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Aerial image of the Pod Playground at the National Arboretum Canberra with the arboretum and Black Mountain Tower in the background. | © Wunderman Thompson

10 cool things to do with the kids

Updated 21 Mar 2024

Top activities for the whole family in Canberra

From giant acorns to miniature villages, Canberra offers more than just the classics when it comes to epic family activities. There is no shortage of attractions and spaces that allow their imagination (and legs) to run wild.

Whether you like to entertain the family with something active, educational or both, your weekend and school holiday plans are sorted, with countless cool activities right at your doorstep. With indoor snow sports, lake-side e-scooters, and interactive museums, there’s no doubt the kids will be asking to come back every holiday.

A young girl looks to the distance from atop a playground

Play amongst nature's giants

The highly acclaimed POD playground at the National Arboretum Canberra invites children to scale magnificent climbing structures, exhilarate on thrilling slides, sway on swings, and explore wondrous giant acorn cubbies.

Next embark on a journey through the neighbouring Bonsai Collection, showcasing a world-class exhibition of the most exquisite miniature trees and forests found anywhere on Earth.

A group of children watching a science experiment at Questacon.

Enjoy classic Questacon experiences

Kids will clamour to visit Questacon — The National Science and Technology Centre. This interactive wonderland will have kids learning about the power of the elements, feeling the force of an earthquake, watching lightning strike twice and meeting the friendly mechanical humanoid, Robo Q. Questacon is more than a science lesson, it’s the spark that leads to a life of wonder and curiosity. Questacon is a multi-Australian Tourism Award winner with good reason.

A boy looking at two giraffes.

Meet animals big and small

See animals big and small from red pandas to rhinos. Enjoy more than you expect with animal encounter experiences that will see you meet and feed giraffes, white lions, meerkats and more. With 2.6km of walking trails, following the numbered Adventure Trail map is a great way to explore the National Zoo & Aquarium. With dedicated picnic and barbecue areas – plus a pretty 'roarsome' kids' playground – you can make a day of it.

Check times for the daily activities and keeper talks. During school holidays, the Zoo offers a Zoocation holiday program – make sure you book early to guarantee a place.

A young girl wearing a pointed witches' hat and harry potter robes.

Tons of indoor fun

Too hot, too cold, too wet? No problem. In Canberra, you’re spoiled for choice. Take your little wizards to the Harry Potter-themed Quizzic Alley shop and join a potion-making class. 

Nearby, climb boulders and walls at BlocHaus or challenge your mates to an electric go-kart race, a game of glow-in-the-dark mini golf or ice skating on a synthetic surface at Powerkart Raceway.

And of course, attractions like the Museum of Australian Democracy also known as Old Parliament House offer family activity spaces like PlayUP, where your kids can have fun while learning about democracy in action.

boy walking up to large model dinosaurs

Roar like a dinosaur and see life in miniature at Gold Creek Village

You’ll find giant dinosaurs, little worlds, reptiles and more at Gold Creek Village, a wonderland for the young and young at heart. Brush up on your Muttaburrasaurus facts during a tour of the National Dinosaur Museum and admire its extensive gemstone and fossil collection. Take part in a fun treasure hunt at Cockington Green Gardens’ miniature village while admiring the impeccably maintained seasonal gardens housing hand-built structures from your seat on their steam train. Feed birds from your hand – or from on top of your head – at the Walk-in Bird Aviary and see reptiles up close at the Canberra Reptile Zoo.

Get a Gold Creek Adventure Pass for easy entry to all four attractions.

A low ground perspective show a kid getting ready to put a golf ball into a whole under a mini replica Australian Parliament House.

Train rides and mini golf at Weston Park

Canberra’s Weston Park along the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin near the inner south suburb of Yarralumla is home to Yarralumla Play Station. Little ones will love the miniature train ride while school-aged kids will be kept entertained with a 36-hole miniature Canberra-themed golf course. Keen to putt on Parliament House? You can here.

There’s also a farm featuring animals such as miniature ponies, lambs, sheep, pigs, alpacas, chickens and more. Grab a bite to eat at the café and then let the kids roam on the playground adjacent.

Our insider's tip: grab arguably Canberra’s best kebab from the Yarralumla Turkish Halal Pide House or fish ‘n chips from Snapper by the Lake.

Koala at Tidbinbilla Nature Sanctuary

Spot a cuddly koala at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

There are plenty of paths to choose from at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, a 40-minute drive from the city centre, with a different experience at the end of each one. The 700m long Koala Path will take you past eucalypts that shelter the snuggly animals, Camels Hump trail boasts a sweeping view over Canberra and its surrounds, while the Sanctuary Loop offers plenty of opportunities for platypus spotting.

Join a Dhawura Tour to learn about Aboriginal history, connection to the land, and bush foods and enjoy more than a walk through the wilderness. Oh, and did we mention the kid's playground and vet centre?

Alpine adventures close to the city

Take an alpine adventure – just 45 minutes from the city centre. Year-round you can enjoy the alpine slide – weaving your way down the 1.2km metal toboggan slide which takes you through the stunning Mountain Ash forest of the Gibraltar Valley.

In winter you don’t have to travel to the NSW ski fields to hit the slopes. Corin Forest has easy beginners’ slopes designed to show kids the snow ropes from tobogganing to the basics of snowboarding. For those who aren’t ready to tackle the downhills, there are plenty of spaces to build snowmen or start an epic snowball fight.

Head to the lodge and find more than an open fire. With a cosy café tucked inside this alpine retreat, you can toast marshmallows, feast on woodfired pizza and enjoy hot chocolate looking out onto the snow.

A couple with two young kids relaxing next to their bikes near the lake.

Two-wheeled adventures

Locals affectionately have another name for the ACT – Australia’s Cycling Territory. Bike paths abound, connecting suburbs and green spaces to the city’s sights. Bring your bike on a visit or hire one or join a cycling tour. For mountain bike families, there are plenty of locations to choose from - from Majura Pines to Stromlo Forest Park – each with pump tracks and more.

Weekend riders can hire a bike with a helmet from the Canberra Region Visitor Centre for a leisurely ride around the lake. Teens (12+) can join a guided Segway tour and hire a scooter from Beam or Neuron if aged 16 (or 12+ if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian) to see the sights.

Make money at the Mint

The birthplace of Australia’s currency can make up to two million coins a day with the help of two robots, Robbie and Titan, and three automated guided vehicles called Penny, Pency and Florin. Kids can watch the robots hard at work from the Royal Australian Mint’s observation deck. They can even make a commemorative $1 coin.

The mint has more than just contemporary coins. Head to the gift shop to see collector pieces, centenary coins, and the ultimate tooth fairy kit.

A woman holding a plate with a pastel purple waffle underneath ice-cream and an upturned ice-cream cone holding fairy floss that looks like a unicorn's horn.

Spoil the fam with sweet treats

What kid doesn’t love a sweet treat? For inventive and insta-worthy desserts visit Space Kitchen in Woden or Ricardo’s at Jamison. The creations not only look great but also taste divine. Think unicorn waffles made from all the colours of the rainbow and milkshakes with a twist. 

Family fun experience guide cover

Want more family fun?

From tots to teenagers, we've got you covered with an array of exciting activities that span generations. Discover toddler-friendly wonders that will captivate the little ones, explore thrilling options that teens will love, and unearth dining havens designed to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. Rain or shine, this guide also unveils a treasure trove of indoor delights that guarantee endless enjoyment.

Download the family fun guide

Keep planning your family adventure

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