When the weekends and school holidays roll around, it can be handy to have some fun ideas on what to do with the kids - that doesn't cost a fortune. In the warmer months, in particular, it is an opportunity to get the kids off the iPad and out into the outdoors for some fresh air and family fun. Canberra is fortunate to have 3 scenic lakes all within 30 minutes of each other - Lake Tuggeranong in the south, Lake Burley Griffin in the city and Lake Ginninderra in the north. All of them have bike riding paths, playgrounds, BBQ areas and plenty of areas to run around and feel the grass between the toes.
For kids who live near Lake Tuggeranong in the south, there are 5 "must-do" activities to try, these school holidays...
1/ Tuggeranong Skate Park is a popular venue for all ages, located by the lake at Tuggeranong Town Park. Each afternoon, weekend and school holidays you will find kids of all ages down there with their scooters and skateboards, skating on the different sizes of ramps available. For the brave there are the larger "bowls" to skate up, however, younger kids can enjoy the smaller ramps and lips to skate off - which are the perfect places to try out new tricks. According to the ACT Government website, the skate park has a "small snake run, mini ramp, vertical ramp, funbox and a series of flat banks, transitions and hips". It is recommended that all skaters wear a helmet. See here for a map. For a full article on other skate parks in Canberra, see here.
Practice your tricks at the Tuggeranong Skate Park
2/ The Learn To Ride Park is located on the other side of Lake Tuggeranong and is accessible from Mortimer Lewis Drive in Greenway. Here the younger kids can safely ride their bikes and scooters on a "pretend" roadway, with stop signs, corners and roundabouts. This area opened up in early 2017 and has become an instant hit with the locals as a place to have children's birthday parties and to meet up with friends. On weekends there is a coffee van nearby, Mimi's Pit Stop, for the parents to enjoy a takeaway while the kids have a ride. This ACT Government initiative is also on the north side of Canberra, on Lake Ginninderra. See here for a map. For a full article on the Learn To Ride Centre in Tuggeranong, see here.
Fun for smaller kids at Learn To Ride, Lake Tuggeranong
3/ Tuggeranong Town Park, which also includes the Skate Park at the top of this list, is the central attraction of Lake Tuggeranong. If you park your car at the end of Bartlett Place, you will find a large playground, BBQ areas, small sandy beach, bike paths, picnic areas and the newly-built Nature Play areas, for kids to climb over rocks and balance on fallen tree trunks. Each summer you can walk along the water and enjoy the smells of steaks cooking on the BBQ's and hear the squeals of kids playing games of soccer, or having water pistol fights. It is particularly popular as the weather hots up, as there are plenty of shady trees to relax under to stay cool. For a full article on Tuggeranong Town Park, see here.
4/ Lakeside Leisure Centre is a swimming pool located next to Lake Tuggeranong and Tuggeranong Town Park, above. It is run by the YMCA with an entry fee, and then you can stay all day and make the most of the spacious venue. Inside there is a baby pool, toddler pool, spa and lap pool and outside there is a grassy area and a Splash Park under colourful sun sails. The Splash Park has buckets that fill with water and tip over, hoses, timed water jets and much more. See here for details. For a full article on the Lakeside Leisure Splash Park, see here.
5/ Carols in Town Park is held in December each year, at the amphitheatre at Tuggeranong Town Park on Lake Tuggeranong. In the afternoon there are carnival rides, jumping castles, a petting zoo and other kid's activities, before the carols begin later in the evening, hosted by the Salvos. Each year thousands of locals converge on Tuggeranong Town Park to re-connect with the community, run into old friends and celebrate the Christmas season. The kids love it! See here for the date of Carols in Town Park this year.
Fun for all ages at Carols in Town Park. Image: Original photos from Carols in Town Park Facebook
Although Canberra has other popular attractions for kids each school holidays, such as the exceptional Questacon, sometimes you just beat a trip down to the local park for some free fun and discovery. The entire perimeter of Lake Tuggeranong has reserves, playgrounds, dog exercise areas, BBQ facilities and grassy spots to simply lie in the shade and look up to the clouds.
Why not hop on the bikes and explore its shores this weekend?