There’s no such thing as being bored with these top things to see and do in Canberra
Anyone with kids will know that it’s all about compromise. Even though, given the choice, kids’ interests may not necessarily be yours, if they’re happy, then you can’t help but be happy yourself. So, how can we keep the kids entertained and interested and still enjoy it ourselves? Do you live in fear of those dreary words, “I’m bored”?
But, bored in Canberra? Never.
Feeding a tiger, minting a $1 coin, dressing up in wartime costumes and looking at a 3.8 billion year old moon rock, are some of the fun activities that will keep kids occupied during a visit to the National Capital. Most of the major attractions have activities designed especially for kids, and the good news is that many of them are free.
Where to spend a day in Canberra
The real decision you have to make is how much time you have for each attraction or activity. You can easily spend a whole day at the National Museum, because while the kids explore all the interactive treats, there’s plenty to hold your interest. You can also spend a whole day at Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre, just trying to move the kids on from one activity to the next. With over 200 interactive exhibits, there’s a lot to capture the teenagers as well as the littler ones. It may be advisable not to schedule anything else on those days, except maybe some quieter moments by the lake afterwards.
Your best itinerary may be a combination of indoor and outdoor activities each day or on alternative days. Everyone likes variety and kids even more so, but be prepared for requests to go back to their favourite attractions because sometimes kids just can’t get enough of what Canberra has to offer.
Indoors or outside
Indoors you have the National Museum and Questacon, or you can amuse them with dress-ups at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, the War Memorial or the National Gallery. Across the lake visit the CSIRO Discovery Centre, the Telstra Tower and the Australian Institute of Sport. You may not be rich but you can be enriched by a trip to the Royal Australian Mint and slightly further afield there’s the Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla and the National Dinosaur Museum at Gold Creek.
Outdoors you can have great fun on the Merry-go-round in Civic or enjoy the fabulous Lake Burley Griffin with parks, playgrounds and recreational activities all around its 22kms of shoreline. For everything in miniature get along to Cockington Green, but for animals, bush walking and outdoor pursuits there’s the National Zoo and Aquarium, the National Botanic Gardens, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Namadgi National Park and Corin Forest.
Your choice or mix of indoor and outdoor activities may also depend on what time of year you happen to be in Canberra, a choice between swimming or tobogganing, kicking through the colourful leaves or feeding the swans and ducks. Whatever the season, Canberra is kid town.
Driving and dining with kids
If you have a car, getting around in Canberra with kids is easy and stress free. There are no traffic jams and the main attractions are not far away, wherever you stay. One thing to remember is that if you are there during school term times then you’ll probably encounter school tour groups at the major attractions. Also bear in mind that school terms in the ACT differ slightly from other states.
You also need to know where to take the kids to eat without filling up on junk food. Canberra has some excellent options in the main dining precincts and in the suburbs as well as all the picnic and barbecue facilities around the lake. There are lots of options in dining out for kids in Canberra.
More Canberra itineraries
Canberra’s Family Dining Scene … Top choices for hungry appetites
Canberra’s Indoor Family Activities … Young imaginations run free
Canberra’s Outdoor Family Adventures … Recreational paradise for big and little kids alike
Canberra Feast of Festivals … Join the year-round fun
Canberra for Culture Vultures … Home to Australia’s main museums and galleries
Canberra’s Art, Design and Craft … Watch artists in action
The Australian Story in Canberra … A city that reflects the national journey