Canberra is an easy family holiday destination guaranteed to engage and entertain the kids. Interactive exhibits at Questacon, dinosaurs, a dress-up museum, miniature train & bike rides provide plenty of holiday stimulation.
Packed with interactive exhibits exploring the worlds of science and technology, Questacon is one of Canberra’s best-loved family museums. Kids can feel the force of an earthquake in the Awesome Earth exhibit, peer through microscopes in the Q Lab and tinker away on art and design projects in The Shed.
2. National Zoo & Aquarium
At the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, this combined zoo and aquarium boasts the largest collection of big cats in Australia. Aside from getting up close to Sumatran tigers, ring-tailed lemurs and zebra sharks, kids can let loose in the Adventureland playground or get hands-on during the Keeper for a Day program.
3. Pod Playground at National Arboretum
If there’s one attraction that families shouldn’t miss at the 250ha National Arboretum, it’s the native flora-inspired Pod Playground. Parents can soak up the views across Canberra with a coffee from the Village Centre while kids busy themselves playing in the giant acorn cubbies and making music in the banksia pods.
4. National Dinosaur Museum
With the largest permanent display of dinosaur fossils in Australia, the National Dinosaur Museum forms part of Canberra’s Gold Creek Village. Whilst there’s a fascinating array of skeletons, skulls and murals on display, it’s the lifelike models and animatronic dinosaurs (complete with roars and blinks) that always leave the biggest impression.
5. Cockington Green Gardens
Journey around the globe without leaving the country at the award-winning Cockington Green Gardens, where you’ll find meticulously recreated landmarks from as far afield as Scotland and Peru. Kids will love riding the miniature steam train and peering into the Waverley dollhouse, followed by afternoon tea overlooking the beautifully landscaped grounds.
6. PlayUP at The Museum of Australian Democracy
Understanding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child might seem overwhelming for young kids, but PlayUP makes it accessible through a range of interactive exhibits. Located at the Museum of Australian Democracy, this engaging family space celebrates all things kids via listening pods, role-playing activities and hands-on crafts.
7. Boundless Playground
Within Kings Park on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, this playground was built to celebrate the city’s centenary. It’s the first all-abilities playground in the nation’s capital and is packed with state-of-the-art equipment that encourages kids to climb, slide and dig for sandpit treasures.
8. Yarralumla Play Station
The Yarralumla Play Station has been entertaining families since 1973, with a miniature railway, miniature golf courses and a petting farm among its attractions. Enjoy a leisurely ride pulled by the train Bluebell, hit a hole in one on the Lake Walter golf courses, then say “hello” to miniature pigs, alpacas, dwarf goats and a Galloway cow at the free-roaming farm.
9. Royal Australian Mint
Ever wanted to see where Australia’s circulating coins are made? Head to the Royal Australian Mint for one of its fascinating guided tours to get a behind-the-scenes look. Kids will love watching the coin-making robots in action and can challenge themselves on the Mint Treasure Hunt, then mint their very own $1 coin.
10. Australian War Memorial
While the Australian War Memorial is a poignant place to honour and remember our fallen soldiers, it’s also highly educational for young minds. Children can learn about our involvement in global wars through the life-like dioramas and models of battle scenes, then get up close to a Gallipoli landing boat and military equipment marked with bullet holes.
11. Explore by bike
Canberra is one of the most bike-friendly cities on the planet, with cycle paths everywhere. The ultra family-friendly East Hotel Canberra offers bikes for guest use, so take one for a ride to Lake Burley Griffin for a picnic or cruise to Manuka or Kingston for some shopping.