that museums are hands off. You become the curator and put your work on the walls and media screens. Pop into Play Up’s brand new graffiti room, discover the indoor and outdoor family action packs, zine making and dress ups. Play Up is free after paying the general admission fee to MOAD.

National Zoo and Aquarium

Be brave. Take part in an animal encounter and get up close and personal with cheetahs, sharks, sun bears, white lions and red pandas. The interactive Family Tour is ideal for younger children. Come face-to-face with all creatures great and small, feel the warm breath of a giraffe on your face, experience the rush of looking a big cat in the eye and challenge yourself to hold or touch a snake. For something really different, consider staying at the zoo with animals right at your window in Jamala Wildlife Lodge.

National Portrait Gallery

The Portrait Gallery hosts regular summer activities to complement its annual school holiday programs. Draw along to music in free classes. Explore portraiture. Listen to excerpts from classic literature and create your own visual response during Story Time. Explore portraits through drawing and creative activity in the galleries at Portrait Play and watch regular screenings of family films throughout the summer holidays.  Free. Bookings essential.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

No family trip to Canberra is complete without visiting Questacon. Home to a range of interactive exhibitions like Awesome EarthWonderworksQ Lab and [email protected], Questacon is a favourite with the young and the young-at-heart. Surprise your senses and challenge your mind in Perception Deception with more than 60 hands-on and multimedia exhibits featuring perception tests and illusions. Questacon is a brilliant activity for school holidays, with Spectacular Science Shows, Puppet Shows for preschool audiences, and a range of fantastic hands-on activities in Q Lab.

Australian War Memorial

Visit the Australian War Memorial with your family and connect with the stories of people and events that have shaped our nation. Search for family history and wartime experiences of relatives who served in Australian military forces during conflict. Climb into a Vietnam War era helicopter, or explore a First World War trench or a Cold War submarine in the Memorial’s Discovery Zone. During school holidays participate in hands-on-history, where kids can handle real objects and dress up in nurse or soldier uniforms. Hear extraordinary stories about ordinary Australians, or see moving performances portraying the experiences of women during wartime. Children can also make their own colour patch, bookmark, or poppy to take home as part of Drop in craft.

National Library of Australia

The National Library buzzes every summer school holidays. Drop in to read, write, illustrate and imagine as part of the Library’s WordPlay program. Fun activities are available in the pop up kids’ space exploring the shape, meaning and use of language. There are also story time events and free screenings of children’s films in the Library’s theatre.

National Museum of Australia

Discover the National Museum with the self guided kids activity trail. In the process your kids can become a Museum Trailblazer and explore Australian history through the stories and objects in the extensive collection. Collect your free Museum Trailblazers sticker and activity booklet from the information desk in the main hall when you enter the museum to begin the adventure through the Australian story. Free entry.

Family summer accommodation deals

Canberra has plenty of family friendly accommodation. From five star luxury properties, to serviced apartments, budget hotels , on site cabins and even camping options, you'll find your preferred choice by browsing our list of Canberra and region accommodation properties.
Call our visitors centre on Friday afternoons on 1300 554 114 for last minute deals. They are often better than what you can find through online booking sites.

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