Canberra Is Great For Families—Here’s What To Do While You’re There
By: Rosie Stevens, ellaslist
Despite widespread opinion that our nation’s capital is a worthwhile city just for politicians and gaggles of school kids on their primary school pilgrimage to Questacon, Canberra is actually a cultural city with clout; offering some of Australia’s best and most kid-friendly museums, outdoor activities, educational play experiences and food spots.
So before you eschew a trip to Canberra in favour of something more familiar, why not consider it as a destination for your next family getaway or weekender? Here’s what you should see and do while you’re there with the kids in tow.
Culture, Culture And More Culture
Culture is to Canberra what beaches are to Queensland; imprinted in the fabric of the city’s DNA.
A firm favourite among kids is Old Parliament House (aka The Museum of Australian Democracy), which is a living museum of Australian social and political history. With an entire ‘Play Up’ area dedicated to entertaining the younger ones, there’s craft, drawing, reading, dress-up and more; which is sure to keep them entertained. The National Museum of Australia is another fave among families, thanks to a designated KSpace; the Museum’s interactive adventure game for kids which lets them build their own time-travelling robot then blast off to explore a mystery location in Australia’s past. The National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery of Australia both also offer some great activities for kids of all ages.
Another cultural icon, The Australian War Memorial has designated things to do for kids; including storytime and craft activities, as well as a ‘Discovery Zone’ with a helicopter you can sit in, a submarine you can walk through and a host of interactive areas.
Science is at its most fun in Questacon—both adults and kids will be amazed as they make their way through each room, learning about everything from rockets to reptiles. The National Dinosaur Museum houses Australia’s largest permanent collection of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, with over 50 life-like models, including robotic dinosaurs that move. The guided tours give insight into dinosaur biology and evolution in a fun-filled, interactive experience, where kids will love touching fossils and specimens, asking questions, and taking photos.
Cockington Green Gardens has a unique and charming display of miniature buildings, including famous international landmarks which you can explore via a mini train for a ride around the gardens, and of course, the National Zoo & Aquarium promises to delight little wildlife lovers.
Say what you want about Canberra—but it sure knows how to do a playground. The most popular is easily Pod Playground at the National Arboretum. This unique concept revolves around pods and tree, and kids will love climbing up and through giant acorn cubbies, nest swings and banksia pods while the parents sip on coffee and admire the beautiful grounds of the Arboretum.
Boundless Canberra at Kings Park is another brilliant, state-of-the-art playground that caters to kids of all ages and abilities. Located on the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin, it’s a lovely spot for parents to bring a flask of hot tea or coffee to sip on whilst the kids blow off some steam.
A fun way to explore Canberra for older kids (12 and over) is a Segway tour around Lake Burley Griffin’s foreshore, taking in the famous landmarks and iconic buildings as you go. Kids who like an adrenalin rush in the great outdoors will love a day spent at Stromlo Forest Park—with everything from horse riding to mountain biking on offer to burn off some energy.
Thanks to its burgeoning cultural scene, Canberra plays host to some pretty epic festivals throughout the year. Floriade is the city’s celebration of spring, which brings the city to life through beautiful floral displays during September each year. Enlighten is Canberra’s answer to Sydney’s Vivid, and the annual Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a stunning sight across Canberran skies.
Hero image: Australian Capital Tourism
For More Family-Friendly Australian Travel Inspo:
- The Best Things To Do With Kids In Tasmania
- Cool Things To Do With Kids In Western Australia
- What To Do With Kids In The Northern Territory
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