New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published March 27th 2017
Update February 17th 2018
Skyzone trampoline centre is now closed at Belconnen Westfield Shopping Centre.
Activities for rainy days, cold days, holidays or any days
In Canberra, there are large shopping centres located in the CBD, as well as north, east and south of the city. In the centre of the CBD is the extensive Canberra Centre, which stretches over a few blocks and has over 300 shops and the popular Dendy Cinemas, to watch the latest family blockbusters. Although it is large, the Canberra Centre mainly reserves their school holiday events for Christmas time with Santa's and festive crafts. Most of the kids and school holiday activities are held in shopping centres on the outskirts of the city, where the residents of Canberra live and shop.
School holiday fun at Westfield Belconnen. Source: Westfield Belconnen Facebook
North of Canberra
The Marketplace shopping centre at Gungahlin is located 20 minutes north of the CBD, close to the top of the ACT border. For toddlers and preschoolers, there is a free soft play area located near Big W and free school holiday crafts and activities each school holidays. See here for the Marketplace Gungahlin details and here for a Google Map.
Westfield Belconnen Shopping Centre would have to have the best shopping centre for kids in the whole of Canberra. This large centre is located less than 15 minutes north of the CBD, as part of the Belconnen Town Centre. It has 3 floors of speciality shops and department stores, with two soft play areas for toddlers called Kids Playworld on Levels 1 and 3. For family friendly indoor entertainment you can't go past Iplay Belconnen on the top floor, with dodgem cars, ten pin bowling, laser tag and arcade games to keep you busy for hours. Opposite Iplay is the large Hoyts Belconnen, with all the latest childrens movies, reclining chairs - and of course popcorn!
If that's not all, also in the centre is Build-A-Bear Workshop, where kids can choose and create their own soft and cuddly bears - however the most popular kids area of Westfield Belconnen is the indoor trampolining centre Skyzone, which is located just outside the doors on the top level. During term-time they have Little Leapers sessions for kids under 5 and each school holidays they run a School Holiday Camp to teach kids new tricks in a safe environment. As well as this, the centre also has a range of free craft activities, jumping castles or other fun activities each school holidays. See here the latest events held at Westfield Belconnen and here for a Google Map.
A huge array of school holiday activities at Westfield Belconnen. Source: Individual photos from Westfield Belconnen Facebook
East of Canberra
The Canberra Outlet Centre is another busy shopping centre located just a short drive from the CBD in Fyshwick. Each school holidays there are free crafts and activities set up outside Monkey Mania indoor play centre, for kids of all ages to enjoy. As well as this, they have recently opened up a Mini Golf King in the centre, for some indoor fun for all ages on those occasional rainy, cold or hot days. See here for the Canberra Outlet Centre details and here for a Google map.
Majura Park Shopping Centre is located just a short drive east of the CBD near the Canberra Airport. Each school holidays they host a petting zoo, craft activity, ride-on mechanical animal rides, interactive reptile encounter or other free activity for kids outside Big W, in the middle of the centre. Also in the centre is Lollypop's Playland for some indoor fun for young kids with a toddler area where they can view the planes. See here for the Majura Park details and here for a Google map.
Also across the road from Majura Park Shopping Centre is IKEA, with their indoor playland Småland, which is a free play area for kids aged 3 - 10.
Reptiles Inc set up for the school holidays at Majura Park shopping centre, September 2016
Westfield Woden Shopping Centre is located 15 minutes south of the CBD and also has a host of term-time fun and school holiday activities to keep the kids entertained. Each holidays there are crafts, sand art, pasta making, cupcake decorating or a live show advertised. The shows in particular are a hit with all ages, with a "Meet and Greet" afterwards and a photo opportunity. These activities and live shows are held in the Centre Court on the ground floor. Although not as large as its Belconnen counterpart, Westfield Woden also has a small Iplay with arcade games and air hockey, a large Hoyts cinema with reclining seats and a Play World soft play kids area on the ground floor, outside JB Hi-Fi. See here for the Westfield Woden details and here for Google map.
Tuggeranong Hyperdome is a shopping centre located further south of Woden, 25 minutes south of the CBD. This large shopping centre also has school holiday activities with live shows, free crafts, ride-on mechanical animals and trampolining activities located at Centre Court. As well as the school holiday entertainment, this centre has kids movies showing at the Limelight Cinema (with $8 movie deals) all year around and an interactive light game, projected onto the foor outside Big W. For toddlers there is a Kids Zone outside Target, with a range of small bikes to ride on and cubby houses to climb through. During term times there is Storytime with Willy the Wombat each Thursday with a fun activity to enjoy with your child afterwards. See here for the Tuggeranong Hyperdome details and here for a Google map.
Whilst there, who knows who you may see wandering around?
School holiday fun and Minion madness at Tuggeranong Hyperdome. Source: Individual photo's from Tuggeranong Hyperdome Facebook