20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Canberra ACT, long thought of solely as a place full of parliamentary visits, has become Australia’s hot travel destinations for families, offering a plethora of activity, accomodation and dining options to suit every budget. Canberra with Kids promises to be a whole lot of fun. On our last visit to our capital city, we were amazed to find so many attractions geared towards families that we soon realised that we had underestimated how much time we would need to see it all. I’ll be trying to find almost any excuse next year to head back.

WHERE TO GO IN CANBERRA WITH KIDS

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Questacon

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre will take you and the kids on a hands-on science journey. This is one attraction we don’t think you should miss when you head to Canberra. In fact, I could easily head back for a day just to visit again. It is so much fun –  Canberra with Kids wouldn’t be the same without a trip here. 

Location: King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
Opening Hours: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm everyday except Christmas Day.
Current Ticket Price: $70.00 (2a + 3c)
Website: www.questacon.edu.au
Read our full coverage here.

Royal Australian Mint

If you’re keen to teach the kids about where money comes from and even have them mint their own coin then the Royal Australian Mint is a destination that you might like to visit. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the My Visit to the Mint Activity Book from the front desk which will take the kids on a Mint Treasure Hunt around the attraction.

Location: Denison Street, Deakin ACT
Opening Hours: Open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00 pm. Weekends and public holidays 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
Current Ticket Price: Free
Website: www.ramint.gov.au
We are yet to cover the Royal Australian Mint.

National Gallery of Australia

We love art galleries and recently wrote about why running around these venues might help your kids to learn. When travelling to Canberra with Kids, you may like to consider a stop here. The National Gallery of Australia seems to regularly host amazing programs for kids where they can try their hand at art and learn a little about the current exhibits from a kid level

Location: Parkes Place, Parkes ACT
Opening Hours: Open daily between 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Current Ticket Price: Free general admission. Special exhibitions entry costs may apply
Website: nga.gov.au
We are yet to cover the National Gallery of Australia

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Australian Institute of Sport

I’ll put it out there and admit that I am not very sporty nor do I know the names of many Australian olympians. However, the rest of the family are passionate about sport and Striker had it at the top of his Canberra Bucket List. A tour is well worth the visit, I found it quite fascinating. See if you can fit it into your itinerary as it is quite amazing. A sure fit for Canberra with kids. 

Location: Leverrier St, Bruce ACT 2617
Opening Hours: Open daily. Tours run: 10.00 am, 11:30 am, 1.00 pm & 2:30 pm. Tours are closed on Good Friday, Christmas and Boxing Days,  New Years Day.
Current Ticket Price: $50.00 (2a + 3c)
Website: www.experienceais.com
Read our full coverage here.

Yarralumla Play Station

The Yarralumla Play Station is the home of the Weston Park Miniature Railway, Lake Walter Mini Golf and Petite Park Petting Zoo. Whilst we are yet to visit, we’re told that it is an iconic Canberra attraction that has been a favourite of locals since 1973.

Location: 9 Prescott Lane, Yarralumla ACT
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week between 9.30 am – 3.00 pm Monday to Friday and 8.00 am to 5.30 pm weekends.
Current Ticket Price: $5.00 pp for the train;  starting at $40.00 per family for mini golf; petting zoo currently closed for petting.
Website: yarraps.com.au
We are yet to cover the Yarralumla Play Station.

National Zoo and Aquarium

We didn’t manage to fit the National Zoo and Aquarium into our last itinerary, however the Jamala Wildlife Lodge (the zoo’s very own accomodation) is on our Bucket List for our next trip to Canberra. I imagine it is a destination that almost all visitors to Canberra hope to stay. The African inspired luxury suites sleep you right next to the animal enclosures making for a very unique experience. During the day you can explore the zoo and perhaps even squeeze in an animal encounter. 

Location: 999 Lady Denman Dr, Yarralumla ACT
Opening Hours: Open daily between 9.30 am – 5.00 pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Current Ticket Price: $110.00 (2a + 3c)
Website: www.nationalzoo.com.au
We are yet to cover the National Zoo and Aquarium

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Cockington Green

Imagine a teeny tiny world of miniature cities, towns and farms where little people care for their vehicles and animals. The twist, you get to explore it in your current form – a real Gulliver like experience! Cockington Green is exactly this, a miniature world which is certain to fascinate the kids. 

Location: 11 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls ACT 2913
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week.  First entry from 9.30 am. Last Entry at 4.15 pm with viewing available until 5.00 pm. Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Current Ticket Price: $56.00 (2a + 3c)
Website: cockingtongreen.com.au
Read our full coverage here.

Museum of Democracy

Situated in the old Parliament House, the Museum of Democracy is recognised as living museum which takes the visitor on a fascinating journey through Australia’s political history. Whilst this may not seem particularly engaging for kids, the museum curators have set about developing interactive exhibits, historical dress ups and beautiful, safe courtyards which might just tick all the boxes for an interesting afternoon out with the kids. Check out the the kids section for more details. 

