School Holiday Activities Canberra for Summer 2023/24

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Welcome to the grand capital of Australia for fantastic school holiday activities in Canberra, where school holiday fun and learning go hand in hand. Whether you are a local or are visiting, we have compiled the best December & January school holiday activities list for Canberra.

Canberra is ecstatically buzzing with kid’s school holiday activities for your family this summer. No need to stress about finding school holiday activities Canberra style because we have all the best school holidays ideas for when you’re in Canberra.

Breezy getaway or exciting adventures, you’ll be surprised with the variety of things to do in school holidays in Canberra. We’ve got a list of school holiday activities in Canberra this summer ready for you!

Below you will find our complete guide to the best school holiday activities in Canberra for summer as well as what’s on in Canberra December & January school holidays to help make your life so much easier!

State schools finish Friday 15 December 2023 and returns to class on Tuesday 1 February 2024.

Summer school holidays in ACT are Saturday 16 December to Monday 29 January 2024.

Fun things to do in Canberra school holidays this summer

We have broken our list of school holiday activities Canberra 2023 into sections to help you:

As with everything at the moment, please check with the venue directly (either by their website or social media pages) to ensure they are open during the times you wish to attend. You should also check their current policy around advanced bookings, entry requirements and timings.

10 fun free school holiday activities this Summer

There are so many things to see and do in Canberra that are free yet fun. Canberra school holidays activities can be expensive, and the search for free activities isn’t always easy. Put your worries aside, here are a list of places to visit in Canberra that won’t break the bank!

Australian National Botanic Gardens

Connect with mother nature. Browse the outdoor activities in Canberra’s botanic garden surrounded by rustling leaves and chirping wildlife. We recommend getting takeaway from Pollen Café and having a sweet family picnic under the eucalyptus. 

International Sculpture Park

Step into the campus of Australian National University and adore the sculptures from multicultural artists all over the world. Some sculptures may be hard to interpret, but nothing too hard with a little help of the internet. While you’re there, consider taking trails and tours neighbouring the ANU Acton campus.

Mount Ainslie Lookout & Trail

View a bird’s eye snapshot of Canberra during your trip to adore the breathtaking wide sky and compact commercial city. So, gear up and hike your way to scenic views that make it all worth it. 

Canberra City Farm

City Farm Canberra
City Farm Canberra

At the Canberra City Farm, community living, and the environment produce harmony. Allow the kids to see the work behind the harvest, and how seeds can become feed. Take a farm tour with friendly owners of the farm, and let the kids get down and dirty with soiling and gardening. 

Lake Burley Griffin

Panoramic view of Canberra (Australia) in daytime, featuring Lake Burley Griffin, Molonglo River and National Library of Australia.

The iconic strip of lake that makes Canberra, Canberra. Every local knows and loves the lake where you can bike, walk, kayak, fish or simply enjoy the sight. You can even opt for the e-scooters near the park. View the park map here

Royal Australian Mint

Want to see how coins are made in Australia? Here is what you do – jump on the website for the Royal Mint and you book a FREE tour! The tours take around 30-45 minutes and the tours guides are excellent. You will get to meet Penny the robot and see how Australian coins are made by looking right into the factory. This is one of the top things to do in Canberra that you don’t want to miss out on. A special place to go to start a collection hobby. 

Find out more about the free tours here.

Old Parliament House

The Museum of Australian Democracy (MOAD) is an iconic political location. What’s great about visiting MOAD is that it is suitable for all ages as they have a dedicated interactive ‘Play” zone (pictured above). We also loved being able to sit in the old Senate (the House of Reps was closed during our visit) and pretend we were voting on bills. We also got to snoop through the rooms where previous Prime Ministers worked before the new Parliament House was built. Why not take a visit these school holiday to show the kids the old home of the Federal Parliament. Home to the country’s most historical moments, tour the offices, exhibitions, and activities specially made for kids.

Insiders tip: Join their ‘Play’ Facebook group to see what is happening this week for kids!

To view more activities, check out their website. 

