30 Unmissable Things to do in Canberra With Kids
- Mums & Bubs
Despite the 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, food spots, and plenty more.
Visiting Canberra with kids is a definite family bucket list item, particularly when there are so many incredible attractions to suit all tastes. We've rounded up 30 of the best things to do in Canberra with kids for your next full and fun family outing - enjoy!
30 Unmissable Things to do in Canberra With Kids
1. Visit Questacon
This extraordinary interactive museum is a labyrinth of fun and wonder.
From engineering shows to botanical labs, your kids will no doubt leave with dreams of becoming scientists! Science is at its most fun in Questacon, and both adults and kids will be amazed as they make their way through each gallery.
Check out what special events and exhibitions they're hosting, like the current Awesome Earth exhibition where you can discover the driving forces of our world and see Earth through new eyes by engaging with dynamic, hands-on exhibits.
Location: King Edward Terrace, Parkes
2. Spot Some Animals at The National Zoo and Aquarium
If you're looking for things to do in Canberra with kids who love their animals, they'll feel right at home at The National Zoo and Aquarium in Yarralumla.
Families are well catered for at The National Zoo and Aquarium with loads of animals to visit, including tigers, cheetahs, alligators, zebras, African lions, bears, snakes, fish, and even penguins. Plus, there are thrilling hands-on animal encounters, a cool kids' playground, and overnight stays.
Location: 999 Lady Denman Dr, Yarralumla
3. Embrace Your Inner Potterhead at Quizzic Alley
Jump on your Nimbus 3000 for a magical ride into the world of witchcraft and wizardry!
Quizzic Alley stocks Australia's largest collection of official Harry Potter merchandise, as well as hosting siriusly spellbinding Brews and Bubbles Potions classes in their Academy of Sorcery.
Hogwarts fans will be transfixed by the extensive range of coveted licensed goodies, from books to robes, chocolate frogs, and cute baby Nifflers. There are board games, puzzles, backpacks, toys, wands, stationery, posters, and jewellery among the Hufflepuff of Potter paraphernalia.
Location: 5 Pirie St, Fyshwick
4. Explore Cockington Green Gardens
You'll have the whole world at your feet (literally!) at Cockington Green Gardens with its unique and charming display of miniature buildings, including famous international landmarks.
The delightful and fascinating handcrafted city is set within beautiful gardens with a Garden Cafe where homemade scones are a must. Hop on the miniature steam train for a tour and look out for Waverley, the epic 34-room dolls' house! There is also a picnic area and playground.
Location: 11 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
5. Visit the National Art Gallery of Australia
You may not think an art gallery will entertain the kids for long, but the National Art Gallery of Australia is amazing!
One of our favourite things to do in Canberra with kids is to plan a family art adventure at the National Art Gallery of Australia with free interactive tours, hands-on art-making workshops and a 'treasure hunt' throughout the gallery searching for artworks.
They have an Open Studio every weekend with free creative activities inspired by current exhibitions. They also host Super Sunday, a free monthly program for the whole family, featuring music, storytelling, performances, dance, and art-making to inspire creatives of all ages.
Location: Parkes Pl E, Parkes
6. Go Dino-Crazy at the National Dinosaur Museum
See Australia’s largest permanent collection of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals at the National Dinosaur Museum, with over 50 life-like models, including robotic dinosaurs that move!
Be brave and stand next to a T-Rex! Families can take a guided tour tailored to suit all ages and gain a unique insight into dinosaur biology and evolution in a fun-filled, interactive experience. Get to touch fossils and specimens, ask questions and take photos.
Location: 6 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
7. Explore Old Parliament House
A firm favourite among kids is Old Parliament House, 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-ups, and plenty more.
The National Museum of Australia is another favourite among families, thanks to a designated KSpace - the Museum’s interactive adventure game for kids. It lets them build their own time-travelling robot and then blast off to explore a mystery location in Australia’s past - so cool!
Location: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes
8. Climb Black Mountain Tower
A national landmark and one of Canberra's most popular kid-friendly attractions, Black Mountain Tower, aka Telstra Tower, is a 195-metre telecommunications tower above Black Mountain.
The indoor and outdoor viewing platforms offer sweeping 360-degree views of Canberra. It has a cafe, souvenir shop, revolving restaurant and Canberra's highest operating post box!
Location: Black Mountain Lookout
9. Stop off at the CSIRO Discovery Centre
The CSIRO Discovery Centre is a dynamic hub that offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the world of Australian science and research.
