Canberra is the perfect school holiday destination. Whatever their age, whatever they’re into, Canberra is the cream of the crop when it comes to school holiday fun for the kids. Here’s a look at some of the essential experiences.
Australian War Memorial
Climb into a Vietnam War era helicopter, explore a First World War trench or a Cold War submarine, and learn about peacekeeping at the Australian War Memorial’s Discovery Zone. Reflect with your family while viewing the Roll of Honour that records those Australians who died during conflicts. Visit during the school holidays and take part in workshops and hands-on history sessions, especially designed for school aged children. Free general admission.
National Zoo & Aquarium
Get up close and personal with some of the world's most amazing creatures at the National Zoo & Aquarium in Canberra. Take part in the Family Tour and go behind the scenes. Help feed the animals, look a big cat in the eye and even hand-feed a giraffe or bear. Older kids can also take part in the Zooventure and Meet-a-Cheetah tours. From lions and tigers to giraffes and monkeys, the Zoo features a variety of native and exotic animals. Admission and tour charges apply.
National Arboretum Canberra
Walk, drive or cycle around the National Arboretum Canberra, with its 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. There’s plenty of space for the kids to run and roam. They’ll especially love the Pod Playground which features acorn and Banksia cubbies, rope tunnels, tube slides and climbing nets. The views are spectacular and are best accompanied with a perfect cup of coffee or meal from the Sprout Cafe. Free admission.
Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre
For hands-on fun with an educational twist you simply must make your way to Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. With its interactive galleries and exciting experiments, Questacon makes science fun, interactive and relevant for all ages. Free fall down a six-metre slide, be shaken by an earthquake or star in a Spectacular Science Show. With more than 200 hands on exhibits, visitors of all ages can explore the world of science. Admission charges apply.
National Dinosaur Museum
Roar with the dinosaurs at the National Dinosaur Museum at Gold Greek Village. You’ll find lots of robotic dinosaurs as well as models and skeletons on display. The team’s passionate dinosaur experts are on hand to answer any questions. Touch a genuine 150 million-year-old dinosaur bone and view and purchase fossils, minerals and crystals. Admission charges apply.
Cockington Green Gardens
Tower over tiny versions of famous buildings from around the world and ride the mini steam train at the delightful miniature village of Cockington Green Gardens at Gold Creek Village. Kids can bring the exhibits to life with interacting mechanical animation and enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds or a bite to eat from the Parsons Nose Garden Cafe. Admission charges apply.
Australian Institute of Sport
Inspire your little sporting dynamo with an athlete-guided tour of the Australian Institute of Sport and hear about the strenuous training regimes they undertake to make it in their sport. Test your sporting skills at Sportex, an interactive sports experience that will have you kicking footballs, playing wheelchair basketball and racing a friend on a simulated mountain bike race. Australian Institute of Sport tours operate daily for 90 minutes at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm. Admission charges apply.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Just 45 minutes from the city centre you can search for a platypus and explore bountiful wildlife from wetland boardwalks. Play on the Nature Discovery Playground, search for Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies or koalas in walk through enclosures. See abundant kangaroos and emus across the reserve, then collect wood and roast marshmallows on an open fire. Don’t miss seeing the tiny, brightly-coloured Northern Corroboree Frogs in the Visitor Centre. Ranger-guided tours, weekend activities and school holiday programs are also available. Admission charges apply.
Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex
On the outskirts of Canberra is the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex. Learn about the role that Australia plays in the exploration of space, see a piece of the Moon that's more than 3.8 billion years old, check out the latest images from across the Solar System, and take a hands-on trip around the Solar System. The complex is one of the few sites around the globe that communicate with deep space probes like the New Horizons program to visit Pluto. Free general admission.
National Museum of Australia
Build a time-travelling robot and blast off to explore a mystery location at Kspace, the new interactive adventure game for kids. Discover fascinating, moving, enriching and entertaining objects, interactive exhibits and children's activities throughout the Museum. Enjoy the range of school holiday programs and tours, or enjoy a bite to eat in the Museum Cafe, complete with spectacular views over Lake Burley Griffin. For children of all ages who love stories, the National Museum is where our stories live. Free general admission.
The Canberra Glassworks is Australia’s only culture centre dedicated to contemporary glass art. See leading glassmakers in action, meet the artists, view exhibitions or take a behind-the-scenes tour. Budding artists over the age of eight years can even try their hand at creating a glass tile, or purchase a glass treasure at the Canberra Glassworks shop as a memento of your visit. Entry is by donation.
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Escape from the hustle and bustle of the Canberra city in this beautiful collection of Australian plants at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Enjoy a range of walking trails to suit all ages, interesting plants and animals, special events, lawns for running and playing, numerous picnic tables and a cafe and bookshop. Wandering the cool, shady environment of Rainforest Gully is always a highlight -you won’t believe you’re just a few minutes’ drive from the city centre. Free general admission.
EXPERIENCESAustralian Institute of Sport (AIS)
EXPERIENCESTidbinbilla Nature Reserve
EXPERIENCESAustralian National Botanic Gardens
EXPERIENCESNational Film and Sound Archive of Australia
EXPERIENCESNational Gallery of Australia