Canberra is not just for the public servants, it can be fun for kids too!
A city by design, Canberra sits on the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin. With wide boulevards, stunning gardens, Canberra lends itself to a great long weekend or parents paradise in school holidays. With everything to see and do within about 15 minutes of the city centre, and with only a small peak hour traffic to contend with, you will be on your way to all of Canberra’s attractions in no time!
Here are our Top 5 things to do in Canberra with kids:
Also known as The National Science and Technology Centre, is where your inner Scientist can come out! For our Little Explorers (under 6), there is the interactive Mini Q where they can learn about their world from water play to space. At Questacon you star in your own science show; fall down a 6 metre slide or challenge a robot in Air Hockey at Excite@Q; and learn how amazing the world is at Awesome Earth.
Questacon – King Edward Terrace, Canberra ACT 2600
Open daily 9am – 5pm (closed Christmas Day), Adults $23, Concession/Child (4 – 16) $17.50, Child under 4 Free
Sunday Picnics at Lake Burley Griffin
Start your morning at the The Old Bus Depot Markets meeting and talking to local food producers. Here you collect some tasty local treats for your picnic, including farmhouse cheese, pastries, jam/preserves and wine. The Old Bus Depot Markets are a Canberra institution, where you can pick up local art, handcrafted jewellery and kids fashion.
On a typical Canberra sunny day, grab your picnic rug, produce from the market and head down to Lake Burley Griffin. A short drive from the market, is Boundless at Kings Park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Built to recognise the centenary of Canberra, Little Explorers will love this playground designed for all ages and abilities. Nearby are plenty of shady spots for a picnic with lake views, BBQs and amenities.
Old Bus Depot Markets – 21 Wentworth Ave, Kingston ACT2604
Every Sunday 10am – 4pm, Entry Free
Boundless at Kings Park
Open daily 8am – 8pm, Entry Free
National Museum of Australia
Learn about our history at National Museum of Australia from our first Holden, pioneers during the goldrush and famous Australians. The museum has a permanent collection broken into galleries, and a temporary exhibits currently featuring Happy Birthday Play School.
For Little Explorers, there is an interactive adventure game called Kspace. Here they can build their own time travelling robot and go back through Australia’s history. Kspace offers an app that continues the adventures through the rest of the museum using augmented reality (AR) bringing the Kspace characters life! You can download the App from App Store or Google Play prior coming along, or when you get to the museum with their free WiFi.
National Museum of Australia – Lawson Crescent, Action Peninsula.
Open daily (closed Christmas Day) 9am – 5pm, Entry Free
Democracy in Action!
Both Parliament House and Old Parliament House (known as the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House) invites visitors, including Little Explorers, to understand how Australia’s democracy works. Parliament House on Capital Hill provides insights into how the parliamentary process functions, amazing artwork and stunning views across Canberra from it’s rooftop.
You can tour both the Senate and the House of Representatives (non-sitting days), see the Magna Carta or simply admire the impressive architecture. Free tours offered throughout the day, and the guide that led our tour, ensured she included the Little Explorers!
The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, a short stroll away, gives glimpses into yesteryear Australia. See the famous stairs where Gough Whitlam spoke to the media after the dismissal, roam the corridors to the Prime Ministers Office or see replica Crown Jewels. The museum will appeal to all ages and now has a fantastic space for kids called PLAY UP
PLAY UP provides a hands on experience for Little Explorers as they can dress up; imagine and immerse themselves in a family friendly environment. PLAY UP has quickly become one of the highlights of the Museum, and we loved having a safe space for our daughter to explore and play. The exhibit aims to help children understand their role in communities.
Both Houses of Parliament offer great family amenities, cafes and free WiFi.
Parliament House of Australia – Parliament Drive, Canberra ACT 2600
Open daily (except Christmas Day) 9am – 5pm (non-sitting days), Entry $2 Adults, $1 kids
Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House – 18 King George Tce, Parkes ACT 2600
Open daily (except Christmas Day) 9am – 5pm, Entry Gold Coin Donation
No trip to Canberra would be complete without visiting Cockington Green Gardens. We were thrilled to be able to visits recently, something I’d wanted to do since I was little.
Cockington Green is set in beautiful landscape gardens, with a miniature world waiting to be explored. Originally an English Village, the display now includes a section devoted to Canberra’s role as our capital with many countries represented in miniature. There are free onsite BBQs and picnic area, with small playground available for families.
Cockington Green will delight everyone on a sunny afternoon – it’s just past the National Dinosaur Museum.
Cockington Green Gardens – Gold Creek Road, Nicholls ACT 2913
Open daily , Entry $19.50 Adults, $14.50 Seniors, $11.50 Kids (4 – 16 years), Free ( <4 years)
Getting to Canberra:
Canberra is an easy 7 hours drive north from Melbourne, or around 3 hours south of Sydney. Canberra is well served by frequent flights from other capital cities, and 3 daily NSW TrainLink services from Sydney.
Need to know more:
Check out: Visit Canberra