The Discover Centre will intrigue both big and little minds with interactive exhibits, hands-on displays, and engaging demonstrations that cover a diverse range of scientific topics, from astronomy and environmental science to renewable energy and robotics.
Location: N Science Rd, Acton
10. Play at the Famous Pod Playground
Let the kids burn off some energy at the National Arboretum's unique Pod Playground.
With giant acorn cubbies, nest swings, banksia pods, music-making instruments, and rope tunnels, what more could an adventure-loving kid ask for? The challenging and exciting nature space encourages children to explore, learn, and enjoy while the nearby Village Centre has a cafe for all the recharge needs of tired parents!
Location: Forest Drive
11. Visit the National Film and Sound Archive
Remember Skippy? The Mike Walsh Show? Simon Townsend's Wonder World? Australia's archive for film, TV and radio is a Canberra institution and they've preserved our cultural history and our memories, so you can have fun sharing your old favourites with your kids!
With over three million items across 170 collections, the National Film and Sound Archive will take you on a fascinating journey through the history of these influential art mediums in Australia, exploring iconic films like Mad Max, Muriel's Wedding, and Storm Boy, displaying vintage Cadbury advertisements and celebrating cultural touchstones like cricket, the beach, and the BBQ. You can also see a series of animated short films and peek inside a kid's party time capsule.
Location: McCoy Cct, Acton
12. Sleep With the Animals at Jamala Wildlife Lodge
One of the most unique things to do in Canberra with kids, Jamala Wildlife Lodge lets you sleep inches away from some of the scariest animals in the world!
Located within the National Zoo and Aquarium, Jamala Wildlife Lodge offers a series of accommodations amid the animal world, where lions, tigers, cheetahs, giraffes and more roam freely just inches away from your window.
Location: 999 Lady Denman Drive
13. Get up Close to Nature at the Australian National Botanic Gardens
One of our favourite things to do in Canberra with kids when we feel like reconnecting with nature, a trip to the Australian National Botanic Gardens is always a good idea.
Nestled at the base of Black Mountain, the Australian National Botanic Gardens stands as a verdant oasis of biodiversity and beauty. Spanning over 90 hectares, this living laboratory showcases the rich tapestry of Australia's native flora, from the lush rainforests of the tropics to the arid landscapes of the outback.
Families can meander along winding paths and verdant trails or participate in guided walks and workshops, jump on the Flora Explorer bus, and plenty more.
Location: Clunies Ross St, Acton
14. Play for the Whole Day at Yarralumla Play Station
With not one, not two, but four exciting attractions on offer, kids can play all day at Yarralumla Play Station.
Yarralumla Play Station is home to Weston Park Miniature Railway, Lake Walter Miniature Golf courses, Mini Farm Friends, and the YPS Lolly Shoppe, so there's always something fun and adventurous for kids of all ages to see and do.
Location: 9 Pescott Ln, Yarralumla
15. See Creepy Crawlies at the Canberra Reptile Zoo
Slither into a world of scales and tails at the Canberra Reptile Zoo, home to a fascinating array of reptiles, amphibians, and creepy crawlies.
There are over 50 different species of reptiles and frogs on display at the Reptile Zoo, plus some of the world's deadliest snakes!
Location: O'Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
16. Cycle around Lake Burley Griffin
Surrounded by lush parklands, scenic walking and cycling paths, and architectural landmarks, Lake Burley Griffin is a popular outdoor destination brimming with things to do in Canberra with kids.
From its tranquil shores, families can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Canberra's skyline, with notable landmarks such as the National Museum of Australia, the National Library, and Parliament House framing the horizon.
Cycling around the entire lake is quite an undertaking with kids (it's 30 kilometres!), so we suggest checking out the shorter paths - there are two at five kilometres and 14 kilometres.
17. Visit the Royal Australian Mint
*Please note that the Royal Australian Mint is temporarily closed.
The Royal Australian Mint stands as a gleaming symbol of the nation's currency and numismatic heritage, and families are invited to go behind the scenes!
As the sole producer of Australia's circulating coins, this iconic Mint offers families a fascinating glimpse into the art and science of coin production. Stepping inside the Mint's modern facilities, you'll be greeted by a treasure trove of interactive exhibits, historical displays, and behind-the-scenes insights into the minting process. Plus, you can even mint your own coin as a souvenir!
