1. Australian National Botanic Gardens
Who said school holidays can’t be a relaxing and educational experience for all members of the family? Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy a peaceful stroll through the Australian National Botanic Gardens. You’ll discover an impressive scientific collection of native Australian plants in Rainforest Gully and Sydney Flora Garden and feel right at home on the Eucalypt Lawn. Keep an eye out and you might even spot a few dragon lizards sunbaking in the Red Centre Garden. Make sure to stop by the Visitor Centre and Botanical Bookshop. The Gardens are also home to the Jindii Eco Spa if mum or dad are looking for some pampering. Pollen café is open for takeaway and bookings can be made for small groups who wish to dine in.
2. Canberra Reptile Zoo
Missing your reptilian pals? Slither down to the Canberra Reptile Zoo at Gold Creek in Nicholls to learn about reptiles, great and small. With limits of 20 people and visits offered on the hour, book in quick so you don’t misss thisss! There are 50 different species of reptiles and frogs on display and this is sure to be a big hit with the family. Bookings are essential and can be made by phone - 02 6253 8533.
3. Canberra Walk In Aviary
What better way to spend the July school holidays than with some feathered friends! Step into the Canberra Walk In Aviary at Gold Creek in Nicholls. Make sure to tread slowly because before you know it, you'll have hundreds of birds spy the food in your palms and come to say hello. Always a highlight with little kids and families, the aviary houses around 500 birds in a 1000sqm area. Think Ace Ventura Pet Detective! Hold out your arms, slowly open your eyes and behold the feathered friendships you’ve just made.
4. Cockington Green Gardens
Another Gold Creek attraction, Cockington Green Gardens is a family favourite with displays of the miniature form. Walk through and admire the gardens, ride the steam train and look out for the little details scattered throughout, such as the streaker on the cricket pitch, that makes this attraction a one of a kind. Perfect for big and little kids.
5. Corin Forest
Attention snow bunnies! Corin Forest is open and is the perfect spot for snow play activities, just 45 minutes’ drive from Canberra’s city centre. The Alpine Slide is sure to be a big hit with the young and the young at heart! Ski + Ride bookings are also available for the July school holidays. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, booking online is essential – no walk-ins will be accepted. Remember to always check road conditions if snow is forecast or has fallen.
6. Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
Travelling with creative kids? Make sure a visit to Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre is on your to-do list. The centre is home to unique exhibitions and a beautifully curated shop. Exhibitions showing these school holidays include ‘YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN’ and ‘Differing Perspectives’, both showing from the start of the school holidays through to 22 August. The shop boasts locally made delicate and exquisite treasures.
7. Frugii Dessert Laboratory
It’s never too cold for ice cream, especially a Frugii Dessert Laboratory one! Located in the Ori Building in Braddon, this popular Canberra owned shop is the perfect pit stop after a day out or dinner along the popular Lonsdale Street strip. Choose from a selection of house-made organic ice cream flavours and expect an inventive flavour to be added to the menu.
Ahoy mateys! Hire a GoBoat from Kingston Foreshore and set sail on Lake Burley Griffin! Who knows where these electric powered picnic boats may take you? Will you pull rank as captain or sit back and enjoy the sunshine? Perfect to experience with a group of friends or as a family. Don’t forget to pack a picnic or order some food to take with you before you go. Bookings essential.
9. Grease Monkey
Pull in and fill up in Braddon. Grease Monkey has you sorted with legendary burgers and mouth-watering Detroit style pizza. Guaranteed to keep with whole family quiet while they’re devouring their lunch or dinner. Big day exploring Canberra and don’t feel like venturing out? No problem! There’s a take-away pack for all levels of hunger.
Looking for some quality time away from technology while you're in Canberra? Grab the kids and head to Guild, Canberra’s board game restaurant. You’ll find Guild on the lower ground floor of Bailey’s Arcade, in the heart of the city. Serving delectable wood fired pizza and the largest board game menu imaginable. Take a break from the screen and enjoy the sound of laughter as you conquer lands in Risk, teach your kids about rent and rates in Monopoly and bond with your adult children over a memorable game of Cards Against Humanity. Bookings essential.
11. Hire a bike and explore
Hire a bike from the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre at Regatta Point on the northern side of Lake Burley Griffin and get cycling. You have three lake loops to choose from depending on whether you feel like a challenge, a peaceful ride through the Jerrabomberra Wetlands or a gentle ride past some of the city’s iconic national attractions. Included in your hire are helmets, bike locks and bags and a quick guide on how to steer, brake and fold. You can hire for 2 hours, 4 hours or all day, so grab a map of the lake and get exploring.
12. National Dinosaur Museum
Is your little one dreaming of an archaeological dig? Head straight to the National Dinosaur Museum at Gold Creek and be instantly transported back to prehistoric times. They’ll soon know their Muttaburrasaurus from their T-Rex! Book online in advance to secure your ticketed session. The giant dinosaurs ‘roaming’ outside the Museum make for a perfect holiday selfie.
13. National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia is open, and visitors are encouraged to book ahead for their timed visit. Explore the International Art Gallery space along with two exhibitions, Belonging: Stories of Australian Art and XU ZHEN®: ETERNITY VS EVOLUTION. Our local tip is to make sure you experience the magic of the National Gallery Sculpture Garden!
