15 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids and Where To Stay

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Have you visited Canberra with kids?

Time to start planning a trip then!

Our family has hugely enjoyed a couple of trips to Canberra recently, and we know there’s a lot more to see too.

Here you’ll find our Top 15 Things To Do in Canberra, plus a list of the hotels we recommend.

PS To find a printable PDF of this post to save for later, just click here

Children play in the colourful Excite exhibit at Questacon

All kids love Questacon

 

Top 15 things to do with your kids in Canberra

1.Questacon

For budding scientists Questacon’s Q Lab offers an ever-changing array of intriguing experiments, explosive demonstrations and interesting displays. Also on during the school holidays is Perception Deception where kids can discover the world inside their heads and explore how people perceive the same thing in different ways.

Location: King Edward Terrace, Canberra

Opening Hours: Open 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Website: https://www.questacon.edu.au/

Read our blog post here

 

2. National Museum of Australia

The very popular KSpace family space has undergone a transformation. Primary school aged children can build a robot of the future using touch screens and then journey back in time to learn about that era in Australia’s history. KSpace is currently undergoing a testing phase.

Location: National Museum Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra

Opening Hours: Weekends, public holidays and ACT school holidays, with Kspace sessions starting between 9.15am and 4.00pm

Website: www.nma.gov.au/kspace

Read our blog post here

 

 

3. Australian War Memorial

For the children, the Discovery Zone where they could dress up and become fully immersed in the lives of soldiers, submariners, helicopter pilots and more was the highlight. Talk about bringing history to life.

Location: Treloar Crescent, Campbell ACT 2612

Opening Hours:  10am – 5pm daily except Christmas Day

Website:  http://www.awm.gov.au/

Read our blog post here

 

 

4. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

For families who like to get active, head to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to explore more than 20 marked walking trails, ranging from an easy 15-minute stroll to an all-day bushwalk. Some of the most popular trails allow for glimpses of platypus, possums, wombats, echidnas, emus and many other birds and reptiles.

Location: Tidbinbilla Ring Rd, Paddys River,ACT (access is off Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek)

Opening Hours: Visitor Centre: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Reserve Gates: Winter: 7.30 am – 6 pm, Summer: 7.30 am – 8 pm in summer (AEDT)

Website: http://www.tidbinbilla.act.gov.au/

 

 

5. Museum of Democracy

Tackling a serious issue facing children across Australia and giving children the chance to get hands on, Play Up – The Right to Shelter, is a not-to-be missed exhibition and experience at the Museum of Democracy. Young visitors will get to play out how different life would be without their bedroom, favourite food or a warm jacket, in an engaging environment.

Location: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes, Canberra

Opening Hours: Open daily 9am–5pm

Website: http://moadoph.gov.au/exhibitions/play-up/

 

 

6. Royal Australian Mint

For future financiers or kids who always shotgun the banker in Monopoly, the interactive model ‘making a mint’ at the Royal Australian Mint offers fun insights into the world of money.

Location: Royal Australian Mint Denison Street, Deakin, Canberra

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 8.30 am to 5 pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10 am to 4 pm

Website: http://www.ramint.gov.au/

 

 

7. Yarralumla Play Station at Weston Park

Join the club and take a swing at Canberra’s newest family attraction, Yarralumla Play Station at Weston Park. As well as the 36-hole mini golf course which features Canberra’s ionic attractions in miniature, there is also the Petite Park Petting Zoo and Miniature Railway.

Location: 9 Pescott Lane, Yarralumla ACT

Opening Hours: Wed-Fri: 09:30–15:00 -Sat-Sun: 09:30–17:30

Website: http://www.westonparkrailway.com.au/

 

 

8. Australian Institute of Sport

Sportex at the Australian Institute of Sport is a favourite for sports lovers of all ages as it lets everyone in on the secrets and science behind the success of Australian champions. Visitors can also try out different sports such as alpine skiing on the interactive machinery.