Location: 62-114 Denison St, Deakin
18. See Native Animals at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Go on a wildlife safari and spot kangaroos, emus, and koalas in their natural habitat, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and walking trails suitable for all ages at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
Along with plenty of animal watching, bush walks, picnic opportunities, and visits to the Eucalyptus Forest, there's also the Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground that the kids will love.
Location: Paddys River Road
19. Wander Along the Kingston Foreshore
Nestled along the tranquil shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the Kingston Foreshore is a vibrant waterfront precinct brimming with charm and character.
Once an industrial area, this revitalised district has been transformed into a bustling hub of activity, where families can enjoy waterfront dining, shopping, sightseeing and more.
Location: 19-43 Eastlake Parade, Kingston
20. Check Out Cool Canberra Festivals
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, which includes the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, a stunning sight across the Canberra sky.
21. Go Playground Hopping
Canberra might be small but she packs a punch when it comes to cool playgrounds for the kids.
The next time you're out and about and you're looking for a cool playground to visit, our favourites include Ruth Park Playground, the mega Moncrieff Community Recreation Park, Ridgeline Park Playground, Boundless Playground, the Pod Playground, and John Knight Memorial Playground.
22. Visit Lollipop's Playland & Cafe
If the weather is too hot, cold or rainy to visit outdoor playgrounds, head indoors to one of Canberra's favourite indoor playgrounds.
Let your little ones burn off oodles of energy at Lollipop's Playland & Cafe's indoor play structures, slides, ball pits, and more. They'll sleep like babies come bedtime!
Location: Majura Park Shopping Centre, Spitfire Ave
23. Step Back in Time at the Australian War Memorial
Calling all history buffs to step back in time at the Australian War Memorial.
The Australian War Memorial stands as a solemn tribute to the nation's military history, honouring the sacrifice of those who served in conflicts. Its sprawling grounds and poignant exhibits serve as a reminder of the enduring legacy of Australia's armed forces.
Dive into history at the Discovery Zone, a hands-on educational space at the Memorial where kids can explore military artifacts and interactive exhibits.
Location: Treloar Cres, Campbell
24. Hop on a Miniature Train at Weston Park
All aboard for a scenic ride on the miniature railway at Weston Park!
One of the best things to do in Canberra with kids who love trains, your little train enthusiasts will get a kick out of riding the Weston Park Railway, which offers trips every 30 minutes starting from 10 am.
Location: 9 Pescott Ln, Yarralumla
25. Hit the Ice at Phillip Ice Skating Centre
Another one of our favourite things to do in Canberra with kids who have oodles of energy is to hit the ice at Phillip Ice Skating Centre.
Glide across the ice and cool off with a family ice skating session at Phillip Ice Skating Centre, offering fun for beginners and seasoned skaters alike. They also have Friday night discos if you're feeling extra festive!
Location: 1 Irving St, Phillip
26. Embark on a Family-friendly Bushwalk
Here's an adventurous outing for active families!
Embark on an adventure through Canberra's bushwalking spots, where every step unveils a treasure trove of natural wonders and scenic vistas. One of our favourites is the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, where kangaroos hop alongside as you traverse through eucalyptus-scented pathways. For a dash of history amidst the wilderness, explore the iconic Red Hill trails, offering panoramic views of the cityscape. The National Arboretum run daily walks throughout its 250 hectares of gorgeous surroundings. The Central Basin Walk isn't a bushwalk per se, but it's an easy trail to conquer with the kids in tow, taking in iconic Canberra sites.
27. Explore Canberra's Deep Space Communication Complex
*Please note that the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is temporarily closed.
Blast off on a space adventure and learn about the wonders of the universe at this NASA tracking station, where kids can explore interactive exhibits and gaze at the stars.
Location: 421 Discovery Dr
28. Have a Family Movie Night at Dendy Cinemas
Sit back, relax, and enjoy a family movie night at Dendy Cinemas Canberra, with a wide selection of family-friendly films screened throughout the year. Make sure you check their events calendar for special kids' and family events.
Location: Bunda Street
29. Go Fruit Picking
The nation's capital is also one of the top fruit-growing regions in Australia, which means there's always a farm open for fruit picking in Canberra and beyond.
It's essential to ring ahead or check the farm's website to make sure they are in their fruit-picking season before visiting.
30. Visit the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Tour
Inspire your future sporting champions with a behind-the-scenes tour of Australia's elite sporting facilities at the Australian Institute of Sports.
Kids can see what it takes to keep up as an elite athlete, plus, try their hand at various sports activities, including Sportex, a leading interactive sports exhibit.
Location: Leverrier St, Bruce
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