canberra with kids

We found plenty of fun things to do in Canberra with the kids on our last holiday to our nation’s capital. More than just the home of Australia’s Parliament House, Canberra has a huge range of family friendly attractions and activities, dining and accommodation options. I was also surprised at the abundance of free things to do in Canberra for those who don’t want to blow the holiday budget. Here’s a round-up of the top things to do in Canberra with kids.

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial was at the top of our things to do in Canberra list. The Memorial commemorates the Australians who have died in war, and help us understand the impact of this in our society through it’s museum and archives. Some kids may find a visit here confronting or upsetting – our kids were fine as we had discussed a lot of the topics with them before visiting, and we skipped any parts that we thought may be to ‘heavy’ for them to grasp at their ages. The Discovery Centre is a great space to check out with the kids. I could have spent an entire day here wandering through the halls and history.

Where: Treloar Crescent, Campbell
Opening Hours: Open daily between 10.00 am – 5.00 pm daily, closed Christmas Day.
Cost: Free.
Website: www.awm.gov.au

 

Cockington Green

Discover a tiny world of buildings and villages, ride a miniature steam train, view the most beautiful dolls house you have ever seen, and enjoy a picnic in the beautifully landscaped gardens.

Where: 11 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week from 9.30am – 5pm, closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Cost: $59.00 for a family of 5.
Website: cockingtongreen.com.au

 

National Zoo and Aquarium

Only 5 minutes from the centre of Canberra, here you can come face-to-face with a huge array of animals. You can also participate in up-close animal encounters, or even stay overnight at the zoo at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge.

Where: 999 Lady Denman Dr, Yarralumla
Opening Hours: Open daily 9.30am – 5.00pm, closed Christmas Day.
Cost: $127.50 for a family of 5.
Website: www.nationalzoo.com.au

 

Australian Institute of Sport

I’m the first to admit I’m not a ‘sporty’ person at all, however a tour through the Australian Institute of Sport is well worth it, with a behind-the-scenes look at the facilities, sporting memorabilia, and Sportex, an interactive sports exhibit.

Where: Leverrier St, Bruce
Opening Hours: Open daily, with tours from 10.00am, 11:30am, 1.00pm & 2:30pm, closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day & Good Friday.
Cost: $55.00 for a family of 5.
Website: www.experienceais.com

 

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

For families that like to get outdoors, Tidbinbilla offers a range of outdoor activities including more than 20 walking tracks, and the chance to spot local wildlife, including platypus, emus, possums and more.

Where: Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road, Weston Creek.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 7.30am – 8.00pm in summer, 7.30am – 6.00pm in winter, closed Christmas day.
Cost:  Passes start from $13.00 per vehicle.
Website: www.tidbinbilla.act.gov.au

Questacon Canberra

Questacon

Questacon is a fun place to introduce kids to the amazing world of science, we loved our visit here! With a great selection of interactive exhibits and shows on a variety of topics, from animals and the human body, through to weather and outer space, there is plenty to keep all members of the family entertained.

Where: King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Opening Hours: Daily from 9.00am – 5.00pm, closed Christmas Day.
Cost: $70.00 for a family ticket
Website: www.questacon.edu.au

 

Royal Australian Mint

The kids can learn where money comes from, discover Australia’s first minted coins, mint their very own coin, and complete the Mint Treasure Hunt in the My Visit To The Mint Activity Book (available from the front desk) on a visit to the Royal Australian Mint.

Where: Denison Street, Deakin
Opening Hours: Open Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.00pm, weekends and public holidays 10.00am – 4.00 pm, closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Cost: Free
Website: www.ramint.gov.au

 

Yarralumla Play Station

This Canberra attraction has been operating since 1973, and is home to the Weston Park Miniature Railway, Lake Walter Miniature Golf courses and Mini Farm Friends.

Where: 9 Prescott Lane, Yarralumla
Opening Hours: Open 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday – Friday, 8.00am to 5.30pm Saturday – Sunday, closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Cost: Prices depend on which attraction you visit, starting from $5.00 and up.
Website: yarraps.com.au

Museum of Democracy

The Museum of Democracy teaches kids about the power of their voices and involvement in Australian democracy through immersive and fun learning experiences.

Where: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Opening Hours: Open daily from 9.00am – 5.00pm, closed Christmas Day.
Cost: $5.00 per family.
Website: moadoph.gov.au

 

National Gallery of Australia

The National Gallery of Australia is a great way for kids to explore the national collection, with The Sculpture Garden and regular programs for the kids to engage in art and learn about the current exhibitions in the gallery.

Where: Parkes Place, Parkes
Opening Hours: Open daily 10.00am – 5.00pm, closed Christmas Day.
Cost: Free.
Website: nga.gov.au

The National Arboretum Canberra

The National Arboretum

A visit here was one of the highlights of our time in Canberra! With more than 44,000 trees growing on site, it is one of the world’s largest living collection of rare and endangered trees. The Arboretum is also home to the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection. Grab a coffee from the on-site cafe to enjoy while the kids explore the unique Pod playground or roll down the nearby hill in fits of giggles.

