Visit Canberra for colourful autumn family holidays.
Children frolicking in autumn leaves in Commonwealth Park in Canberra during school holidays

Take the hassle out of planning school holidays with these ideas for autumn in Canberra. There's plenty of stunning colours to experience as leaves change into a kaleidoscope of colour across our extensive parks and reserves.

Old Parliament House

Experience how the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House has turned the traditional idea of what goes on in museums completely on its head. Play Up is a children's space that pokes its tongue out at the idea that museums are hands off. Children can also don a cape explore Behind the Lines 2014 with a Super-Hero trail, enjoy the hands-on activity table, and chill out with comics in the fabulous Zine Lounge. There will be cartooning master classes, Press Gang Action Pack'd Adventure kits and The Superhero-athon is back by popular demand.

Australian flora

Gather your family and curiosity for an afterDARK Lantern Tour and see what you can find in the Australian National Botanic Gardens at night. Bring your torch, follow the clues and discover the fascinating plant, insect and animal life in the Gardens at night. You can take home the coveted 'super-sleuth' prize if you are the first to complete the scavenger hunt challenge. Finish your night with supper and toasting marshmallows over the open-air fire.

Exotic animals in the city

For animal lovers, a visit to the National Zoo and Aquarium is an absolute must. Be brave and get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures like cheetahs, sharks, sun bears, white lions and red pandas. On the interactive Family Tour, suitable for younger children, you can come face-to-face with creatures both great and small. For an unforgettable family experience, check out the Jamala Wildlife Lodge and stay overnight in the zoo with exotic animals peering in your window.

Portrait play

Take part in a fun-filled autumn of activities at the National Portrait Gallery. Children can listen to stories from the book Twelve Terrible Tales by Jill Mather and create their own visual response, draw while listening to music in the Drawn in sessions, see a screening of War Horse directed by Steven Spielberg, and explore portraits through drawing and creative activity in the galleries during Portrait play. Bookings essential.

Making science fun

No family trip to Canberra is complete without experiencing the excitement of Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. Delve into a range of interactive exhibitions like Awesome Earth, Wonderworks, Q Lab and [email protected] Questacon is a favourite with the young and the young-at-heart. How good is your perception? Surprise your senses and challenge your mind in Perception Deception with more than 60 hands-on and multimedia exhibits featuring perception tests and illusions.

Discovery where our stories live

Drop in to the National Museum of Australia’s Discovery Space during the school holidays and work with renowned puppet maker and puppeteer Marianna Mettes from PuppetOOdle to help her bring some of the Toy Theatre stories alive on a bigger stage.

Commemoration for kids

Visit the Australian War Memorial with your family and connect with the stories of people and events that have shaped our nation. Explore art and personal stories in the Memorial’s Commemorative Area before creating your own poppy mosaic to take home as part of Mosaics at the Memorial. Join a curator to take a closer look at the paintings by well-known official war artist George Lambert. Learn about the history of animation and war and watch some much loved cartoons from the collection – including Donald Duck – during Moving Battle Lines: Animation And War.

Dinosaurs and fossils

Join one of the expert staff from the National Dinosaur Museum on a guided tour to experience a journey through time. Take your camera, your friends, those burning dinosaur questions and join the knowledgeable staff for a fun and educational tour suitable for all ages.

Australian native animals

Spot a wide range of Australian animals including kangaroos, platypus, potoroos, wallaroos, possums, wombats, echidnas, emus, lyrebirds and many other birds and reptiles at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Tidbinbilla offers an extensive program of guided walks and activities and special school holiday activities throughout the year. Walks and activities cater for a range of different age groups.

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