The Best Things To Do In Canberra ACT Australia With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Australia’s capital city is pretty much a playground for kids to engage in art, history and nature. You won’t be short on ways to spend a fun (and educational!) few days in the nation’s capital city – there are so many things to do in Canberra with kids.

National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) is the national art museum of Australia and is home to than 166,000 works of art, including over 7500 works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We particularly enjoyed the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works including a lovely Waterlillies by Claude Monet and one of Degas’ exquisite sculptures of a dancer, and the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

Outside, in the grounds surrounding the NGA, are 26 sculptures on display by both Australian and International artists. It’s an extremely pleasurable experience to walk through the bush discovering these incredible works of art, and also a very easy way to introduce kids to art if you’re a bit nervous of taking them inside a gallery with their sticky hands.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

The NGA has the dedicated NGAPLAY section for children to engage in the arts. Check their website closer to your visit to see what they are currently offering. In my opinion, a visit to the NGA is top of the list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting the National Gallery of Australia here.

National Gallery Australia
Parkes Pl E, Parkes
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: Free
nga.gov.au
Parking: Free underneath the gallery on weekends.

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Learn about the nation’s social history, including the issues, people and events that have shaped the way we are today. The museum’s National Historical Collection features more than 21,000 objects that represent Australia’s historical and cultural heritage.

Kids will love the 3x10m cast of the Australian dinosaur Muttaburrasaurus in the Main Hall and the award-winning Kspace robotics adventures game.

Get more info on visiting the National Museum of Australia here

National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent

Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: Free
Parking: 8.30am to 5pm weekdays, $2.90 per hour or $14 per day. Short-stay machines accept Visa, MasterCard and coins.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

A 40-minutes drives from the CBD, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is home to koalas, kangaroos, possums, reptiles, echidnas, platypus and more. After spotting all the animals and enjoying the easy walking trails, take kids to the excellent Nature Discovery Playground to burn off steam and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Get more info on visiting Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve here

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Paddy’s River Road, Paddys River ACT
Hours: Visitors Centre daily 9am-5pm. reserve gates daily, winter 7:30am-6pm, summer 7:30am-8pm.
Prices
: A day pass is $13 for a vehicle with seats for up to 8 people.
Parking: Free

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Blast off into space at the Canberra Space Centre. The centre is home to the largest steerable antenna in the Southern hemisphere, with their visitors centre presenting exhibits on the past, present and future of space exploration. There are several hands-on exhibits to be enjoyed, plus a fenced playground next to the excellent Moon Rock Cafe. 

Get more info on visiting the Canberra Deep Space Centre here

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
421 Discovery Dr,
Paddys River ACT 
Hours: Visitor Centre daily, 9am-5pm, Moon Rock Café daily 9:30am-4pm.
Prices: Free
Parking: Free 

Questacon National Science and Technology Centre

Questacon, Canberra, Australia
Questacon has been THE place to take kids to learn about science since I was a kid myself and it’s amazing how over the years it’s changed but kept the same wonderful focus on engaging kids in science and technology.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Questacon is filled with more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology. There’s plenty of hands-on fun to be had, from robots to slides, simulated earthquakes and science experiments. If you have a kid who loves science, put Questacon top of your list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting Questacon here.

Questacon
King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm including holidays. Closed 25 December.
questacon.edu.au

Parliament House

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. The building was opened on 9 May 1988 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The distinctive grass ramps on the sides recreate the shape of Capital Hill before Parliament House was constructed. They’re a lot of fun to run up and roll back down again!

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Of the 4,700 rooms in Parliament House, many are are open to the public. It’s incredibly easy to just turn up at any time and visit Parliament House – no booking or tours are required. There is a short queue to get through a brief security check, and then you’re on your own to discover the house. Be sure to take the elevator to the roof for an incredible view. If education is top of your list, then Parliament House is one of our top pics for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting Parliament House here.

Parliament House
Parliament Drive, Canberra
Hours: Parliament House is open every day except Christmas Day.
Non-sitting days 9am-5pm, sitting days Monday-Thursday 9am-6pm
Prices: Free
aph.gov.au/Visit_Parliament

National Arboretum Canberra

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

The National Arboretum Canberra is one of the world’s largest living collections of rare, endangered and significant trees. With over 44,000 trees from over 100 countries are growing across the huge 250 hectare (618 acre) site, it’s a place to visit to to feel at one with nature and enjoy discovering trees from around Australia and the world.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

Its easy to drive into the Aboretum and up to the visitor’s centre where there is a cafe, incredible Pod Playground (more on that on that HERE) and maps to the various sections and sculptures. You can walk around the Aboretum, from feature to feature, if you have the time and legs that enjoy walking. If you have a little one in tow you will find driving between the significant features much easier and quicker. Make sure to visit the ‘Nest III’ and ‘Wide Brown Land’ sculptures before you leave. A visit to the Pod Playground alone, which I consider to be the best designed playground I’ve ever seen, is a prime reason to put the Aboretum top of your list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting the National Arboretum Canberra here.

