Canberra, the nation’s capital, was recently voted the second most liveable city in Australia after Adelaide (Property Council of Australia). Surprising for some, given that many people may think of Canberra as a staid political town in the middle of no-where. Many people remember visiting Canberra as a student, on the obligatory school excursion to Parliament House. For the most part, there was little else to do except beat a hasty retreat back to where they came from. However today’s Canberra paints a very different picture, with affordable housing, a great quality of life, parks, art, history and plenty of space for families to grow. It’s worth giving it another look.
We’ve put together our list of the Top 10 things to see and do there with something for everyone in the family, no matter what age.
Questacon is all about making science fun for and accessible to all ages. Loads of hands-on, interactive exhibits including a virtual roller coaster ride and simulated earthquakes and lightning strikes enhance the sense of adventure and discovery in the name of science and family fun. See our Competition Page to win a family pass to Questacon – Hurry, finishing soon.
2. Australian Institute of Sport
Discover the champion within at Australia’s No. 1 sporting centre and home to Australia’ s elite sportsmen and sportswomen. Test your skills in Sportex, an interactive sports experience, take a tour with an AIS athlete, try rock climbing, virtual rowing, football penalty shoot-outs, a range of winter sports and more.
3. The National Zoo and Aquarium
Take the whole family to Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium . You can go on a behind-the-scenes tour and get up close and personal with some of the residents – meet a cheetah, let a bear lick honey from your hand and feed the tigers. Plenty of fabulous aquatic life here too so you’ll truly experience one of the most interactive animal adventures in the country.
4. Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
Got a budding astronaut at home? CDSCC is one of only 3 active NASA tracking stations in the world and a perfect place for kids to find out all about the amazing secrets of deep space! You’ll hear the latest space news, discover what an astronaut actually wears on space missions and even see a moon rock specimen that’s 3.8 billion years old! Absorbing and engaging glimpse into the cosmos for the whole family at the Canberra Space Centre.
5. Cockington Green Gardens
Cockington Green Gardens will delight little ones and fascinate the rest of the family with its miniature world of quaint villages, railways, castles and gardens meticulously created and planned out in truly magical mini lands! You can even take a ride on the miniature steam train or get lost in the maze and marvel at the detail everywhere – even mechanised exhibits come to life with just a touch. For the young and old, this is a must-see family outing.
6. National Dinosaur Museum
This is the largest display of dinosaur and prehistoric fossils in Australia with exhibits ranging from 10 full-size replica skeletons of dinosaurs to reconstructions of uniquely Australian dinosaurs including Muttaburrasaurus! There are more than 300 animal, mineral and vegetable fossil displays here with massive bones and skulls that will impress any dinosaur-mad kid!
7. National Museum Of Australia
The National Museum of Australia is dedicated to telling the great stories about Australia and Australians. Explore interactive displays, permanent galleries and informative exhibitions covering 50,000 years of indigenous heritage, settlement since 1788 and major milestones and key events in our history.
8. National Gallery of Australia
The Children’s Gallery here is aimed at encouraging kids to engage with art in a range of fun, stimulating interactive activities with story-telling sessions, drawing classes and films also available. Definite family fun and educational as well as enjoyable for children.
9. Australian War Memorial
This amazing monument and museum commemorates the contribution and sacrifice Australians have made throughout several wars. While the subject matter may be sombre, kids will learn so much and also have the chance to experience a piece of history in the cleverly designed Discovery Zone where they can dodge sniper fire in a WWI trench, peer through a submarine periscope or take the controls of a helicopter.
10. Royal Australian Mint
This is when you show the kids that money really doesn’t grow on trees! As they watch from an elevated observation window they can see Mint staff and one of the world’s strongest robots making coins. Have fun with the whole family minting their own souvenir $1 coin on the public coining presses.
What’s coming up in June:
Kids in The Shed, 19th June
Shop for the little people in your life. Kids in the Shed is a day for the very young so be prepared for lots of fun and noise!
Choose from beautifully handcrafted toys, original artworks for kids’ rooms and locally designed children’s clothes. Discover exquisitely embroidered christening gowns, baby slings, doll’s houses, funky bedding and more. At the Old Bus Depot Markets, Kingston. Check out the Visit Canberra website for more information.
For the Diary:
Floriade 17th September – 16th October 2011
Floriade is Australia’s celebration of spring. Featuring more than a million blooms as a backdrop, Commonwealth Park in Canberra explodes into colourful bloom with fantastic entertainment, displays and a whole program celebrating a set theme each year.
Enjoy fashion, art, horticulture & tips and advice from celebrities and experts. Ride the giant Ferris Wheel & see dazzling entertainment including music acts & street performers.
Families will love the Patting Paddock, great kids’ programs, gnome painting and amazing creatures at the Riveting Reptile exhibition. Visit the Floriade Website for more information.