Location: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes ACT
Opening Hours: Open daily between 9.00 am – 5.00 pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Current Ticket Price: $5.00 per family.
Website: moadoph.gov.au
We are yet to cover the Museum of Democracy. 

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Australian War Memorial

We have visited the Australian War Memorial with the kids twice. The first time, Stiker found the exhibits very overwhelming and we left quicker than anticipated. On our most recent trip we decided to be a little more strategic about the visit and spent our time on the outer perimeter. You know your kids and what best suits them. Do your research before going so you can skip the exhibits that the kids are likely to find confronting. Don’t miss the Discovery Centre which is open between 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm on weekdays and all day during weekends, public holidays and ACT school holidays.

Location: Treloar Crescent (top of Anzac Parade), Campbell ACT 2612
Opening Hours: Open daily between 10.00 am – 5.00 pm daily. Closed Christmas Day.
Current Ticket Price: free
Website: www.awm.gov.au
Read our full coverage here.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla offers a range of outside activities from wildlife viewing to bushwalking in the Sanctuary wetlands or along one of our many tracks. The resource has a number of barbecue spots and a Discovery Playground for kids. 

Location: off Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek) or Point Hut Crossing (Gordon)
Opening Hours: opens from 7.30 am daily. Closes at 6.00 pm in winter and at 8.00 pm in summer. Closed on Christmas day. May be closed on days of total fire ban, high winds or for management requirements.
Current Ticket Price:  Day Pass – $11.50 for a private vehicle with up to 8 seats.
Website: www.tidbinbilla.act.gov.au
We are yet to cover the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

The National Arboretum

The National Arboretum was one of the highlights of our most recent trips to Canberra. The kids fell in love with the pod playground where we spent most of our time before a trip to see the Bonsai and a roll down the sweeping hills alongside the pod. With an amazing cafe and restaurant, amazing bathroom facilities and free entry, a visit to the National Arboretum MUST be on your itinerary. 

Location: Forest Drive, off Tuggeranong Parkway, Weston Creek ACT
Opening Hours: Open seven days a week between 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Current Ticket Price: free
Website: www.nationalarboretum.act.gov.au
Read our full coverage here.

Canberra Glassworks

Whilst we are yet to visit the Canberra Glassworks it is a location that friends often talk about fondly. The site is a dynamic, professional artist’s facility, dedicated to contemporary glass art, craft and design. The kids can watch glass being blown by glass arts, something I remember fondly from my childhood when every arcade seemed to have someone doing this. It’s a great time filler. 

Location: 11 Wentworth Ave, Kingston ACT
Opening Hours: Open Wednesday to Sunday between 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Closes over the Christmas/New Year period. Check website for dates.
Current Ticket Price: free entry. Group tours start at $12.00 per person.
Website: www.canberraglassworks.com
We are yet to cover the Canberra Glassworks. 

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Mount Ainslie Lookout

At breakfast one morning, a coach driver told us about Mount Ainslie and suggested we visit rather than pay for our view over at Telstra Tower. We drove up the windy road to the top and were amazed by the view. Wear a jacket – it can be windy. 

Location: Mount Ainslie Drive, Ainslie, ACT
Opening Hours: Accessible at all times
Current Ticket Price: Free
Website: no dedicated website. Head to the ACT Government site for details.
Read our full coverage here.

National Museum of Australia

Museums can be an amazing play space for kids and the National Museum of Australia doesn’t fail to impress. Kspace is the Museum’s new interactive adventure game for kids. Build your own time-travelling robot then blast off to explore a mystery location in Australia’s past.

Location: Lawson Crescent,  Acton Peninsula, Canberra ACT
Opening Hours: Open daily between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Closed Christmas Day.
Current Ticket Price: Free general admission. Special exhibitions entry costs may apply
Website: www.nma.gov.au
We are yet to cover the National Museum of Australia

 Old Bus Depot Markets

The Old Bus Depot Markets are open every Sunday. A fun spot to head with the family, the market offers an opportunity to source local fine hand crafted wares, clothing, food and jewellery. Perhaps not a lot of fun for kids at a first glance, but the atmosphere, faceprinting and children’s products get it over the line. 

Location: 21 Wentworth Ave, Kingston ACT
Opening Hours: Every Sunday from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Current Ticket Price: Free entry
Website: obdm.com.au
We are yet to cover the Old Bus Depot Markets 

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Floriade

Floriade is Canberra’s annual spring festival which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2017. Offering an eclectic mix of activities and entertainment, this festival is more than just a floral reveal despite its million bulbs and annuals planted across 8,000 square metres. If you can make it to Canberra in September/October make sure you head to the event. 

Location: Regatta Point, Barrine Drive, Parkes ACT
Opening Hours: Saturday 16 September until Sunday 15 October 2017. 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Monday to Friday. 9.00 am – 5.30 pm weekends and public holidays
Current Ticket Price: Free entry. Fees apply for some activities and purchases.
Website: www.floriadeaustralia.com
Read our full coverage here.

