"What are we going to do today?" is a question that every parent or carer hears around Canberra each school holidays. Although the holidays can often fill up quickly with birthday parties, sports, family BBQs, catch-ups with friends and rest days, there are also days where you wake up, look at the weather and then think about what you want to do that day. If it's rainy, Canberra's museums and galleries are a good place to start, with each of them always jam-packed with free school holiday fun.
This list below contains even more ideas for the next school holidays. Half the fun is deciding what to do, so take a scroll through this list and see which ones get the most votes from the kids (and adults!) in your family...
Fun for kids at the Australian War Memorial
Australian War Memorial has kids activities, dress-ups, story time and crafts each school holidays. They also open up the Discovery Zone all for the whole holidays, so kids can sit in the cockpit of a helicopter, walk through a Cold War submarine and touch, feel and interact with the exhibits. See here for details.
Boundless playground is one of the most popular playgrounds in Canberra, particularly with toddlers and pre-schoolers. It is located in Kings Park on Lake Burley Griffin, a short walk up from the National Carillon. This all-abilities playground is open between 8am - 8pm and has a variety of areas for kids to play, with slides, water play, musical instruments and range of swings. This playground is fully fenced with automated toilet facilities and bubblers. See here for details.
Cockington Green Gardens is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canberra for all ages. It is located in Gold Creek village and kids in particular, enjoy walking around the miniature villages, spotting the stories in the scenes and having a ride on the miniature train. It is particularly beautiful in spring when the gardens are in full bloom. See here for details.
Colourful fun for kids at Boundless Playground, Kings Park
Flip Out is a trampolining centre franchise that has over 25 locations around Australia, including Mitchell and Hume here in the ACT. Kids can literally bounce off the walls with trampolining arenas, foam pits and different zones to try out new tricks. See here for details.
Go-Karting is a popular indoor school holiday activity at Power Kart Raceway in Griffith, for kids aged 6 and over (and over 124cm). If not all of the family want to try go-karting, the large centre also has Power Kart Kids (for 4 - 7 year olds), Jungle Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf and a new synthetic ice skating rink called iSkate Park. See here for details.
Strap on the helmet and get racing at Power Kart Raceway
Hamburger restaurants are popular family eateries and the best ones are Brodburger on the Kingston Foreshore (with board games), Mookie in the city (with "concretes" for dessert!), Burger Hero in Braddon (takeaway venue) and Grease Monkey in Braddon (with a bar if Mum and Dad would like an alcoholic drink).
IPlay is a games arcade that has popped up around Canberra near movie cinemas, so families can play games before or after a movie. Check out the locations at Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong. Purchase a swipe card and then play a range of games including air hockey, basketball hoops, pinball, car racing and more.
Juggling is a circus trick that you can learn at the Warehouse Circus school holiday program in Chifley and Kaleen. See here for details.
Kambah Inflatable World is located in Tuggeranong and is open all school holidays for play and birthday parties. There is an area for Under 5's, as well as a large area with battle games, bouncy slides, castles and climbing walls. See here for details.
Lollypop's Playland and Let's Play are just two of the indoor play centres in Canberra, which become popular places to go when the weather is wet or cold in the holidays. Lollypops is located at Majura Park Shopping Centre and Let's Play can be found in Nicholls.
Mini Golf King and Monkey Mania, which both coincidentally start with "M", can be found near each other inside the Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick. Mini Golf King has themed areas to putt through and Monkey Mania has a high climbing frame and slide area, as well as an under 5's area.
National Dinosaur Museum can be found at Gold Creek Village, just a short distance from Cockington Green Garden at the top of this list. Younger kids will enjoy playing on the dinosaur statues at the front of the museum, whereas older kids will find the small museum upstairs interesting, with plenty of fascinating panels to read. Some of the dinosaur statues inside the museum have moving heads, which may look your way as you walk by! See here for details.
Run around the dinosaurs in front of the National Dinosaur Museum
Ovals around Canberra are great places to take your soccer ball, cricket bat, kite, remote control car or bike, for some fun in the outdoors. Every suburb has at least one!
Pod Playground is one of the most creative and popular playgrounds in Canberra. It is found at the entrance to the National Arboretum, which has a scenic Visitor Centre and café that overlooks the city. This playground is a series of wooden "pods" which kids climb up to via net tunnels, before sliding down a twisty slide. There is also a smaller area for younger children. See here for details.
Questacon is the biggest and best museum in Canberra for kids. This science museum has an entry fee to get in and then you can spend all morning (or all day!) exploring the exhibits, pressing buttons, pulling levers and getting hands-on with the experiments. Under 6's will also enjoy Mini Q on the lower level. See here for details.
Royal Australian Mint is located in Deakin and is a great place to explore these school holidays. Pick up a free Activity Book, spend time at the colouring-in tables and make your own coin in the shop downstairs, for $3. At the end of the factory viewing area check out Titan the Robot, who is in operation weekdays only. See here for details.
Snapper on the Lake is a fish and chip outlet on Lake Burley Griffin, with a large reserve to have a picnic and for the kids to have a run around. During the summer months, there is live music out on the lawns. See here for details.
Uriarra Crossing is a scenic picnic area on the Murrumbidgee River which is great for families to have a BBQ, have a splash in summer and explore the Uriarra Track that starts from East Uriarra Reserve. If you have dogs, take them along - it is one of the few dog-friendly reserves along the Murrumbidgee where dogs can swim too! See here for details.
Have a family picnic at Uriarra Crossing, on the Murrumbidgee River
Vegetables may not be high on the list of what kids want in their meals, but you can find them in most of the Kids Meals around the city. Clubs around Canberra are popular places to dine with kids, with many of them having play areas nearby.
Xtreme tricks can be seen at some of Canberra's skate parks each school holidays!
Yarralumla Play Station is located in Weston Park, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. This family area is popular with all ages, as it has a miniature train ride, mini golf and even miniature animals! See here for details.
Zoos are always a winner each school holidays and here in Canberra we have the National Zoo and Aquarium. This zoo is constantly getting upgraded and growing larger, with new animals and brand new exhibits to wander. See giraffes, lions, cheetahs, meerkats, red pandas, monkeys, native animals, aquarium fish and more. See here for details.
Hopefully the next time your kids ask "What are we going to do today?" you will have a list of super cool ideas at the ready, which are sure to impress. There is no time to get bored these school holidays!
Get up close and personal with the animals at the National Zoo and Aquarium these school holidays!