National Aboretum Canberra
Forest Dr, Canberra City
Hours: The Arboretum grounds and Pod Playground are open daily from 6am to 8:30pm during Daylight Savings Time and from 7am to 5:30pm during Eastern Standard Time (Non-daylight Savings Time).
Prices: Free entry
nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

Old Parliament House

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

A visit to Canberra is a journey through our nation’s past. It’s impossible to visit Australia’s Capital City without recognising where we’ve come from and, also, where we’re going. An important place to make a stop to learn about our past is Old Parliament House, the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House has incredible programs for families all-year round as they are is committed to engaging families and young people in conversations about democracy and their voices in it. From free Family Action Packs to the PLAY UP and DRESS UP sections designed specifically for kids, there is plenty to engage little ones at the House.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

We particularly loved the outdoor rose gardens, which are free to visit and a beautiful spot to scoot through or have a picnic.

Get more info on visiting Old Parliament House here.

Old Parliament House
18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Entry to the gardens is free but a small fee is required to enter Old Parliament House.
https://moadoph.gov.au/

Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Australian War Memorial is Australia’s national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving Australia.

Australian War Memorial

The Memorial caters to children, aiming to educate and engage them in history through story time, museum theatre shows, family tours, holiday workshops and drop in craft. A Discovery Zone has been set up as an educational space for visiting school groups (and the public on certain days and times), featuring five environments inspired by Australia’s military history.

Get more info about visiting the Australian War Memorial here.

The Australian War Memorial
Treloar Cres, Campbell
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm daily. Closed Christmas Day.
Prices: Free
https://www.awm.gov.au
Additional image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, ACT, Australia

This ornamental lake was built in the centre of Canberra and is the perfect spot to scoot or ride a bike around, stop for a picnic and meet the wild swans and ducks. In autumn the leaves around the lake are stunning.

Australian Institute of Sport

Australian Institute of Sport
Photo courtesy of http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net

A guided tour is the only way to go behind the scenes at Australia’s premier elite sports precinct. As well as getting an overview of what goes on at the Australian Institute of Sport (and possibly seeing some of Australia’s top athletes in training), all tours include a visit to Sportex, an interactive sports exhibit. Guided public tours depart daily from the AIS Visitor Centre at 10am, 11:30, 1pm and 2:30pm and go for 90 minutes. Bookings are not required.

Australian Institute of Sport

Leverrier Street, Bruce
Hours: Tours Desk is open Monday to Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm, Weekends and public holidays 10am-4pm.
http://www.experienceais.com/

Cockington Green Gardens

Cockington Green, Canberra, Australia

Cockington Green Gardens is a park of miniatures set in beautifully landscaped gardens. This family-owned and operated attraction has been running for over the past 35 years. Take a look at the highly detailed miniature versions of popular attractions around the world on a stroll through these delightful gardens.

Cockington Green Gardens
Photo courtesy of http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Cockington Green Gardens
11 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm
cockingtongreen.com.au

National Dinosaur Museum

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia
The National Dinosaur Museum is home to the largest permanent display of dinosaur and prehistoric fossils in Australia. It’s a really small museum, with lots packed into it to see. The museum’s exhibition follows the evolution of life, with a particular focus on dinosaurs, so a visit gives a very comprehensive overview of the history of life on Earth, displayed in chronological order.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

Read more about visiting the National Dinosaur Museum here.

National Dinosaur Museum
6 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au

Canberra Walk-in Aviary

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia
The Aviary is a 1000 square metre, planted, privately owned walk-in aviary where free flying birds can be watched, photographed and even fed. As they are very used to humans, the birds are happy to fly and walk around their huge aviary paying very little attention to the visitors – unless they are keen for a bit of a feed.

Get more info on visiting the Canberra Walk-in Aviary here.

Canberra Walk-in Aviary
18 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
canberrawalkinaviary.com.au

Royal Australian Mint

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

The Royal Australian Mint makes all of Australia’s circulating coins. It opened in 1965 and, since then, has produced over fourteen billion coins, with the capacity to produce two million coins per day.

It’s free to drop by the Mint, and, since it’s only a small building, it’s the perfect add-on to a day with other activities on the agenda. Mint your own coin, wave to Titan, the Mint’s super-strong robot and take a free guided tour.

Get more info on visiting the Royal Australian Mint here.