Location: Leverrier Street, Bruce, Canberra

Opening Hours: 8:30am to 5:00pm. Public tours 10.00am, 11.30am, 1.00pm and 2.30pm

Website:   https://www.experienceais.com/

We'll definitely visit Australian Institute of Sport

We’ll definitely visit the Australian Institute of Sport

 

9. Cockington Green Gardens

It’s a small world at Cockington Green Gardens, which features a model village and miniatures of iconic buildings from around the globe. This is one for the whole family with miniature cricket grounds for the budding sports players, fairy-tale castles for the Princesses in training and fascinating replicas of international architecture for the ‘culture vultures’.

Location: 11 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls ACT 2913

Opening Hours: Daily9.30am – Last entry time 4.15pm

Website: http://www.cockingtongreen.com.au/

Read our blog post here.

Tower over tiny versions of famous buildings from around the world and ride the mini steam train at the delightful miniature village of Cockington Green Gardens at Gold Creek Village. Kids can bring the exhibits to life with interacting mechanical animation. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds or a bite to eat from the Parsons Nose Garden Cafe.

Cockington Green Gardens at Gold Creek Village

 

10.  Freakshakes 

There is no stopping the ‘freakshake’ phenomenon and where better to give the kids a special treat than Patissez, the birth place of the recent ‘freakshake’ movement. The Nutella and Salty Pretzel is a household favourite and best eaten before something active!

Location: Shop 2/21 Bougainville St, Griffith ACT 2603, Australia

Opening Hours: Daily – 07.00-16.00

Website: https://www.facebook.com/patissez.pty.ltd

 

 

11. Red Hill Views

Lace up the walking shoes and take a hike up Red Hill for spectacular views over the city. At the top, reward yourself with a chai or hot choccie at Little Brother restaurant where you can enjoy the panoramic views whilst giving your feet a bit of R&R.

Location: Red Hill – 50 Red Hill Drive, Red Hill Lookout ACT 2603

Opening Hours: Red Hill – open daily, Little Brother – Wed & Thu: 9.30am till 5.00pm

Fri: 9:30am till late, Sat: 8.00am till late, Sun: 8.00am to 5pm

Website: Visit Canberra Red Hill Lookout webpage here

 

 

 

12.  The National Arboretum

Pack a picnic and head out to at the Arboretum to enjoy a whole range of fun filled school holiday activities for the family. Kids can make their own bonsai, explore the spring birds, blossoms and buds in the forest on a guided story telling walk, and channel their inner kite runner with a kite making and flying workshop.

Location: Forest Drive, off Tuggeranong Parkway, Weston Creek.

Opening Hours: The grounds and Pod Playground are open 6 am to 8:30 pm. Visit the website for more information on school holiday activities and opening hours

Website: http://www.nationalarboretum.act.gov.au/

 

 

13.  Old Bus Dept Markets

For a bout of colour and creativity visit the Old Bus Depot markets on a Sunday and soak up the vibrant atmosphere, stock up on unique handcrafted wares for the whole family, and pick up a snack from one of the artisan food stalls.

Location: 21 Wentworth Ave, Kingston ACT 2604

Opening Hours: Every Sunday from 10am – 4pm.

Website: http://obdm.com.au/

 

 

14.  Canberra Glassworks

Get hands on with the whole family at Canberra Glassworks where you can create your own masterpiece in one of the ‘Make your own sessions’. Make your own poppy, medal or cross at the Distant Warriors Workshop, create your own tiles to celebrate the warm months at the Spring Tile Workshop or create a unique butterfly. Don’t forget to stop by the Hotshop or Engine room to watch the experts in action and get some creative inspiration.

Location: 11 Wentworth Ave Kingston ACT 2604

Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Sunday

Website: http://www.canberraglassworks.com/

 

 

15.  The Hamlet

Get on the foodie trail at The Hamlet which is an urban village for food vans and pop-up stores. Take your taste buds on an international journey with Peruvian street food, German hotdogs, and an Italian wood fire pizza which you can design yourself.

