Best weekend ever

Your guide to the ultimate kids’ weekend in Canberra

From high-adrenaline fun and interactive experiences to outdoor adventures and creative outlets, Canberra is a fantastic place for kids.

The National Capital has plenty of cool attractions for big and little people alike, with all the major institutions and numerous other venues offering activities tailored for families.

It’s little wonder Lonely Planet named Canberra among Australia’s top 10 family-friendly destinations, describing it as ‘a really good city for kids, with easy parking, myriad picnic spots and plenty of space to run around’.

A weekend in the capital will give you a taste of what’s on offer but with so much choice for families it can be tough to know where to start. So consider this your starting point to creating the ultimate kids’ weekend in Canberra…

Cockington Green Gardens

Gold Creek

Explore the world in miniature at Cockington Green Gardens, 15 minutes’ drive from Canberra’s centre. See highly detailed miniature buildings and magical landscaped gardens with figurines, sound and movement bringing these scenes to life. Take a ride on a miniature steam train, enjoy a picnic in the grounds and marvel at detailed replicas of buildings such as Braemar Castle in Scotland, St Andrew’s Church in Ukraine and Château de Réduit in Mauritius.

 

National Dinosaur Museum

Gold Creek

From the moment you step gingerly through the mouth of a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex, you’ll be swept up in a prehistoric adventure where dinosaurs roam free. But these are well-behaved dinos, very happy to be petted and peered at while you discover how dinosaurs evolved and interacted. From fossils and skeletons, to lifelike models and moving robotic dinosaurs, the museum’s exhibits trace Earth’s dynamic geological history. Don’t miss the guided tours – they’re heaps of fun and you’ll learn a lot, no matter how old you are!

 

Australian Institute of Sport

Bruce

For a truly inspiring experience, you can’t go past the Australian Institute of Sport campus, the country’s premier elite sports precinct and the training, testing and research location of choice for many teams and athletes. Get an insight into what goes into making a champion athlete on a behind-the-scenes tour, which includes Sportex, an educational and engaging sports experience where you can try wheelchair basketball, rock climbing and football penalty shoot-outs.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

Parkes

Don’t think science can be fun? You’ll change your mind at Questacon, where it’s tempting to spend a whole day exploring the 200-plus interactive exhibits that line the building’s spiral ramp. At Questacon you can freefall on a six-metre-high slide, experience a simulated earthquake or challenge a robot to a game of air hockey. And no-one is ever too young to start learning – Mini Q stimulates budding scientists aged 0–6 years in zones that engage them in everything from water play to role play and even quiet time.

 

Yarralumla Play Station

Yarralumla

Entertaining families since 1973, Yarralumla Play Station is the home of Weston Park Railway, Petite Park Petting Zoo and Lake Walter Mini Golf. The 36-hole Canberra-themed minigolf courses include a 25 metre-wide Lake Burley Griffin model and adaptations of other Canberra landmarks, such as the Parliamentary Triangle with Commonwealth Avenue and Kings Avenue bridges.

 

National Museum of Australia

Acton Peninsula

At the National Museum of Australia children aged 5–12 years can take part in Kspace, an interactive adventure game. You start in the Design Station where you use touch screens to create a time-travelling robot. Then you enter a Time Pod where you’re blasted back to a mystery location, such as the Victorian goldfields of 1854 or Sydney in the 1930s when the Harbour Bridge was being built. You then use your robots to explore the location and collect points before teaming up with others as one big robot to complete a mission unique to that time and place. Children will also love the Museum Trailblazer, a 40-minute self-guided tour of the galleries that’s designed just for kids as a fun way to explore the museum’s collections.

National Zoo & Aquarium, Yarralumla

Visiting the National Zoo & Aquarium is an opportunity for your family to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures. With a wide variety of native and exotic animals and the largest inland saltwater tank in Australia, there’s something for everyone. The Family Tour takes you behind the scenes to feed sun bears and fallow deer and meet monkeys, dingoes, kangaroos and emus.

 

Royal Australian Mint, Deakin

One of Canberra’s gems, the Royal Australian Mint is where every coin in the pockets of millions of Aussies is made. Check out the coin production factory and the Mint’s robots that help with the heavy lifting. Discover the National Coin Collection, where two holey dollars are among the rare, valuable and historically significant coins on display. Mint your own $1 coin and browse the Mint Coin Shop for great gifts, collectables and mementos made at the Mint. Join a free guided tour at 10am and 2pm weekdays.

 

National Library of Australia, Parkes

See the beautiful, the rare and the unexpected at the National Library of Australia, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Enjoy unparalleled access to Australia’s documentary heritage. Australian materials include books, serials, maps, newspapers, music and ephemera. Plus, your kids can become a library detective – the ‘Find it!’ trail leads children and families through the library’s artworks and reading rooms, just collect your free copy at reception.

Find all the information you need to plan your trip at www.visitcanberra.com.au

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