17 Cost Effective Holiday Activities for Canberra Kids

Posted in Community January 6th 2021

With the school holidays in full swing, and still a few weeks to go before the kids go back to school, you may quickly be running out of activities to partake in. Things can be particularly tense if your recent travel plans have been overthrown by new COVID restrictions and you’re now clutching at straws to keep them entertained.

As Canberra specialists – and parents of our own rugrats – we’ve gathered our minds to put together this list of fun and, most importantly, cost-effective activities to do in Canberra these school holidays. The best part? They’re all under $20.

Have a ton of indoor fun at Kingpin Canberra

Let us warn you now, this place goes BANANAS, but we promise the kids will absolutely love it, and so will you. There are so many activities to enjoy as a family including bowling, virtual reality, escape rooms, laser tag, table tennis and arcade games, as well as a bar and kitchen. You’re in for hours of fun here. Single game tickets start from $15.50.

Take a relaxing trip to the Cotter

Pack a picnic lunch, a few snags, some swimmers and a footy or a cricket ball and bat and venture out for a summer’s day of fun to the Cotter River Recreation Area. There are plenty of public barbecues and picnic tables to use, an enormous outdoor playground and endless grassed areas for the kids to run around. We recommend topping off the day with a dip in the river.

Enjoy some golfing fun at Yarralumla Play Station

The Yarralumla Play Station is THE destination for kids’ fun in miniature form. Complete with a mini farm, mini train rides and a Canberra themed mini golf course, there’s an activity for every age group. Plus, the on-site cafe serves up some delicious coffee and treats. Tickets are $15 and under. 

Head out for a classic Questacon adventure

It’s Canberra’s source of educational fun! And to be honest, we love it as much as the kids (Free Fall slide anyone?). Visit up to five galleries and learn about science in exciting ways and be sure to check out their newest exhibit, Mars. Don’t forget to Complete your visit with a Spectacular Science Show. Children tickets are $18.90 and bookings are essential.

Scoot around town

By now you would have seen the new orange and purple scooters whipping around the city centre and surrounds. Now it’s your turn to take them for a spin! Kids under the age of 12 can use them so long as they’re supervised by an adult. So head on down to Lake Burley Griffin where the scooters are programmed to go a little slower than normal, strap on a helmet and experience the sights of Canberra!

Splish and splash at Canberra’s Aqua Park

Now this is an activity totally unexpected for our inland city, but one we can definitely get on board with. Complete with slides, ladders and a giant jumping pillow the water adventure park is located at Black Mountain Peninsula on Lake Burley Griffin. It is sure for a few laughs for you and will certainly wear the kids out! Tickets start from $20. 

Get closer to nature at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

If you’re a family who loves to get active outdoors, you can’t beat a trip to Tidbinbilla. There are numerous walking trails to explore and the chance to spot native animals like koalas, platypus’ and emus along the way. You can really test your family’s directional and problem solving skills by taking on an orienteering course.

Go crazy at the Pod Playground

The National Arboretum isn’t just a beautiful spot for a picturesque bike ride or stroll, it’s also home to one of Canberra’s coolest playgrounds. Kids venture into the pods to hide in acorn cubbies, climb through nets, make music and slip down slides. All the while the adults can watch on with a hot coffee in hand from the nearby cafe.

Talk a walk on the wild side at the Dinosaur Museum

This place is seriously cool and really popular amongst the young ones. Discovering 23 complete skeletons and around 300 displays of individual fossils, it’s any dino lover’s dream. And if they’re not really into dinosaurs before you visit, they will be by the time you leave. Kids tickets are $11 and adults are $18. Bookings essential. 

Cool off at Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre

It’s true what they say…this place is two kinds of cool with an ice rink and pool – not to mention it’s Canberra’s only indoor ice skating rink. The rink is open for daily sessions and maintain a very comfortable fridge-like temperature throughout summer. The pool is also on hand for fun in the sun, including a toddler’s pool for the little ones. Entry to the pool starts from $5 and the rink from $20. 

Take a train ride through Cockington Green

This enchanting place is made up of the most magical handcrafted miniature building. Complete with beautiful gardens, a giant doll house and a garden cafe, it’s like entering a story book and it provides hours of exploration. Tickets start from $12.50. 

Movie under the stars at The Sunset Cinemas

Situated in the magical Botanical Gardens the outdoor cinemas are back up and running from December 10 to February 14. With movies to entertain the whole family, fresh popcorn and snacks as well as a nightly food truck (and licensed bar for the adults) on site, it’s the perfect family night out. Tickets are $14 for kids and $20 for adults.

Say bye bye (or hello) birdy at the Canberra Walk-in Aviary

1000 square metres of lush, privately owned gardens containing friendly free-flying birds to be observed, photographed and fed. There are 60 bird species to be discovered and over 500 birds in total. Kids tickets are $10 and adults are $15. 

Climb indoor rock walls at Blochaus Bouldering Canberra.

Watch your little one become a bouldering pro, with different climbing walls and activities to enjoy. You’ll be surprised at just how capable your little ones are too! Some walls are perfect for kids, while others are set up for adults. But don’t worry, a cafe is also on hand for those who just want to watch on. Open 7 days for kids and parents of all ages. Children climbs start from $16 and adults from $20. 

Explore Kidzplore Indoor Play Centre

Perfect for a rainy day, or when the kids need to burn off some extra energy. Kidzplore in Fyshwick has all the best activities to keep the kids entertained whilst you sit back and relax. Think giant ball pit, playground castles, slides and so much more. Tickets are $15. 

Slither through Canberra Reptile Zoo.

From snakes, to lizards and turtles, a visit to this zoo will include viewing over 50 different species of reptiles and frogs. You might even get a chance to hold these critters…if you dare. Kids tickets are $11 and adults are $18. Tickets available online. 

Get educational at the The Museum of Australian Democracy

Join in on their PlayUp program for an imaginative space with hands-on activities for children! Kids will explore the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child in a fun and playful way. With free daily sessions, it is an exciting experience for both child and parent.