Typically seen as the domain of Australia’s top politicians, Canberra and its suburbs also play host to a wide variety of child friendly attractions. Whether you’re heading to the nation’s capital for school holidays, a weekend away with the family or a day trip, you’re sure to find plenty of great things to do in Canberra with your little ones.
Check out our picks of the top 10 fun things to do in Canberra with kids:
Opened in 1988, Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre is the perfect place to open the minds of your children to the world of science. Aiming to promote a greater understanding of science and technology, the centre plays host to a great selection of interactive exhibits and captivating shows that are sure to keep the whole family entertained. From animals and dinosaurs through to the human body and outer space, the centre introduces a wide variety of intriguing topics.
Although the topic of war is generally considered to not be particularly child friendly, the Australian War Memorial offers a gentle introduction to Australia’s military history through the Discovery Zone, a child friendly space. The Discovery Zone is divided into 5 areas, with each representing an area of Australia’s modern military history, from World War One through to more recent peacekeeping missions. Each area of the Discovery Zone offers plenty of opportunities for your little ones to climb, touch and explore.
First opened in 1979, Cockington Green Gardens have developed into a true Canberra icon, sparking the imaginations of children for over 35 years. Wander through the garden’s manicured surrounds to discover a collection of handmade miniature buildings inspired by real English homes, business and structures, take a ride through the grounds aboard a miniature steam train or spot displays from across the world sponsored by High Commissions and Embassies in Canberra.
Home to 23 complete skeletons and over 300 individual fossils, the National Dinosaur Museum takes the title of the largest permanent display of dinosaurs and prehistoric fossil material in Australia. Perfect for little scientists and dinosaur lovers of all ages, the museum offers an interesting window into earth’s past, allowing visitors to come face to face with creatures that lived thousands, and even millions, of years ago.
Boasting an exciting school holiday program and a number of child friendly spaces, The National Museum of Australia is a great place to explore with the kids, regardless of what time of year it may be. From exhibitions focused on Indigenous heritage and world history through to cultural celebrations and showcases of popular culture, there’s never a shortage of things to see and do across the museum.
Another great destination for budding young scientists, the CSIRO Discovery Centre puts children in touch with the history of the CSIRO and science in Australia. Through self guided exhibitions and interactive displays, kids are able to encounter everything from medical advances and new technology through to the latest food and nutrition developments.
With a collection of around 74,000 individual specimens from over 6,200 different species, it comes as no surprise that the Australian National Botanic Gardens plays host to the world’s most comprehensive display of living Australian native plants. Providing the perfect opportunity to stretch the legs of your little ones and enjoy some time amongst nature, the gardens are home to scenic walks, such as the Children’s Discovery Walk, a number of great events and more than its fair share of picturesque picnic spots.
Just five minutes from the centre of Canberra, the National Zoo and Aquarium offers the opportunity to come face to face with a wide array of native and exotic animals, from the furry and fluffy through to the scaly and slimy. Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium, the wildlife park runs informative guided tours and provides children over the age of 12 with the chance to hand feed lions, tigers and other wild animals at an extra cost.
Covering 250 hectares, the National Arboretum Canberra is home to 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from across the country and the world. Comprised of over 44,000 trees from more than 100 countries, there’s no shortage of stunning scenery, with a number of walking trails winding their way through the grounds. Young ones of all ages will love the botanic inspired Pod Playground which is home to giant acorn cubbies, nest swings and great views.
Offering a window into Australia’s transport history, the Canberra Railway Museum boasts an impressive collection of historic locomotives, carriages and railway memorabilia. Whether you’re kids are mad about trains, or you’re simply looking for something to that’s a little out of the ordinary, the museum presents a great opportunity to discover how railway travel has developed throughout the past few hundred years. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to keep an eye out for Australia’s oldest and heaviest steam locomotives.