Family friendly fun in half a day
Only have a morning or afternoon to spare? Here's some top fun things to squeeze into a half day of family fun. Of course, half a day is never enough in Canberra, but these activities will whet your appetite and you'll know what to spend longer doing next time you visit!
The science of fun
A family trip to Canberra simply isn’t complete without a visit to Questacon — The National Science and Technology Centre.
Questacon makes science fun with its interactive galleries and exciting experiments. Free fall six metres down a vertical slide or be shaken by an earthquake. Uncover the mysteries of science in eight themed galleries. Explore how water shapes our world and how we use this precious resource in H2O Soak up the Science.
Discover the fascination of scientific inquiry and watch live science demonstrations with Questacon’s science communicators and visiting scientists.
After an action-packed half day at Questacon, enjoy a meal at the National Library of Australia’s cafe – bookplate. Dine on the Library verandah overlooking the lake, or inside cocooned by the Leonard French stained glass windows or just simply sitting in the foyer and enjoy the buzzing cafe’s hospitality.
Flora the explorer
Combine some healthy exercise outdoors with a journey through the flora of Australia at the National Botanic Gardens, the largest living collection of Australian native flora. Wander through the mists of time in the rainforest gully, explore Sydney sandstone flora, venture to the Red Centre and see rare living fossils like the Wollemi Pine. The gardens have numerous walks and plenty of lawns to lay out a picnic, or grab a bite to eat from the cafe and restaurant in lush surrounds.
Around the world in a forest
The National Arboretum Canberra is ideal to visit when you have a spare 3-4 hours. The arboretum is one of the world's largest living and growing collection of rare, endangered and significant trees. There's over 48,000 trees planted in 94 forests from species collected around the world. Wander through the forests and explore colourful foliage all year round. Marvel at the miniature living artworks in the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, grab a bite to eat at the Sprout Cafe, dine in the Conservatory Restaurant and find wonderful gifts, educational toys and more at The Curatoreum gift shop.
The Arboretum is also home to Pod Playground, one of Canberra's most popular play areas and definitely a great place to burn off some additional energy, explore the play equipment and have fun. The Arboretum gives stunning views back across the lake to the city and is just around the corner from the Botanic Gardens.
Gold Creek Village is a gem of a precinct on Canberra's north heading out on the Barton Highway. Tucked away in the village is the amazing miniature world of Cockington Green Gardens featuring miniature scenes hand crafted in intricate detail showing famous landmarks and villages from around the world all set in superbly manicured gardens. Jump on the steam train and get an overview of the extensive layout. Across the road is the National Dinosaur Museum. Home to all things dinosaur, the museum is home to an extensive collection of fossils, a garden of dinosaurs and a gift shop with an extensive range of fossils, gems and geological curiosities.