Where: Forest Drive (off Tuggeranong Parkway), Weston Creek
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week between 9.00am – 4.00 pm, closed Christmas Day.
Cost: Free.
Website: www.nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

 

Canberra Glassworks

At a visit to this centre for contemporary glass art, families can watch artists blowing glass and view the range of current exhibitions or peruse the art available for purchase.

Where: 11 Wentworth Ave, Kingston.
Opening Hours: Open Wednesday – Sunday from 10.00am – 4.00pm, closed over Christmas and New Year.
Cost: free.
Website: www.canberraglassworks.com

 

The National Dinosaur Museum

The National Dinosaur Museum is Australia’s largest permanent display of dinosaurs and prehistoric fossils, with 23 complete skeletons and over 300 individual fossils. Perfect for dinosaur lovers of all ages, the museum allows you to explore Earth’s past and discover the creatures that lived millions of years ago.

Where: 6 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls.
Opening Hours: 7 days a week between 10.00am – 5.00pm.
Cost: $45.00 for a family ticket
Website: nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au

 

National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia is a fantastic place to explore with kids. With plenty of child-friendly spaces, families can explore exhibits covering everything from Indigenous history to popular culture, and participate in the Museum’s interactive adventure game for kids called Kspace.

Where: Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 9.00am – 5.00pm, closed Christmas Day.
Cost: Free.
Website: www.nma.gov.au

 

Old Bus Depot Markets

Located in an old industrial building, visitors to the Old Bus Depot Markets can find handcrafted wares, clothing, delicious local food and produce to purchase.

Where: 21 Wentworth Ave, Kingston.
Opening Hours: Every Sunday from 10.00am – 4.00pm.
Cost: Free entry.
Website: obdm.com.au

canberra with kids

Parliament House

A trip to Canberra wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Parliament House! We visited on a non-sitting day so we didn’t get to spot any ministers, however we enjoyed our visit even more than I thought we would!

Where: Parliament Dr, Canberra
Opening Hours: Open every day. Sitting days: Monday – Tuesday 9.00am – 6.00pm, Wednesday – Thursday 8.30am – 6pm. Non-sitting days: 9.00am to 5.00pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Cost: Free.
Website: www.aph.gov.au

 

CSIRO Discovery Centre

A visit to the CSIRO Discover Centre is perfect for budding young scientists. The centre covers the history of the CSIRO and science in Australia with entertaining and interactive displays and exhibitions.

Where: North-science Rd, Acton.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday from 9.00am – 4.30pm, closed weekends and public holidays.
Cost: $30.00 for a family of 5.
Website: www.csiro.au/en/Education/Community-engagement/Discovery-Centre

 

Australian National Botanic Gardens

The Australian National Botanic Gardens contains the world’s most comprehensive display of living Australian native plants. Perfect for families to enjoy some time amongst the gardens and explore one of the many walks and picturesque picnic spots.

Where: Clunies Ross St, Acton.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 8.30am to 5.00pm, closed Christmas Day.
Cost: Free.
Website: www.anbg.gov.au

 

Canberra Railway Museum

The Canberra Railway Museum is home to an impressive collection of historic locomotives, carriages and memorabilia, perfect for families with train-obsessed kids! ***The museum is currently being re-established and is due to re-open sometime in 2019***

Where: 2 Geijera Place, Kingston.
Opening Hours: TBA.
Cost: TBA.
Website: www.canberrarail.org.au

 

Telstra Tower

This iconic telecommunication towers rises 195 metres above the summit of Black Mountain and offers panoramic, 360 degree views over Canberra and the surrounding countryside.

Where: Black Mountain Dr, Acton.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 9.00am – 10.00pm.
Cost: $17.00 for a family pass.
Website: www.telstratower.com.au

Canberra with kids

Mt Stromlo Observatory

Mt Stromlo Observatory is the headquarters of the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and offers visitors the opportunity to explore the science exhibits, kids zone and heritage trail.

Where: Cotter Rd, Weston Creek.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 8.00am to 6.00pm.
Cost: Free.
Website: rsaa.anu.edu.au/observatories/mount-stromlo-observatory

 

Floriade

Canberra is home to Floriade, an annual spring festival, with a range of activities and entertainment. Plus there is also the spectacular gardens and grounds planted with a million bulbs and annual plants.

Where: Regatta Point, Barrine Drive, Parkes.
Opening Hours: Check website for details.
Cost: Free entry.
Website: www.floriadeaustralia.com

 

Freakshakes at Patissez

Treat the family to a freakshake at Patissez, birthplace of the ‘freakshake’ movement.

Where: 21 Bougainville St, Griffith.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 8.00am – 4.00pm.
Cost: Free entry.
Website: Patissez Facebook page

 

Red Hill 

For the active families, put on your walking shoes and hike up to the top of Red Hill for the amazing views and a treat from the Little Brother Restaurant.

Where: Red Hill Drive, Red Hill.
Opening Hours: Open all hours.
Cost: Free.
Website: www.environment.act.gov.au

 

Lake Burley Griffin

In the centre of Canberra you’ll find Lake Burley Griffin. Explore the 40kms of shoreline by foot or bicycle, or from the water by boat or kayak.

Where: Lake Burley Griffin, Acton.
Opening Hours: Open all hours.
Cost: Free.
Website: www.nca.gov.au/attractions-and-memorials/lake-burley-griffin

 



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