Location: 16 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT

Opening Hours: Lunch and dinner Tue-Sun

Website: https://www.facebook.com/The-Hamlet

 

Questacon Lights and mirrors

Questacon Lights and mirrors

 

Where To Stay In Canberra With Kids

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Twins on the loose at the Avenue Hotel

The Novotel Canberra

We have stayed here and love the pool and the location especially. Read our review here.

Check Novotel availability and prices here.

 

The Avenue Hotel

This is a lovely hotel with spacious rooms and apartments in a great location. We enjoyed a stay here, check out our review here.

Check Avenue Hotel availability and prices here.

 

East Hotel Canberra

East Hotel is famous for its family-friendly rooms with bunks and games for kids. We haven’t stayed here yet but hope to. You can read family reviews on Have Wheelchair Will Travel here, and on BabyMac here.

Check East Hotel Canberra availability and prices here.

 

Mantra on Northbourne

This is an apartment hotel, terrific for when you prefer to be able to cook for yourself.

Check Mantra on Northbourne prices and availability here.

 

Canberra YHA

Very centrally located and with family rooms, cafe and indoor pool, the YHA is a good choice for families.

Check Canberra YHA availability and prices here.

 

Ibis Budget Canberra 

You can rely on this brand for cheap and cheerful accommodation.

Check Ibis Budget Canberra availability and prices here.

Novotel Canberra family_12

The pool at the Novotel Canberra

 

Search for other Canberra family-friendly accom in the search box below:


Booking.com

 

Here’s our list of Canberra posts for further reading! 

Things To Do On A Weekend Trip To Canberra

Four Highlights From Our Family Trip To Canberra

Road Trip: Sydney to Canberra by Car With Kids

7 Tips for Family Trips to Canberra

Canberra: Sleeping and eating and ice cream!

Canberra’s Best Park and Playgrounds

The Novotel Canberra: Our Family Review

I’ve just read about Corin Forest on this Her Collective post, looks like a great spot to sledge and play in the snow without going all the way to the Snowy Mountains.

 

Very happy to hear your advice too.

Enjoy your travel planning and we will 

Catch you in Canberra,

 

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PS To find a printable PDF of this post to save for later, just click here

PS There are some affiliate links in this post, which means if you pay for something though one of the links this blog receives a small commission, at no cost to you.

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Posted on: November 16, 2016

7 Comments

  • Reply September 18, 2015

    Rebecca (Little Munch)

    Tidbinbilla is brilliant – well worth the drive out of Canberra. Yarralumla Play Station looks awesome, will definitely check it out next time we are down there. Make sure you stop in at Grandma’s Little Bakery on the way down at Collector for a coffee break. Have fun x

  • Reply September 18, 2015

    Christine @ Adventure, Baby!

    Pinning this for later! I’m planning to go next year in the Sept hols.

    • Reply September 23, 2015

      Seana Smith

      We’ll write a post about what we do and what the twins think. We’ve been looking at Bound Round today which has lot of info on Canberra. That’s got the kids revved up. Me too… can’t wait to explore…. and eat!

  • Reply September 18, 2015

    Jean | Holy Smithereens

    I love Questacon! You don’t need to be a kid or a science fanatic (i’m neither) to appreciate it 🙂

    • Reply September 23, 2015

      Seana Smith

      Oh good, cos I am neither as well but absolutely loved the last science place we went to. It was in Glasgow and just excellent, so very much looking forward to Questacon.

  • Reply September 23, 2015

    Barbara

    Thanks for stopping by Let’s Go Mum travel reviews – enjoy Canberra – there’s a heap to do, and as mentioned, the War Memorial is a hidden but great one!

    • Reply September 23, 2015

      Seana Smith

      We can’t wait to set off. My twins are 9 and have never been – where did the years go?

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