14. National Museum of Australia
Step into Australia’s history and experience the Endeavour Voyage: The Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians exhibition now showing at the National Museum of Australia. Book a free, timed ticket and experience a deeper understanding of Australia’s First Peoples and Cook’s Endeavour journey. The Museum’s shop is open and bursting with Indigenous products, beautiful homewares, books, giftware and more. The Museum Café is the perfect stop for coffee and cake or lunch by the water.
15. National Portrait Gallery
One for the teens. Book ahead to secure your one-hour session at the National Portrait Gallery. These school holidays you’ll see the National Photographic Portrait Prize, the inaugural Darling Portrait Prize and Shirley Purdie’s exceptional exhibition, Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe (From my women). Stop by the Portrait café and Curatoreum shop before you leave to feed your appetite for food and knowledge! Book lovers beware as we guarantee you’ll be tempted in this shop.
16. National Zoo & Aquarium
Walk and talk with the animals and find out who’s who in the zoo! Located 10 minutes from Canberra’s CBD, the National Zoo & Aquarium is open 7 days a week and the animals cannot wait to see you. Book a Close Encounters tour to make these school holidays and trip to Canberra unforgettable!
17. Park-In Pictures
Just opened and just in time for the July school holidays is Park-In Pictures, Canberra’s very own drive in theatre! Juice up the DeLorean and travel back in time… or 15 minutes from Canberra CBD to Majura Park (near IKEA and Canberra Airport) for this retro experience. BYO snacks or support local food operators and enjoy some excellent cinema from the comfort of your car.
18. Pod Playground at the National Arboretum Canberra
Venture to the city’s living museum of forests, the National Arboretum Canberra, destination: Pod Playground! It’s the perfect spot imaginations to run wild! Hide in giant acorns, crawl through tunnels and enjoy a perfect day of play. Don’t forget to explore the Bonsai Collection and Curatoreum gift shop. Parents can grab a coffee from 'Ginger at the Arboretum' café. On a windy day, this location is perfect for kite flying.
19. Power Kart Raceway and Jungle Golf
Every family has an undefeated Mario Kart champion and it’s time to put their skills to the test. Head to Power Kart Raceway in Griffith for hours of family fun. Zoom around the racetrack to see who has the best lap time and then putt your way through Jungle Golf. This 18-hole mini golf course is not only jungle themed but also glows in the dark! Bookings are essential. So, tell us, are you a Yoshi? Or a Toad?
20. Quizzic Alley
Wands at the ready! Need to pick up a new cauldron or copy of Magical Me before your next term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Canberra’s own Harry Potter specialty store, Quizzic Alley, has everything your magical heart could desire. Come inside and get Sorted! Open 7 days and located in Fyshwick with ample parking for muggle cars, flying cars and Firebolt broomsticks but please, no arrival by floo powder. Don't worry, Peeves won't cause any trouble here.
21. Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre
This popular attraction reopens on 8 July with tours limited to groups of 15 people on their 90-minute Mission to Mars experience. Bookings are essential to avoid disapppointment.
22. Royal Australian Mint
The Royal Australian Mint puts icons of Australia’s cultural heritage directly into the hands of visitors. The image on each Australian coin produced by the Mint are conversation starters & history markers; statements on who we are & where we have come from. Mint your very own coin and take home a special keepsake or pick up a gift from the Mint Shop for a loved one.
23. Seg Glide Ride
For the ultimate family bonding experience hire a segway from Seg Glide Ride on Lake Burley Griffin. Segways are simple to master – simply lean forwards to go forward and lean backwards to stop. After your personalised lesson, put your new skills to the test. On your journey you’ll see famous landmarks, iconic buildings and have loads of fun!
24. The Truffle Farm
What are three words that no foodie can resist? Hunt, brunch and lunch of course! A short drive from Canberra’s CBD you’ll find The Truffle Farm, a destination for flavour fanatics to indulge their senses. Join a truffle hunt, a brunch or a degustation and add a little luxe to your holiday. Don’t forgot to grab some souvenirs from The Pantry to take home. Truffle butter is sure to impress at your next dinner party. Truffle triple cream brie anyone?
25. The Truffle Festival
It wouldn’t be winter in Canberra without The Truffle Festival. Get together and indulge in earthy and exquisite truffles, attend a truffle hunt and see doggos in action or book in for a cooking class to give your little Master Chef an exciting edge. Make your way to local markets and purchase truffle to take home and step up your home culinary skills. The full program of events is available on The Truffle Festival website.
26. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
See native Australian animals roaming at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, a 45-minute drive south of the city centre. Take the family on one of the many signposted walking tracks to explore the northern edge of the Australian Alps. Have fun in the playground and explore the Sanctuary boardwalk.
27. Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports
Can I ski and snowboard in Canberra? Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports in Fyshwick is your answer! No traffic, no crowds and a never-ending run down the slope. Okay, it might be without the actual white stuff but it’s perfect for all skill levels whether novice or seasoned athlete. If you’re a beginner, book a lesson with a certified instructor. Tough day on the slopes? Grab a hot chocolate and unwind by the fire.
28. Yarralumla Play Station
For an adventure to remember, make a beeline for Yarralumla Play Station at Weston Park, Yarralumla. See the farm animals or challenge your little one in a game of miniature golf. After you ride the miniature railway, make a stop at Station Stop Café for some delectable treats.