By: Marie Ashworth, ellaslist
It’s a looonnng summer holiday when it comes to keeping the kids entertained! Thankfully, there are corners of lesser explored Sydney such as Penrith in Sydney’s west which offer a heap of new experiences, adventures and events to discover. You’ll be amazed at what’s on offer from unique aquatic activities you’ve never heard of and free community events to kids’ shows and holiday workshops.
Take a closer look at our favourite things to do in and around Penrith with the kids this summer…
1. Make A Splash
You don’t have to head to the beach or the pool to stay cool this summer. There are some unique aquatic experiences in Penrith for kids of all ages, guaranteed to bring their temperatures down and keep them happy.
Penrith is home to the only man-made white-water rafting facility in Australia. Penrith Whitewater Stadium was built for the Sydney Olympics, and is an exciting venue for kids as young as 12 years old to try guided rafting or kayaking.
Or why not try cable skiing, wakeboarding and knee boarding at Cables Wake Park. Kids aged 6 and over will enjoy the new inflatable Aqua Park which has slides, trampolines and obstacles to climb. There’s also a playground and splash pad for toddlers.
Explore the Nepean River by boat, canoe, jet ski and observe the amazing wildlife along the way. You can also take a guided fishing tour or eco tour of the Nepean River with an experienced local guide.
2. Discover A New Playground
Keep your kids occupied for hours at one of Penrith’s many great playgrounds. Livvi’s Place is a brand new state-of-the-art playground for people of all abilities located at Greenwood Parkway, Jordan Springs. The fully fenced playground boasts a large water play area with six water jets, a sandpit, trampolines, and swings, accessible toilets with adult-sized changing space, a performance stage, plenty of shade and picnic areas.
Jamison Park has modern multi-age play equipment, complete with three sets of slides, swings, a climbing wall and bike path.
Thornton Playground has modern play equipment but also features a splash pad – if your kids don’t mind getting wet.
The Nepean River actually has three playgrounds; one on River Road, Tench Reserve North and Tench Reserve South. Visit one, or take your kids on a playground crawl of them all. Pack a picnic and while your kids play, enjoy watching the action on the river set against the magnificent backdrop of the Blue Mountains.
Werrington Lakes is a sprawling reserve, home to a lake, cycle tracks, walking paths and BBQ facilities. The covered playground has it all including a fort, swings, fireman’s pole and obstacles to test out your kids balance and coordination. Kids will enjoy cooling off in the playground’s new splash pad water feature too!
A full list of playgrounds in Penrith can be found here.
3. Check Out A Free Family Event
Make a date with one of the great family-friendly events happening this summer.
Bring a blanket, pack a picnic and enjoy an evening of entertainment under the stars at Cinema in the Park in St Marys this December. On Saturday 3 December, the 2016 blockbuster, The Jungle Book will be screened in Victoria Park at 7.45pm. From 6pm there are a number of free activities including bubble soccer, a mobile play van and free face painting so get there early to make the most of it, secure your spot and enjoy the atmosphere.
Celebrate everything great about Australia and being Australian at Penrith’s Australia Day 2017. Expect a full program of fun, free activities in Jamison Park between 3pm and 8pm on Thursday 27 January. From bush dancing, live music, blacksmith and spinning demonstrations to old-fashioned games and sheep dog demonstrations – it’s a fantastic way for the community to come together and acknowledge the city’s rich history.
4. Parks, Trails & Bush Adventures
Head outdoors for some fun in the sun and explore some beautiful parks, walking trails and bushwalks this summer. The Sydney International Regatta Centre sprawls over 178 hectares and boasts stunning views of Penrith Lakes and the Blue Mountains. Here you’ll find many activities to enjoy as a family; a 5km path around the main lake is perfect for family walks, bike rides, roller-blading or scooting. You can row, sail or kayak on the world-class waterway and also learn how to fish sustainably. Take a picnic, hire a BBQ or enjoy the onsite café and restaurant.
Experience nature on a bushwalk to The Rock Lookout. This picturesque location is accessed after a short-walk of only a few hundred metres from Fairlight Road and once there you’ll be greeted by sweeping views of the Nepean River. A longer track of 2.5 kilometres awaits keen bushwalkers, make your way through swampy heath and eucalyptus forest to Riley’s Mountain where more views of the Nepean River and surrounds can be enjoyed.
Even the littliest of walkers will appreciate the Great River Walk which features spectacular views of the beautiful Nepean River set against the backdrop of the Blue Mountains. Most of the track is part of a 6km loop known as the ‘Bridge to Bridge’ that follows the riverbank on both the Penrith and Emu Plains sides of the river. This easy walk features resting points and lookouts where you can see bird and other wildlife in a natural setting. It’s perfect for scooters or bikes and there are playgrounds to stop at, as well as places to enjoy a coffee and something to eat along the way. Download a map of the Great River Walk which details where picnic spots can be found and other useful information such as parking, lookouts and sites of interest.
5. Treat Them To A Show at The Joan
This summer sees a colourful line up of kid-friendly shows at The Joan. Starring Jimmy Giggle, Hoot, Hootabelle, Gigglefangs, Pirate Hootbeard and of course…Hootoclaws and his singing and dancing Elves, Giggle and Hoot’s Magical Christmas shows on Friday 16 December is not to be missed.
What better way to start the year than with a Maxi-Pass to miniFEST kids’ shows running 24 to 28 January 2017. For the one great value price you get tickets to four events – two hilarious physical theatre shows, a film festival just for kids and access to our brand new mini-MUSIC Lounge… oh and refreshments!
Little Big Shots is Australia’s largest annual touring children’s film festival. It screens to thousands of kids every year from tiny tots as young as 2 years old to older tweens. Featuring the best in local and international children’s shorts, animations, documentaries and, amazingly, child-produced films.
Corpus presents two incredible children’s physical theatre. Les Moutons is a wordless show about the strange and hilarious world of three healthy ewes and a young ram, while Flock of Flyers centres around five flyers from the 217th Canadian Flying Squadron. For details, visit The Joan website.
6. Workshops at The Gallery
Summer sees Penrith’s Regional Gallery’s kids’ workshop program inspired by nature. Think terrarium building, bug drawing, landscape painting, paper flower making and more. Their animation workshops explore all things weather related, storms, cloud, sunshine and wind. Plus check out their environmental-science session in our pop-up lab. Single workshops and multi-day programs available – sign up for the gallery’s newsletter to receive detailed workshop information as soon as it’s available. 16 – 20 January 2017.
Looking for more inspiration on awesome things to do as a family in Penrith? Check out these hand-picked kid-friendly activities and events in Penrith or explore the Visit Penrith website.
Brought to you by Penrith City Council and The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre
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