Royal Australian Mint
Denison St, Deakin ACT
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm, Sat & Sun 10am-4pm
Tours: Mon-Fri 10am & 2pm, Weekends and Public Holidays 11am, 1pm & 2 pm.
Entry: Free
ramint.gov.au

Canberra Reptile Zoo

Canberra Reptile Zoo, Australia

With over 50 different species of reptiles and frogs on display, the Canberra Reptile Zoo is large enough to be impressive but still small enough to have a very strong hands on approach. Touch a python or dragon and have a chat with with the keepers.

Canberra Reptile Zoo, Australia
Canberra Reptile Zoo

O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
reptilesinc.com.au

3inFun Canberra Pass

If you’re planning to visit Cockington Green Gardens, Questacon and the Australian Institute of Sport, the 3inFun Canberra Pass offers a saving of 25% on the usual price plus a free return visit to one of the participating attractions.
http://www.3infun.com.au

Places To Eat in Canberra

Pâtissez

Patissez, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Home of the freak shake as well as delicious food, we highly recommend visiting Pâtissez for brekkie and a shake.

Patissez, Canberra, ACT, Australia
21 Bougainville St, Griffith

Agostini’s

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia
We discovered this new gem at the base of the East Hotel and loved it so much we ate there twice. An absolutely delicious family-friendly Italian restaurant.
6/4 Giles St, Griffith
http://www.agostinis.com.au

Guild

Guild, Canberra, Australia

A really fun restaurant where board games line the walls. There are plenty to choose from that will suit all ages and abilities. The food is a bit average – standard pub-type fare – but you’re really here to play the games while you eat. We ordered pizzas and salad.

Guild, Canberra, Australia

LG Baileys Corner, 150 London Circuit, Canberra
guild.house

Vapiano

Vapiano is fantastic when you have kids who are picky eaters. There is a huge range of pizza, pasta and salad to choose from. The pizza and pasta are handmade from scratch. Adults will enjoy the extensive cocktail menu.

Vapiano Canberra Australia Vapiano Canberra Australia Vapiano Canberra Australia

Canberra Centre, Monaro Mall, 148 Bunda St, Canberra
vapiano.com.au

Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina Canberra Australia

Our fave gelato shop is a must visit regardless of the season. Gelato Messina has 40 flavours and weekly specials. Dairy-free sorbet is also available.

Gelato Messina Canberra Australia

Shop 4/21 Lonsdale St, Braddon
gelatomessina.com

Space Kitchen

Space Kitchen Canberra Australia

The menu at Space Kitchen is fun, playful and experimental. Some dishes are incredibly instagrammable but aren’t the tastiest when eaten (such as the cloud waffles shown), however the simple dishes like eggs on toast are divine. 

Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia

3g/12 Furzer St, Phillip
space-kitchen.com.au

How To Get Around

Canberra Australia

I would advise driving in Canberra if you can either drive to the city in your own car, or hire one when you arrive. The attractions are far apart and the hotels are not within walking distance. If you don’t drive, there is a local bus service you can use. For more info: http://www.transport.act.gov.au

Where To Stay in Canberra

East Hotel

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant AustraliaThis boutique hotel is 2.3 km from Parliament House and 2.9 km from the National Gallery of Australia. The East Hotel is vibrant, contemporary, and very artsy, offering free bicycle rentals and dishing out lollies in reception.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

A big draw of the East Hotel, beyond the contemporary aesthetic, are the bright rooms that feature either kitchens or kitchenettes, balconies, free limited Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines. There are one and two-bedroom apartments that have full kitchens, and fantastic rooms for kids with bunk beds, bean bags and Xbox 360 video game consoles.

Get more info on staying at the East Hotel here.

East Hotel
69 Canberra Ave, Kingston ACT
Book your stay at the East Hotel

Novotel Canberra

Novotel Canberra, ACT AustraliaThe Novotel Canberra is a 4 ½ star hotel with 286 rooms. It’s located 0.2km from the city centre, entertainment and retail precincts and 8km from the airport, making it a very central base for a Canberra stay.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Bring your swimmers to make the most out of their newly renovated indoor swimming pool. Kids will love the play space in the lobby and the awesome Angry Birds welcome pack.

Get more info on staying at the Novotel Canberra here.

Novotel Canberra
65 Northbourne Ave, Canberra
Book your stay at the Novotel Canberra

Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel AustraliaThe Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra is a top choice for a stay in Canberra. The location is incredible – right in the centre of the CBD close to restaurants, shops and supermarkets. It’s also close to all of the main attractions.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

The Crowne Plaza Hotel has family-sized rooms and suites, making it perfect for larger families. It also has a great pool and excellent breakfast buffet.

Get more info on staying at the Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel here.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel
1 Binara St, Canberra ACT
Book your stay at the Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra

The Best Things To Do In Canberra ACT Australia With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

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