Freelance writer, born and bred in South Australia.
Published October 1st 2016
No more boredom
It's hard to keep your kids entertained for the entire school holidays. They never get worn out! That's why this list has been created to help parents/aunties/uncles/grandparents/babysitters and everybody else with some ideas of what to do with the kids! Loads of these activities are free, which means you don't have to break the bank for some fun. If you make your way through the entire list, then maybe (probably not) your children will finally be pleased.
1. Wetlands(FREE) Visiting a wetland is a wonderful way to get your kids outdoors and let them explore. Wetlands are a habitat to a number of insects and wildlife, and they're incredibly scenic. Try the Wynn Vale Dam, Greenfields Wetlands, Kaurna Park, Apex Park or Laratinga - all within 40 minutes of the city. Don't forget gum boots and binoculars.
2. Dolphin Cruise
Taking your kids on a boat cruise will amaze their senses. The Port Princess does 2 hour sightseeing cruises for $8 per adult and $6 per child.
3. Movies I know what you're thinking - movies are expensive, but, you're wrong. The Odeon at Semaphore do $9 tickets for any movie, any session, any day. The Reading Cinemas at West Lakes or Elizabeth also sell cheap tickets at just $10 per person, any day or time.
Every young child loves a good playground. Spend a day or two or three driving around Adelaide and discovering the best playgrounds. This page has some locations to get you started.
5. Botanic gardens(FREE) The Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens are beautiful in all seasons. Your kids will love running around the paths and learning about all the different flowers. These are also great locations for a picnic. If you want a great photo of your kids, these gardens are a great spot to get a pretty, scenic shot.
Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens. Image: Emma Jane Warren
6. Morialta(FREE) Morialta Falls is a great escape from the city (even though it's only a 20 minute drive). The First Falls is quite flat and easy, so it's perfect for kids.
7. Vertical Reality Rock Climbing This one isn't free, but it's not too expensive. The indoor rock climbing gym in Holden Hill is a fantastic spot to exhaust your kids so they fall asleep as soon as you get home. Children under 13 can get $12 entry, which grants you to an entire day's use of the tall walls.
8. Plaster Fun House Let your kids unleash their creative sides! The Plaster Fun House lets you create all sorts of accessories and decor using plaster and paint. Prices start at only $2-$5 for a fridge magnet, or around $10-$15 for a larger ornament.
9. Museum(FREE in Port Adelaide)
There are so many extensive and elaborative museums in South Australia. Two of most popular are the South Australian Museum on North Terrace (free!) and the Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide ($6 for kids).
10. Hahndorf Farm Barn Even I remember visiting the Hahndorf Farm Barn as a kid and falling in love with the tiny little animals. Entry for children under 14 is $12, but there are discount prices for families with 2 or more children.
11. Victor Harbor(FREE)
Take a day trip to Victor Harbor. Most think the country town is a long distance from home, but in reality it's actually only just over an hour's drive. At Victor, you can take camel rides for $10, walk across to Granite Island for free, and have ice-cream or donuts by the beach.
Walk to Granite Island from Victor Harbor. Image: Emma Jane Warren
12. Bounce Inc Bounce Inc is a massive trampoline arena where your kids can jump around until their legs go numb. It's only $11.50 per child, per session.
13. Big Rocking Horse The Toy Factory in Gumeracha has more than just the Big Rocking Horse. There's also a Toy Factory Shop and an animal farm. It's $2 to climb the rocking horse, $1 for entry into the animal park, and $2 for a bag of food to feed the animals from your very own hands.
14. Library (FREE) Libraries across the state are always holding school holiday programs and activities to entertain kids. For example, the Tea Tree Gully Library has an events calendar to keep you updated. Just search up your local library and see what they have in store.
15. Snorkelling (FREE) If the weather is warm enough, get to a nearby beach and let your kids go for a snorkel. Some popular locations include Second Valley and Port Noarlunga. However, many beaches near the city, like Glenelg and Grange, are also fine for beginners (there's just not as much to see).
16. Canoeing Canoeing can be fun for the entire family and creates a great day out. Canoe the Coorong are located in Goolwa and offer canoeing tours or canoe hire.
17. Ice skating
The IceArena in Thebarton is currently Adelaide's only permanent ice rink. Children under 14 can get into an ice skating session for $15. Balancing thin blades on freezing cold ice is something that everybody needs to try.
Bowling can be a slightly more expensive activity, because most kids will not settle for playing just one game. At AMF Bowling, kids can play a game for $14.90 per person. But, it's always a good idea to check their website as there are usually deals available during school holidays.
19. Old Tailem Town
Grant your children an insight into South Australia's history. Old Tailem Town in Tailem Bend is a village that has been designed to exhibit exactly what towns looked like in the early 1900's.
20. Hallet Cove Boardwalk (FREE) The boardwalk at Hallet Cove Conservation Park is abundant with interesting and historical scenery. The unusual rock formations will make your kids' eyes pop out of their heads. The track is signposted with information boards to help the kids learn and understand the geology.
The Hallet Cove Boardwalk have some incredible sights. Image: Emma Jane Warren
21. Torrens Linear Trail(FREE) To get the kids active and outdoors, a bike ride can be a feasible option. The Linear Trail takes you from the city all the way to West Beach, passing a number of landmarks, parks and playgrounds along the way. If you don't have bikes of your own, you can hire some for free in the city.
22. Laser Skirmish
If your kids are over 7 years of age, then you can take them to Kart Mania in Gepps Cross for a game of laser skirmish.
23. Paint balling
A quick google search will show you all of the different companies that you can paintball with in South Australia. One of the most popular is Paintball Park in Edinburgh North. 100 paintballs and a full day use of the park is $35 per person. The only catch is your child must be over the age of 10 to participate.
24. High ropes course Mega Adventure in West Beach is the place to be if your child happens to be a bit of a thrill seeker. This aerial sky park challenges you with obstacles and activities as you hang metres high in the sky. Children under 16 can enjoy two hours in the sky challenge for just $48.
Believe it or not, a lot of kids actually enjoy a trip to Ikea. It's a fantastic location to have a sneaky game of hide and seek. Also, you can't go wrong with cheap Ikea eats like ice-cream, hot dogs or meatballs. If your kids don't want to walk around the store with you, you can always drop them in at the playground near the entrance.