If you’re looking for something to do with the kids these school holidays, we’ve put together a list of free and low-cost local attractions and events.
The Australian War Memorial is a must-see local attraction, with interactive exhibits, free tours and an amazing discovery zone for kids.
Located at Tidbinbilla (about 35kms southwest of Canberra), the Canberra Space Centre features exhibits on the past, present and future of space exploration. You can see a piece of the Moon that’s over 3.8 billion years old, check out the latest images from across the Solar System and beyond and so much more!
Mt Stromlo Observatory Visitor Centre offers something for everyone, with science exhibits, a kid’s zone and information about Mount Stromlo’s rich history of tragedies and triumphs.
Experience one of the world’s largest living collections of rare, endangered and significant trees. The Arboretum has numerous trails, free guided tours, a pod playground your kids will love and spectacular views of our beautiful city.
With a range of walking trails, interesting plants and animals and educational activities, the Gardens offer everything for a perfect family day out. Entry to the Gardens is free however parking on-site costs $3.40 per hour or $14.00 per day.
The National Film and Sound Archive is Australia’s ‘living’ archive – the custodian of over 2.8 million items preserved for future generations and shared in many diverse ways.
The National Museum of Australia explores the land, nation and people of Australia. Focusing on Indigenous histories and cultures, European settlement and our interaction with the environment, the National Museum brings to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through compelling objects, ideas and events.
Open every Sunday, the Markets are a fun spot to head with the family, sourcing local fine hand crafted wares, clothing, food and jewellery. There’s even face painting for the kids.
You can watch Question Time, see bills being debated, and sit in on committee inquiries as current issues are explored in detail. You’ll also find some of Australia’s finest historical treasures and contemporary art on display throughout the building.
Visit the Royal Australian Mint, where every Australian coin is made. The Mint conducts free public tours seven days a week, which run for approximately 30 minutes. You can even mint a legal commemorative $1 coin (cost of $3 per coin).
Canberra Glassworks provides opportunities for visitors to interact with and learn about glass making. Visitors can meet artists, see glassmaking as it happens, view exhibitions, take tours and have a hands-on experience working with glass.
Venture into the delightful and fascinating display of meticulously crafted miniature buildings at Cockington Green, located in Gold Creek Village. Kids will love this enchanting world of tiny people and tiny structures, and the miniature steam train ride is fun for everyone.
Cost: Between $11.50 and $19.50 (free for children under 4 years old)
Corin Forest, located in the Tidbinbilla Mountain Ranges, is a year-round alpine adventure, surrounded by tall forests in a secluded mountain valley. During winter, Corin Forest provides Canberra’s only snow experience.
Cost: Between $18 and $30
Visitors to the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House can experience an atmosphere steeped in history, revisit dramatic events and enjoy the 1920s architecture and fine design. The museum offers an exciting program of exhibitions and engaging activities.
Cost: Adults $2, children $1 (free for children under 5 years old) family options available
There’s so much to see and do at Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. Free-fall down a six-metre slide, freeze your own shadow, experience an earthquake or challenge a robot to a game of air hockey. Little scientists will enjoy Mini Q as they play, discover and learn in an exhibition specifically designed for 0–6 year olds.
Cost: Between $17.50 and $23 (free for children under 4 years old) family options available
Dinosaur fans of all ages will love the National Dinosaur Museum, located in Canberra’s Gold Creek Village. With one of the largest permanent displays of dinosaurs and prehistoric life in Australia, you’ll discover how dinosaurs evolved and interacted amid skulls, skeletons, murals, models and fossils not on display anywhere else in the world. There are even robotic dinosaurs that move, roar, blink and breathe!
Cost: Between $10.50 and $16 (free for children under 4 years old) family options available
See koalas, kangaroos, possums, reptiles and more in the natural setting of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, just 40 minutes’ drive from Canberra. Enjoy a scenic drive, take a hike on one of the walking tracks, or join in a ranger guided walk or activity. The kids will love the Nature Discovery Playground, and you’ll love the idyllic picnic spots and fresh open air.
Cost: Between $5 and $12
Explore Questacon after dark and enjoy tasty food, stargazing, winter crafts and science shows. Immerse yourself in the ultimate winter activity these July school holidays with Mid-Winter Nights @ Questacon!
When: From Wednesday, 11 July to Saturday, 14 July between 5.30pm to 9pm
Cost: Between $10 and $15 (free for children under 4 years old) family options available
The Lifeline Southside Bookfair held in Tuggeranong has thousands of pre-loved books, DVDs, CDs, comics, magazines and more at prices starting at $1.
When: From Friday, 13 July to Sunday, 15 July (opening hours vary each day)
Cost: Entry by gold coin donation
See the rings of Saturn, the craters of the moon as well as beautiful star clusters and nebulae. Attendees will be taken on a ‘tour of the universe’ with talks by astronomers from Mt. Stromlo Observatory and observations on several telescopes.
When: Friday nights – 13 July, 17 August and 14 September from 7pm to 9pm
Cost: Entry by gold coin donation (bookings essential)
Woden Seniors’ well known and much loved Big Book Fair will be even bigger than last year with a huge range of good quality fiction, non- fiction, sci-fi, children’s books, recent magazines, puzzles, postcards, DVDs, CDs and games.
When: Friday, 10 August to Sunday, 12 August from 10am to 4pm
Cost: Entry by gold coin donation