10 must-do family activities in Canberra during the school holidays

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We’ve selected the top 10 family activities for an action-packed visit to your capital.

There’s so much for kids of all ages to do in Canberra that they’ll want to come back every school holiday.

ENJOY CLASSIC QUESTACON EXPERIENCES

Children will clamor to visit Questacon – The National Science and Technology Center.

This interactive wonderland will let kids learn about the power of the elements, feel the force of an earthquake, watch lightning strike twice, and meet the friendly mechanical humanoid, Robo Q.

Questacon is more than a science lesson, it’s the spark that leads to a life of wonder and curiosity. Questacon is a multi-Australian Tourism Award winner for good reason.

MEET ANIMALS LARGE AND SMALL

See animals big and small, from red pandas to rhinos. Enjoy more than you expected with animal encounter experiences that let you meet and feed giraffes, white lions, meerkats and more.

With 2.6 km of walking trails, following the numbered adventure trail map is a great way to explore the National Zoo and Aquarium.

With dedicated picnic and barbecue areas, plus a lovely children’s play area, you can make a day out of it. Check schedules for daily activities and interviews with the guards.

During school holidays, the zoo offers a Zoocation holiday program – be sure to book early to guarantee a place.

ROAR LIKE A DINOSAUR AND SEE LIFE IN MINIATURE AT GOLD CREEK VILLAGE

You’ll find giant dinosaurs, little worlds, reptiles and more at Gold Creek Village, a wonderland for young and old.

Brush up on your Muttaburrasaurus facts on a tour of the National Dinosaur Museum and admire its vast collection of gems and fossils.

Take part in a fun scavenger hunt at the miniature village of Cockington Green Gardens while admiring the immaculately maintained seasonal gardens home to hand-built structures from your seat on their steam train.

Feed the birds from your hand or from the top of your head at the walk-in bird aviary and see reptiles up close at the Canberra Reptile Zoo. Get a Gold Creek Adventure Pass for discounted admission to all four attractions.

TONS OF INDOOR FUN

Too hot, too cold, too humid? No problem. In Canberra, you are spoiled for choice.

Take your little wizards to the Harry Potter-themed Quizzic Alley shop and join a potion-making class. Ski all year round at Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports, the perfect place to try skiing or practice before your visit to the snowfields.

Nearby, scale rocks and walls at BlocHaus or challenge your friends to an electric go-kart race, a round of phosphorescent mini-golf or ice-skating on a synthetic surface at Powerkart Raceway.

And of course, attractions like the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House offer family activity spaces like PlayUP, where your kids can have fun while learning about democracy in action.

TRAIN RIDE AND MINI GOLF AT WESTON PARK

Canberra’s Weston Park, along the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin, near the southern suburb of Yarralumla, is home to the Yarralumla Play Station.

Toddlers will love the miniature train ride while school-age children will be entertained with a 36-hole Canberra-themed miniature golf course. Want to play Parliament? You can here.

There is also a farm with animals such as miniature ponies, lambs, sheep, pigs, alpacas, chickens and more. Grab a bite to eat at the cafe, then let the kids roam around in the adjacent play area.

Our insider tip: grab arguably the best kebab in Canberra at Yarralumla Turkish Halal Pide House or fish ‘n chips at Snapper by the Lake.

SPOT A CUDDLY KOALA AT TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVE

There are plenty of trails to choose from in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, a 40-minute drive from the town center, with a different experience at the end of each.

The 700m long Koala Path will take you past eucalyptus trees that are home to the cozy animals, the Camels Hump Trail offers stunning views of Canberra and the surrounding area, while the Sanctuary Loop offers plenty of opportunities for spotting platypus.

Join a guided tour of Dhawura to learn about Aboriginal history, connection to the land, bush foods and enjoy more than just a wilderness walk. Oh and did we mention the children’s play area and the veterinary centre?

ALPINE ADVENTURES CLOSE TO TOWN

Go on an alpine adventure just 45 minutes from downtown. All year round you can enjoy the alpine toboggan run down the 1.2km metal toboggan that takes you through the beautiful Mountain Ash forest of the Gibraltar Valley.

In winter, you don’t have to travel to NSW ski areas to hit the slopes. Corin Forest offers easy beginner slopes designed to show children the ropes of snow, from sledding to the basics of snowboarding. For those not ready to tackle the downhills, there are plenty of spaces to build snowmen or start an epic snowball fight.

Head to the lodge and find more than an open fire. With a cozy cafe tucked away inside this alpine retreat, you can roast marshmallows, feast on wood-fired pizzas, and enjoy hot chocolate in the face of the snow.

ADVENTURES ON TWO WHEELS

Locals affectionately have another name for the ACT – Australia’s Cycling Territory. Bike paths abound, connecting the suburbs and green spaces to the city’s sights.

Bring your bike on a tour or rent one or go on a bike tour. For mountain biking families, there are plenty of places to choose from – from Majura Pines to Stromlo Forest Park – each with pump tracks and more.

Weekend cyclists can hire a bike with helmet from the Canberra Area Visitor Center for a leisurely ride around the lake. Teens (12+) can join a guided Segway tour and rent a scooter from Beam or Neuron if they’re 16 (or 12+ if accompanied by a parent or guardian legal) to see the sites.

EARNING MONEY

Australia’s birthplace of mint can make up to two million coins a day using two robots, Robbie and Titan, and three automated guided vehicles called Penny, Pency and Florin.

Children can watch the robots at work from the Royal Australian Mint viewing platform. They can even make a commemorative $1 coin.

The Mint has more than contemporary coins. Head to the gift shop to see collectibles, centennial coins, and the ultimate tooth fairy kit.

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