Parliament House

There’s no missing the Parliament House of Australia when you are in Canberra. The city has been designed this architectural marvel and its only fitting that a visit to the city includes a tour of this building. Be careful, you will need to keep the kids close with security tight. Parliament is often in session too so a game of minister spotting might be fun (hands up whose kids can identify more than one!)

Location: Parliament House, Parliament Dr, Canberra ACT
Opening Hours: Open every day except Christmas Day. Non-sitting days: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm. Sitting days: Monday – Thursday 9.00 am – 6.00 pm. Queen’s Terrace Café 9.00 am – 4.30 pm.
Current Ticket Price: Free + free wifi
Website: www.aph.gov.au
Read our coverage of Parliament House here.

20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Seg Glide Ride

Whilst you do need to be over 12 to ride the seaways in Canberra, it is a tour that you should consider with older kids. A short safety lesson will get you stable on wheels before you head off on a 15, 30 or 60 minute tour of some of Canberra’s most iconic settings. 

Location: West Kiosk, Queen Elizabeth Terrace, Parkes ACT
Opening Hours: Tours start at 9.30 am daily. Bookings recommended.
Current Ticket Price: Hire starts from $25.00.  Please note: All riders must 12 years and older.
Website: www.segglideride.com.au
Read our full coverage here.

The National Dinosaur Museum

If  you have a kid or two who are obsessed with dinosaurs or just show an interest in these prehistoric animals, a visit to the dinosaur museum might just be for you. Special tours are hosted each weekend and every day of the school holidays commencing at at 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm, and 3.00 pm. The National Dinosaur Museum currently offers 23 complete skeletons, and over 300 displays of individual fossils.

Location: 6 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls ACT
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week between 10.00 am –5.00 pm
Current Ticket Price: $45.00 per family
Website: nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au
We are yet to cover the National Dinosaur Museum. 

Mt Stroll Observatory

Fancy visiting the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics? Mt Stroll Observatory with the visitors centre offering something for everyone with science exhibits, a kids zone and info about Mount Stromlo’s rich history of tragedies and triumphs.

Location: Cotter Rd, Weston Creek ACT
Opening Hours: Open 9.00 am – 4.00 pm on weekdays and 7.30 am – 5.00 pm on the weekends.
Current Ticket Price: free. Contact site for tour fees.
Website: rsaa.anu.edu.au/observatories/mount-stromlo-observatory
We are yet to cover Mt Stroll Observatory

So, which attraction would you like to visit first? 

11 thoughts on “20 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

  1. Cross the national zoo off the bucket list, or proceed with caution.
    Moving from Sydney one year ago, we crossed many of these off this list in the first few weeks we arrived. They were good enough. Except for the zoo. I have never seen a bunch of more sad, more bored animals. The Tasmanian devil had run a track around it’s enclosure. In the 10 minutes I watched it all it did was run the same track. Around and around and around. The tiger (I believe passed this year but has been replaced) also walked a track around the perimeter of it’s enclosure. The moon or sun bear (I’ve tried to suppress the entire day so don’t remember which it was) paced the same horizontal tree branch. This names just a few. They were doing some upgrades to the cheetah enclosure when we were there so hopefully they have upped the game in terms of stimulation for the other animals.
    As for the aquarium, well, I’ve had better setups in my lounge room. You could literally hold your breath as you make your way around it is so small.
    I could not happily spend money there again, especially good money to stay overnight.
    I enjoy zoos, I’m not a hardcore animal rights activist, but my experience there really put me off.

    • Wow Megan, that’s really disappointing to hear. As you would have noted, we are yet to visit but have the Jamala Wildlife Lodge on our Bucket List. It always gets such fabulous reviews by other visitors. I will need to research it a little more. I think the work behind the scenes of a zoo – the conservation work that they do away from the pubic eye, is really important. I’ll be reading up on the National Zoo & Aquariums commitment I think. Thank you for the heads up.

    • Oh no, we love the zoo! Much more than Taronga. You get to see everything close up, the grounds are lovely, it’s doesn’t get too crowded. The aquarium, while not as good as Sydney, is definitely the favourite part for my 4 boys. We can spend 45 minutes in there happily. Everyone I know has been to the zoo and I have never heard anyone speak negatively of it before. Anyway, everyone has their own experience, but others might enjoy it more.

  2. I just read the comment about the zoo above – so helpful to know. It’s so hard to know until you go somewhere or hear someone’s experiences like that on whether they’re legit and have animal welfare in mind or not.

  3. Do you have any recommendations on where to stay in Canberra?
    1 adult and 3 kids (aged 3,5,7). We will be driving from Sydney to Canberra so we will have a car.

    • It depends on whether your child likes dinosaurs already. If they do, it shouldnt be too scary. I think Questacon is at the top of my list for recommendations

  4. I suggest that the local government give Kid City in Mitchell some decent funding & support to open up a Kids City that has indoor & outdoor spaces with much more activities to cater for older kids.
    The current Kid City concept is great but please let’s give Canberra kids more adventure & visitors to Canberra some real memories.

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