10 ways to spend the school holidays in the Canberra

Posted 7 Apr 2017

Story by Visit Canberra

Do your kids tend to go a little stir crazy over the holidays? Want to make sure they make the most of their time away from school while also mixing in a bit of fun? A short break to Canberra is exactly what you need.

Make your way around Canberra’s national attractions for intellectually-stimulating and boredom-busting activities during the autumn school holidays (8 April-25 April).

Australian War Memorial

With the April school holidays backing onto Anzac Day (25 April), the Australian War Memorial is a must-visit in Canberra. Experience life as servicemen and women do in Hands-on history (11am, Monday – Thursday during school holidays), where kids can try on uniforms, handle artefacts and discover incredible tales of Australians in wartime.

After being inspired by one of the Hall of Memory, your kids have the opportunity to make their own miniature version to take home as part of the Memorials and mosaics holiday workshop (10.30am to 12.30pm, Wednesday 12 April).

For crafty kids, time your visit at the Memorial to coincide with a drop-in craft session (11.30am-1pm, Thursday 13 April, Thursday 20 April and Friday 21 April). Children will be able to make free souvenirs to take home them, including poppies inspired by those they can see along the Roll of Honour.

Grown ups don’t miss these 10 experience s at the Australian War Memorial

Questacon – The National Science and Technology

Above and Beyond has taken off at Questacon with a bang. Be among the first to experience this exhibition that explores all things involved in flight, presented by Boeing in collaboration with NASA. Children will have the chance to design and test-fly a supersonic jet, pilot a drone into the eye of a hurricane or experience flight as a bird.

Send your 10-15 year old budding designers, makers, engineers and inventors to the Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre for a series of hands-on workshops (10-12 April). They’ll learn how to make an app, create a computer game, design and build a crash test vehicle and more!

National Arboretum Canberra

If your kids can usually be found fossicking out in the garden or exploring the backyard, then a trip to the National Arboretum Canberra is a must. For your littlest school-goers, book in for a Mushrooms and Minibeasts Family Walk (18-21 April). This walk around the Himalayan cedar forest will give your kids a chance to get up close to small animals and become familiar with fungi before enjoying a craft activity.

Kids aged eight and up can learn the basics involved in potting, styling and caring for a bonsai in a Make your own Bonsai workshop (10-13 April). In this hands-on workshop, participants will get to take own their own National Bonsai and Penjing Collection-inspired bonsai.

While you’re there, don’t forget to hit up the Pod Playground – the acorn cubbies will  keep your squirrely squirts entertained for hours.

Book your Arboretum workshops and walks now

National zoo and Aquarium

Is your little one a wild one? Primary school aged children can become zoo-keepers for a day as part of the National Zoo and Aquarium’s Zoocation program. Running between 10-13 April and 18-21 April,  participants spend a day (9am to 3.30pm) helping out around the zoo, playing games, making toys for the animals and learning about conservation as they’re guided by education guides in this unique program.

Book your child’s zoocation now

Australian Institute of Sport

Keep the kids off the couch with the AIS’ school holiday camps and programs. Whether they’re complete beginners who want to be exposed to a variety of sports ranging from volleyball to oztag in the Sports Vacation Program, or want to develop their skills in tennis, soccer or AFL at a Training Camp, the AIS will keep your kids active this school holidays.

Learn more about what holiday programs the AIS offers

National film and sound archives

See BFG, Mary Poppins, Coraline and more of your favourite characters come to life! Watch as your children’s beloved books become magical movies as the National Film and Sound Archives share exciting works that show Book Heroes on the Screen.

Check out the NFSA’s school holiday program here.

National Museum of Australia

If your child dreams of having their artwork exhibited in a museum, now’s your chance to make that dream a reality.  The National Museum of Australia will be running Discovery Space: The nature collector twice daily from 10-13 April and 18-21 April. Children will be inspired by their short guided tour of some of the Museum’s exclusive nature collections to experiment and create their own nature journals to take home, before contributing to artist-in-residence Julie Ryder’s large collaborative artwork.

Afterwards, they can learn, play and relax in the Museum’s free self-guided Play space – an area inspired by their exhibitions.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

See Australian wildlife in the beautiful natural environment of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Learn from the expert rangers on a guided walk, try and spot a koala resting in the Eucalypt Forest Koala Enclosure, or complete outdoor activities with prompts from Nature Play’s Passport to an Amazing Childhood.

Learn more about Tidbinbilla nature reserve by getting in touch with the Canberra and region visitors centre.

National Gallery of Australia

Make the most of the final opportunity to experience Versailles: Treasures of the Palace (closing 17 April) before the kids hear Tales from the Palace in the free NGA Play space.

Unleash your child’s creativity (and enjoy some quiet time) during one of the Creative meditation for children sessions on the 11 April.

And for the super sleuth in your family, send your kids aged seven and up to ASI: Art Scene Investigation – All that glitters is not gold, where’s they’ll investigate the permanent collection for clues to solve a mystery on 18 April.

View the NGA’s family events calendar here.

National Dinosaur Museum

Have you got a dinosaur expert on your hands? Head to the National Dinosaur Museum to have all their questions answered. Tours run at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm and are free as part of the admission fee.


Come and experience a taste of Canberra’s favourite attractions at the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre Open Day on Saturday 8 April, 2017.

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