Boundless Playground & National Carillon

Situated near the National Carillon is where you’ll find Canberra kids’ activities at the Boundless Playground rated Canberra’s number 1 playground. It’s named “Boundless” for a reason, so stop by and let the kids roam free in this infinite space of fun! The Carillon Exhibition is open weekdays 9am to 5pm and weekends 10am to 4 pm. The bells within the Carillon Tower produce the most melodious tunes played by a carillonist

Insiders tip: Marymead and ACT Playgroups use the Boundless Playground for Boundless Buddies Playgroup, every Monday from 10:00 am to 11:30 am, including school holidays.

Canberra Glassworks

Visiting the Canberra Glassworks is free! Don’t underestimate this activity for school aged kids. If your family has ever seen the Netflix series Blown Away (and if you haven’t, you should, it is awesome!) then you will LOVE a visit here during the holidays. Glass is seen and used in our daily lives and often taken for granted. Wait until you see how they make glass into art. You’ll be surprised at the endless possibilities that glass can do when you make your own or your kids join creative school holiday programs (charges apply).

ANU Classics Museum

On every second Friday of each month, join a free tour at the ANU Classics Museum to gain knowledge and insight about ancient art, artefacts, pottery and commemoration. Fascinating things start here.

National Museum of Australia

Discover the diverse range of art where there’s a piece from every culture, style, race and time in life all in one cohesive space. Support the museum by shopping at the Museum shop and dining at the Museum café, or you can also make a $5 donation.

10 fun cheap school holiday activities for summer

Entertainment comes with a price, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Make this summer holiday unforgettable with these top places to visit in Canberra that are a bargain! Here are our picks of holiday activities Canberra:

Code Camp – for the best school holidays ever!

Code-Camp-Summer-holiday-activities

Let Code Camp inspire your children to get creative with technology these holidays, learn some valuable new skills, have fun and make new friends. With a wide range of in-person camps and online programs available, there really is something for everyone. Choose from beginner to advanced coding camps, robotics, stop-motion animation, DJing, video production and so much more!

What’s New? Code Camp is launching brand new camps this summer! 

Kids can learn to code with DreamWorks Trolls! At Little Coders: Trolls Edition, 5-7 year olds will take their first steps on their coding journey banding together with their favourite characters. At Spark and Ignite, kids 7-12 years can code and create an adventure game with Poppy, Viva, and Branch.

Plus, AI Camp where kids embark on an exciting journey into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the most important technology of a generation. Young minds discover the wonders of AI and its fun and practical applications in our everyday lives and create their own comic book using AI!

Your favourites are also back this season including Minecraft Engineers (for kids 7-12), Minecraft Minis (for kids 5-7), and Roblox Legends (for kids 7-10). Robotics Camp and Drone Camp are also running this summer, offering the coolest few days of STEM learning and fun.

Find out more about a Code Camp near you here.

Kidzplore Canberra – indoor playcentre

Kidzplore Canberra
Kidzplore Canberra

You should definitely add this amazing indoor play centre called Kidzplore to your school holiday bucket list for the kids. The little ones can run, jump, climb, and slide to their heart’s content – a real wonderland of play! While the kids explore all the fun attractions, us parents can unwind and chat in the cozy café. It’s a great spot, and you can relax knowing your kids are in safe, active play.

Find out more on their Facebook page.

Canberra Deep Space Centre

Explore the great universe and solar system at the NASA communication complex. Keep your eyes wide open and learn about all the stars, planets and beings that exist beyond earth, be sure to spot their gigantic antennas too! It is facilitated with a café and playground for some to take a break and some to not. 

Sunset Cinema Canberra

Catch a movie with a pleasant twist. Buttery popcorn and bubbly drinks are served at the outdoor cinema where shows start playing only when the sun sets. If you think that is cool, bring your throws, blankets, pillows and mats for a movie under the stars. This is only operational during Summer.

Canberra Reptile Zoo

Canberra Reptile Zoo
Canberra Reptile Zoo entrance

They may not be fluffy, but they sure are cute. Say hi and stick out your hissing tongue at the exciting zoo of reptiles. For only $50 for a family bundle, this is one of the cheapest things to do near Canberra! 

Big Splash Waterpark

It truly is Canberra’s favourite water park when it has 9 slides, speed coaster, kiddies pool, splash islands, pool inflatables and many more! This is truly school holiday fun Canberra style! Who can say no? At only $28, you can splash to your hearts content! 

Capital Paddle

Paddle boarding is safe, easy and a great bonding activity. Bond with family and bond with nature at the same time when you spend only $25 for a 30-minute ride. Apart from safety gears, you are also promised beautiful sights, occasional fishes and ducks, and happy smiles. 

Jet Flight Simulator

Flight experience Melbourne - 737
Flight experience – Flying a 737

Play pretend and be pilot for a day with the Jet Flight Simulator challenge. You don’t need experience; you just need readiness to play! Choose your package, your plane, your destinations and you’re all set to go. See prices here. 

Merry Go Round

Located in Petrie Plaza, you’ll find kids’ activities in Canberra like the magical carousel that is bound to make them begging for more! It’s a classic ride that not even the adults can resist. 

National Dinosaur Museum

This place is excellent for kids who are right into dinosaurs. It is literally the largest dinosaur display in Australia. Here you can dive into the world of the prehistoric animal, run, hide or play dead, you will want to visit this extraordinary attraction near Canberra!

Insider tip: The don’t have a cafe and they welcome you to BYO food that you can eat on their patios. Otherwise they highly recommend waling over to Gold Creek town centre (just across the road) and visiting either Injoy (not a typo) Cafe or Pulp Book Cafe.

For more info, click here. 

Power Kart Raceway

Feel the thrill at Power Kart Raceway, where you’ll find more than just kart racing. Check out Australia’s first synthetic ice rink, their kids race karts made just for younger kids, and neon-glowing jungle golf! You’ll be spoiled for choice with such limitless options. 

Let’s Play Indoor Playground

The indoor activities in Canberra’s Let’s Play indoor playground include a spacious indoor play area, space odyssey, an interactive café and party rooms. It is safe, colourful, and full of fun obstacles for your little ones. See their prices here

10 BIG days out in Canberra these school holidays

Whether you are looking for something to do to keep the kids entertained while you work or you fancy becoming a tourist superstar by ticking off all the top attractions in Canberra, we have you covered! Let us introduce a list of fun things to do in Canberra that will give you out of this world experiences!

Hot air balloon ride

This early morning Canberra hot air balloon ride offers a tranquil experience with amazing scenery over the blend of historical and modern architecture and abundant greenery that give Australia’s capital city its charm. Embark on a flight that lasts around one hour and see the city and its surrounds from a vantage point few others get to experience; a hot air ballooning ride offers a sense of serenity that’s hard to match and even harder to forget!

Find prices here

National Zoo & Aquarium

National Zoo & Aquarium
National Zoo & Aquarium entrance

A “Zoocation” is one of the best things to do in Canberra with kids. From the sky to the land and down the sea, you’ll find every species of animal at this zoo. And if you fall in love for one of them, you can even adopt an animal. Families of 5 only need to pay $135 to enter. Learn more here. 

Questacon – National Science and Technology Centre

If you have only have room for one big day out these holidays, make it to Questacon! It is truly AWESOME! And you can spend the whole day here. You can explore Canberra family attractions like Australia in Space, Questacon Beehive, Q Lab, The Shed and more educational and hands on programs, all at the Questacon Centre. This will satisfy the STEM part of your kids brain and they will learn without even realsing it! Children get to use all five senses of their bodies to learn and engage with science in the best possible way. See affordable tickets here. 

National Arboretum & Pod Playground

The list of attractions near Canberra you need to visit are the National Arboretum and the Pod Playground just close by. The spectacular bonsai collection, ecosystem park, forest sculpture gallery is where art and nature incorporate perfectly. Make sure to leave a full day for this hot spot! 

National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Contemporary Art Space

These 3 attractions are just a walk away from each other, so why not do the whole package! See family activities at the Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia. Seasonal exhibitions are the Canberra Contemporary Art Space will tingle your creative nerves.  

Canberra Museum & Gallery

Watch a kid-friendly movie or join a crafts session in the months of December & January all at the Canberra Museum & Gallery. Join the warm and welcoming Canberra community when you book yourself in a children’s program

National Capital Exhibition

Learn about the story of Canberra and how it has developed into the city that it is today. Don’t forget to look out to see the spouting fountain of Regatta Point. While you’re at Regatta Point, Regatta Playground and Regatta Beach are also worth visiting for a picnic or walk.

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial is free to enter. It is a good opportunity to remember those who served our country. The exhibitions revolve around the inspirations of war, modernised, fantasized, and romanticized. Facilities like theatre, discovery centre, café, and audio tours (fees apply) add interest to something that may seem irrelevant to the public. Visit their website here.

Cockington Green Gardens

Cockington Green Gardens is an fantastic family attraction in Gold Creek that has meticulously crafted miniature replicas of iconic buildings and landscapes from around the world. Wander through the grounds being amazed at the detail i the displays. My photos above give you an idea, but you really need to go to see how cool each display is. There are even little miniature trains running through many of the displays.

The gardens also feature a delightful miniature steam train ride that the kids can enjoy (additional charge), adding an extra layer of excitement for little ones. With its engaging and educational elements, Cockington Green Gardens provides an immersive escape where families can create lasting memories, making it a must-visit destination during school holidays. Book your ticket now!

Yarralumla Play Station

Keep your kids entertained all day long with the Weston Park Miniature Railway, a mini golf course, farm animals, food and more! If you’re looking to hold a party or function, they’ve got you covered too. For more information, visit their website.

5 things to do at home these school holidays

Things to do at home with teenagers

If you’re up for a day in, these at home activities will keep you entertained all throughout the day. 

Frozen Shirt Challenge

Tie an old t-shirt into a knot, wet it and freeze it overnight for the kids to try to untie the knot. This one is a real challenge. Remember to set the timer to see who’s the winner!

Make a Present for Postman or Garbage Collector

Everyone deserves a gift to cheer them on. Show gratitude to workers by making a simple gift like coffee, goodie bag, card at home and wait for their arrival! 

Potato Stamps

Little did you know that the humble potato can be used to create fun shapes and colours! The same can be done using the ends of bok choy, capsicum, okra, lotus root and celery stems. Just cut the vegetable in half and carve out your desired shape to start stamping away!

Magazine Collage

Collect unwanted magazines and start cutting out pictures that you like. Stick them all on a photo frame to make your very own work of art!

Candle Campfire

Can’t be bothered to set up an actual campfire? A mess-free, hassle-free indoor campfire only requires a candle, skewers, marshmallows, and hungry children!

Theatres with kids shows on in Canberra these school holidays

warch a movie at the cinema these school holidays

For kid friendly things to do in Canberra, we recommend the many theatres for the drama enthusiasts. Be inspired by the extravaganza of music, dance, performing arts, and stories awaiting to be told and heard! Find out whats on in Canberra school holidays here:

National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Take a trip down memory lane to the vintage hub of timeless art. Events and exhibitions that are a blast from the past presented to you from decades of collection and professional preservation. View shows and exhibitions on their engaging website

Canberra Theatre Centre

This theatre is a funky and vibrant place to go for fans of indie shows, comedy and aussie-made shows. There’s something for everyone and there’s always something outlandish for the venturesome. With shows categorised into genres, you can easily pick a family favourite. Book now! 

Their school holiday program for this summer holidays include:

The Street Theatre

Got older children who appreciate like a true artist? The Street Theatre plays something deeper than your average comedy show. If you’re looking for artistic value, Sundance, depth and metaphorical literature, you will find what you’re after, at The Street Theatre

Canberra Symphony Orchestra

Let your ears indulge in the tunes of symphony by the magnificent orchestra bands who perform at this grand hall. For an inspiring, moving and captivating evening, make CSO, your next place to go.

Canberra kids holiday ideas

If you’re looking for more things to do in Australian Capital Territory, click here or for New South Wales, click here.

There you have it. A huge round up of the most excellent school holiday ideas for you over the next break. There are plenty of Canberra days out ideas here to keep you and the kids entertained for the whole school holidays. These Canberra holiday ideas are updated every term, so remember to bookmark this page.

Let us know if we missed your favourite or if you would like us to add your venue or event!

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of school teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, an expert Queensland publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children including things to do with them over the school holidays. Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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