Ideas for this weekend, or the next school holidays
Canberra has plenty of things to do around the city centre, the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin, however most residents live either on the north side of the city, or the south. Although it doesn't take long to visit either side of the city, most families prefer to find things to do closer to home so they can get home quickly if the kids need a nap, or want a rest. Check out this list below, of fun things to do for all ages on the southern side of the city (stay tuned for the north!). You may be surprised by how much there is to do!
Fun for pre-schoolers at the National Zoo and Aquarium. Image: Original photos from the Zoo Facebook
2/ Yarralumla Play Station is located in Weston Park in Yarralumla, just a short drive from the zoo above. If your kids enjoy outdoor mini golf, miniature train rides and miniature animals, then drive through Weston Park and follow the signs to YPS. Take a picnic and enjoy it in the park and BBQ area across the road. See here for details.
3/ Snapper on the Lake fish and chip outlet is also located in Yarralumla, on the southern side of Lake Burley Griffin. This is a popular family friendly venue with a grassy area to run around on and live music on weekends in summer. See here for details. 4/ Manuka Pool is located in Griffith and is open in the summer months only. If you have toddlers, they will enjoy the pirate ship playground and shaded toddler pool. See here for details.
5/ Power Kart Raceway, also located in Griffith, has a wide range of indoor options for kids - which is handy on a rainy day. They have a full-size go-kart track, indoor Jungle Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf and also a new iSkate synthetic ice-skating rink - which isn't cold or wet! See here for details.
Mini golf, go-karting and synthetic ice-skating all under the one roof! Image: Original photos from Power Kart Raceway Facebook
6/ Canberra Glassworks is located on the Kingston Foreshore and is a popular venue for creative kids in the school holidays, where kids can make their own glass tiles, paperweights and glass artworks. Kids also enjoy the free activities at the Winter Glass Market each year, as well as sitting in the Hot Shop and watching the glass artists at work. See here for details. Before you leave, ensure you pop into Brodburger for a big burger and a board game to play while you wait!
7/ The Royal Australian Mint can be found in Deakin and kids will enjoy picking up a free Activity Book from the front desk and answering the questions as you walk around the Mint. Walk up a staircase full of 5 cent pieces, do some colouring-in, watch videos on the touch screens and be amazed by the coin production in the factory (Monday to Friday only). Kids will enjoy watching Titan, the large orange robot who picks up the drums of coins and tips them over to start production. See here for details.
8/ The Canberra Outlet Centre, in Fyshwick, has school holiday crafts and shows, usually located outside Monkey Mania indoor play centre. Just a short distance away is also Mini Golf King, for little (and big!) golfers. See here for details.
Free school holiday entertainment at the Canberra Outlet Centre, Fyshwick
9/ Canberra Miniature Railway is located in Symonston, just a short distance from the Canberra Outlet Centre, above. Public running days are held on the second and last Sundays of each month throughout the year, where children can have a ride on a miniature train around the tracks, at a cost of $3. See here for details.
10/ Woden Westfield shopping centre in Phillip has an indoor Play World soft play area for the littlies, free school holiday workshops, iPlay arcade games, Hoyts Woden and Rashays family restaurant. See here for details.
11/ Stromlo Forest Park is a "must-do" for older kids who love to BMX, mountain bike or ride downhill on dirt trails. Smaller kids also enjoy the small playground and bike riding area near the main car park, as well as the flat, concrete loop of the Criterium Circuit. If you plan on riding on the circuit, check the "confirmed bookings" on the Stromlo Forest Park website before you go to ensure there isn't a race or meet on that day. See here for details.
Kids bike riding area and the Criterium Circuit, at Stromlo Forest Park
12/ The Cotter Recreation Area is located south west of the city and has a series of BBQ and picnic areas along the Murrumbidgee River. This recreation area is particularly popular in summer for a dip in the river, walks and the large playground at the main reserve, Cotter Avenue. See here for details.
13/ Inflatable World is located in Kambah in Tuggeranong and has a huge range of inflatable castles, climbing walls, gladiator games and slides to jump all over. There is also an under 5's area for smaller children. See here for details.
14/ Kambah Adventure Playground is also nearby, which is a popular large playground in the Tuggeranong region, with BBQs, flying foxs, a long slide, a toddler area and bike paths. See here for details.
15/ Krack'd Peppa is located in Gilmore, at the entrance to the rustic Rose Cottage Inn property. This cosy café is designed with kids in mind, with a big outdoor play area and plenty of areas to sit and relax. See here for details.
16/ Flip Out can be found in Hume, just a short distance from Krack'd Peppa, above. This indoor trampolining centre is popular with all ages - adults can jump too! See here for details.
Flip Out trampolining in Hume - the ultimate rainy day idea!
17/ Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing is also located in Hume, for older kids who love to climb and learn new skills. Whilst there, why not also give bouldering a try? See here for details.
18/ Zone Ten Pin Bowling can be found in Greenway, just a short walk from Tuggeranong Town Centre. Whilst there, have a play on the arcade games and see who wins! See here for details.
19/ Lakeside Leisure Centre is also located in Greenway and has kids swimming lessons, free play swimming areas and an outside splash park in summer. See here for details.
20/ Tuggeranong Town Park, next to Lakeside Leisure Centre in Greenway, is a popular starting point for family bike rides around the Lake Tuggeranong Circuit. The family friendly bike paths are flat and pass by a few playgrounds (and a McDonalds!) around Lake Tuggeranong. Tuggeranong Town Park also has BBQ areas, a playground with a tower to climb and fun playground equipment for all ages. If you ride around to the other side of Lake Tuggeranong, there is also a Learn To Ride area for smaller children. See here for details.
22/ Gordon Playground is an extensive playground which has been updated to include a shaded play area, as well as having the old favourites - the leaning Gordon tower, long slide, climbing nets and swings. Kids love running around the various areas, before having a picnic on the grass. See here for details.
23/ Corin Forest Mountain Retreat is located 45 minutes south west of Canberra city and 25 minutes from Tuggeranong. In summer you can ride down the alpine bob-sled and in winter there is a snow play area with toboggans and skiing. It is the closest snow play area to Canberra. See here for details.
24/ Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex is also in the region, with large dishes that "listen" to space. Walk around the exhibits and learn how this small and remote station is a large part of space research in the southern hemisphere. There is also a cafe and small playground for the kids. See here for details. 25/ Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is also located in this rural region, south west of the city. This national park has an entry fee per car to get in ($12 per car) and then you can view native animals along the family friendly short walks and have a play in the Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground. See here for details.
These are just some of the fun things to do in Canberra's south this weekend, or the next school holidays. If you have more ideas to add to the list, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article. Have fun exploring!
BBQs, picnic areas and play at Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground